Dodge Ram: How to Check Tire Tread

Too little tire tread is dangerous and will not provide the proper traction needed in wet or icy environments. However, with the right tools you can easily assess the amount of tread left on your Dodge Ram's tires, so you can know when to replace them.

By Neftali Medina - June 25, 2015
Contributors: Autobytel, Dodgetalk, Milton Ruben

This article applies to the Dodge Ram 1500 (1994-present).

Tire wear is extremely important in regards to the longevity of a set of tires. If the wear is irregular, the tires will not last as long as they are rated to. Also, if the tire is not balanced and instead wears out the inside, you can experience a surprise blow-out on the highway. Tire tread inspections are key to ensuring a safe and reliable ride. Most tire shops will offer a free inspection; however, they may pressure you to commit to an unneeded purchase. This can be avoided by checking the tire tread at home. All that's needed is a tread meter, penny or wear indicator.

Materials Needed

  • Tire tread meter, penny or wear indicator
  • Jack
  • Jack stands

Step 1 – Inspect the inner and outer edges

Uneven wear may be tricky to spot or may be obvious, so take your time to look at each edge. Be sure the whole surface of the tire is even and looks similar.

Figure 1. A tire with uneven wear.

Pro Tip

If the tire shows signs of uneven wear, then there is likely a suspension issue that will need to be addressed. Failure to do so means the new tires will wear unevenly in the same manner.

Step 2 – Check the tread depth

The minimum amount of tread depth a tire should have is 2/32" of rubber. If there is any less tread remaining, replace the tires immediately. There are three common ways to check the tread depth.

  • Use a penny: A penny measures approximately 2/32" from the top of Lincoln's head to the edge. If the top of his head shows, then the tire needs to be replaced.
Figure 2. The penny test.
  • Use the tread wear indicator: Newer tires use this feature and have a wear indicator on the sidewalls. If the tread on the tires sits flush with the tread wear indicator, they need to be promptly replaced. The indicators are thin little things that stick out of the tire. It looks like grass, but in black.
Figure 3. Tread wear indicators.
  • Use a tread wear gauge: This tool is made specifically for checking the tread wear on a tire. It functions similar to a tire pressure gauge, and has a meter that extends when its prong is pushed in. Press the gauge down and check the results. These gauges will give an approximate reading for the remaining tire tread depth.
Figure 4. Tread depth gauge.

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