Honda: How to Check Your Tire Tread

Tread depth determines the performance and safety of your Honda Accord or Civic. Take a few minutes to perform this important inspection, and this guide will help you along the way.

By Scott Deuty - May 12, 2015

This article applies to the Honda Civic/Del Sol (1992-2000), and Accord (1990-2002).

Tire tread inspection is an important part of vehicle maintenance. It's a quick and simple way to ensure that your Honda will grip the road, and avoid a flat tire or accident. The tread depth of your tires allows them to grip the road better, and is designed to channel water to the right places, minimizing the risk of hydroplaning or "floating" on the water above the road. The thinner the tread depth, the more prone your vehicle is to hydroplaning. But the deeper the tread, the more grip a tire will have on wet surfaces like rain, mud, or snow. Checking the tread depth can be easily accomplished with a gauge or a coin.

Materials Needed

  • Tire tread depth gauge
  • Penny or quarter

You should check your tires every three months or when the season changes.

Step 1 – Visually inspect the tire

Observe the tire for even tread wear. Uneven patterns indicate various situations:

  • If a tire is worn evenly on each edge, it is under-inflated.
  • If a tire shows excessive wear in the center, it’s over-inflated.
  • Asymmetrical wear (wear on one side of the tire) usually indicates that the tire needs an alignment.
  • Excessive asymmetrical wear (with circular edges near center tread) usually indicates that the suspension is worn or bent.
Figure 1. Front view of under-inflated tire.

(Related Article: How to Align Your Tires - Honda-Tech.com)

Step 2 – Measure with a tread depth gauge

Use a tire tread depth gauge to measure the depth. Simply place the point of the gauge into the groove, and allow the gauge to measure the remaining tread depth of the tire. A tread depth of more than 4/32” is recommended before a replacement of your tires are necessary. New tires usually have about 10/32" of tire tread.

Figure 2. Test your tires with a tread depth gauge.

Step 3 – Measure tread depth with coins

Use a penny or a quarter to check the tread depth. Insert a coin into the groove with the president's head upside down.

For President Lincoln, the top of his head indicates a bald tire tread (2/32"). The depth measurement up to his side hairline indicates that the tire is worn, and will need to be replaced soon.

For President Washington, the tire tread is bald if it hits the edge of the quarter. The depth measurement halfway between the top of his head and the edge of the quarter indicates that the tire is worn, and will need to be replaced soon.

Figure 3. Using a penny or quarter to check the tire tread.

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