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By Bob Caffee
In this video, we will show how to check the tread depth of a tire. Why would you want to know how to do this? For the everyday commuter, maybe you wouldn’t. Being a commercial truck driver, it is important to keep up on the wear of your tires. We, as commercial drivers, are required to replace steer tires at or before they are worn down to 4/32 of an inch, and drive and trailer tires at or before 2/32 of an inch, see FMCSR 393.75 (c) for this regulation.
That is not the only reason we should keep track of tire wear. We can also measure for an indication of any odd wear patterns that you may not be able to see. Even if your tires are wearing smooth and even, the right steer tire is probably wearing faster than the left. This is normal due to the crown in the road, or so I’ve been told. In order to keep the tires wearing evenly, you should rotate the steer tires when there is about 4/32 of an inch difference. The only way to tell if there is 4/32” difference is to measure the tread depth on both steer tires.
Some like to rotate tires at specific mileages and that’s fine, but I like to measure and rotate as needed. Some tires are directional, which means they are designed to turn only one direction. That also means they cannot be rotated without flipping them on the wheel, dismount and remount can get expensive.
As you can tell finding tire problems, wear patterns or just worn beyond legal limits can only be done by measuring the tread depth. You can find tread depth gauges at truck stops, tire shops, auto and truck parts stores and online. From as little as $3 on up, extremely simple ones or precision digital gauges, whatever you want to spend. Just get one, measure often, at least once a week, and measure in multiple places, 2-3, around each tire.
Until next time, be safe out there.