what are the technology you can use to measure tire tread depth in 2022

What technology can you use to measure tire tread in 2022

According to a survey from TyreSafe, 27,3% of tires equipped on vehicles in the UK were worn to the point of being unsafe to drive (less than 1.6mm), while more than 70% were on the verge of becoming unsafe (less than 2mm). This led to 159 people being killed or seriously injured in 2016 in accidents related to defective tires.

While these statistics are concerning, the survey also points out that 1 in 5 drivers have never measured their tire tread depth – which inevitably leads to unsafe and illegal tires still being equipped on vehicles running on roads and putting people at risk every day. This can be caused by two factors: the lack of education on tire maintenance from the common driver, and the lack of available tools to measure tire tread accurately.

In this blog, we will take a look at how people and tire technicians can measure tire tread in 2022 and which tools and technology can ensure that tires are safe to drive.

Low tech solutions – broadly available but inaccurate.

The penny test

The most known and probably the most used technique to measure tire tread depth by the common driver is the penny test. The idea behind this test is to use the coin depicting Lincoln, and place it upside-down in each groove. If Lincoln’s head is sticking out the tread completely, it means the tire is worn out and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

If this way of measuring tire tread depth is very inexpensive and available to any motorist with a simple coin at hand, it obviously lacks accuracy and remains subject to anyone’s appreciation.

  • Price range – $0.01
  • Very available
  • No accuracy
  • No measured depth.

Using a tire tread gauge

A tire tread gauge is a mechanical tool that can be used to measure the tire tread depth. It’s easy enough to use, simply by placing the tool on the tire and pressing it down the tread. The measurement of the depth is displayed directly on a ruler placed on the tool.

If tire tread gauges are relatively inexpensive, most drivers may not know this kind of tool exists, nor go out of their way to purchase one if they are not sensitized to the issue of tire maintenance.

  • Price range – $2 to $15
  • Available in maintenance shops or online
  • Accuracy may vary but gives a better idea than the penny test
  • The measurement isn’t recorded.

While both these methods can be used to have an idea if tires need to be changed, they both lack accuracy. If that can be enough for motorists that want to check their tires every now and then at home, repair shops and tire technicians might want to get more accurate measurements to advise customers, and more importantly, have data available for later use.

What laser-scanning technology can do to measure tire treads

For some years now, the automotive aftermarket industry has been using laser-scanning technology to measure tire tread depth. The principle is simple enough: the laser scanner emits light onto the tire, which reflects the light back to the scanner. This provides the geometry of the tire that can be interpreted into 3D data and gives the user the measurement of the tire tread depth.

This kind of technology allows tire technicians to have a very accurate measurement of tire treads, and it doesn’t take much time – a tire can be checked in a few seconds using a laser scanner. However, this technology has major setbacks for repair shops:

  • It requires dedicated devices – or tire scanners – for each shop or for each technician that needs to perform tire tread checks on a daily basis. And this kind of device can be quite expensive, ranging from $200 to $1000 for hand-held devices, to more expensive on-location and immobile tools that can scan all tires at once.
  • Not all tire tread laser scanners are connected to a repair shop management system, which means that the data might need to be hand recorded into that system. This task is not only time-consuming, but it also leaves room to errors when the measurement of each tire tread depth is typed in.

If you are interested in Anyline’s tire tread scanner for smartphones, contact our team today and find out how to get started!