What Are Tire Wear Bars & What Do They Do?

Tire wear bars, also called tread wear indicator bars, are great for figuring out how worn your tires are. They’re one indicator of whether or not your current tires have sufficient tread depth to pass inspection. Read on if you want to know what wear bars are, if your tire tread depth is safe, or if you just want to learn a few quick ways to measure tread wear.

Tire Wear Bars—What and Where?

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Tire wear indicator bars, also known as small tread marks, indicate the evenness of tread wear on a tire. Manufacturers place these marks at the lowest safety point in the tread. Typically, these bars become raised at the 2/32″ danger point, indicating the need for tire replacement.

When the tire tread reaches the same level as the tire wear bars, it is time to replace your tires.  Manufacturers recommend replacing tires sooner for road safety.

Tire Wear Bars: How To Read Them

1. Know your tire tread

The tread design of a tire is made up of raised areas “tire ribs” and channels “tread voids” that run through the tire. Tire wear is when the tire’s high rib wears down after a lot of miles.

2. Find the bars of wear

Look for small blocks that are sitting straight up and down in the grooves of your tires. These are the wear bars for your tires.

3. Check tire depth visually

Look at how high the tire wear bars are compared to the tire ribs. If the height of the ribs matches the height of the wear bars, you will need to replace your tires.

4. Consider the difference

You don’t have to just look at the treads to tell how good they are. Run your finger along the tire rib and over the tire wear bars to feel the difference. If the wear bar feels the same against your finger as the tread, it’s time to get new tires. Be careful, and always look before you touch something. When tires are very old, steel belts are prominent, and the tires can pick up debris.

How to Check Tire Tread?

Here are some other ways for a tire safety check if you can’t find the wear bar or aren’t sure what to look for:

Penny Test: 

The penny test is easy and about right most of the time. Put a penny with the head down in a few tread holes all over the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tread is thin, worn, and could be dangerous. In this case, you should get new tires. If the tread always covers part of Lincoln’s head, you still have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth left. This usually means you don’t need new tires yet. 

Tread Depth Gauge: 

Use a tread depth gauge to achieve a more precise and readable tread measurement. You can also use a ruler with 1/16-inch measurements or millimeter measures. Put the ruler or depth gauge into a few holes and measure the distance from the bottom of the tread to where it is now. Any tire with a tread depth of 1/16 of an inch or less should be changed. This is about 1.6 millimeters. 

Leave it to Experts:

Tire Wear Bars

You can test fairly new tires at home, but if you want to get the most life out of your wheels, the most exact measurement will come from a tire and auto mechanic with a lot of experience, like the ones at PitStopArabia. We’ll make sure you’re driving safely by providing our best Car Repair & Services in the UAE.


Tyre wear bars are important parts of tires that show the minimum tread depth that is allowed. By checking these bars often, drivers can make sure their tyres are safe and meet all legal standards. Tires that are worn out can make it harder to steer, stop, and get a grip. To keep the roads safe, it is important to change worn tires as soon as possible.

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