Tires are an important safety feature of every vehicle. The tires’ grip of the road allows them to convert the vehicle’s power into acceleration, suspension into handling and brakes into stopping forces. While traction on dry roads doesn’t depend on tire tread depth, hydroplaning resistance and traction in wet, slushy and snowy conditions is reduced as tires wear, making remaining tread depth a critical consideration that influences driving safety.

A TreadTrackerReport is a free service offered by leading automotive service providers. Laser-accurate measuring technology allows the TreadTrackerReport to convert shoulder-to-shoulder tread depth measurements into visual images that clearly illustrate remaining tread depth and wear status; thereby helping drivers maintain their tires safely and operate them efficiently.

Tread wear is directly proportional to the conditions under which the tires have been operated. Measuring tire profiles and remaining tread depths can confirm if tires have been properly inflated and periodically rotated, as well as verify if the vehicle’s suspension components and alignment settings have been maximizing tire wear.

Accurate tread depth measurements taken during routine service visits can reveal tire wear that, if left undetected and unaddressed, could subject drivers to hydroplaning, skids or flats. Periodic tread depth measurements also allow projecting when tires will eventually need to be replaced in anticipation of upcoming seasonal driving conditions.

Laser-accurate measuring tools and in-the-cloud diagnostic software process tread depth measurements to quickly identify tire and vehicle service needs as the vehicle arrives. A TreadTrackerReport helps reduce the driver’s concerns regarding appropriate corrective actions by permitting timely discussion of upcoming required maintenance.


Whether a vehicle is front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the pair of tires on its front axle experience different driving conditions than the tires on the rear axle. Front tires typically carry more vehicle weight and play a greater role in the vehicles braking, steering and cornering.

Since the type and amount of work a tire does is proportional to the wear it experiences, front-wheel drive vehicles will typically wear their front tires almost twice as quickly as they wear their rear tires. If never rotated, the tires on the front axle would wear out before the tires on the rear reached half-tread depth.

Over time, periodic tire rotation using recommended rotation patterns will result in all of the tires serving in all of the vehicle’s wheel positions to share the work and share the wear. Tire rotation allows the tires to wear at the same rate and the complete set to last longer. And because they would all wear out at the same time, they can be replaced together,

TreadTrackerReports analyze current tread depths to advise when tire rotation is desirable.

Replacing tires in complete, matching sets assures consistent traction and handling to maintain the performance originally engineered into the vehicle.


Wheel alignment is the adjustment of the vehicle’s suspension to hold the tires at proper angles to each other and with the road. Wheel alignment also allows fine-tuning the vehicle’s suspension angles to complement the driver’s road conditions and driving style.

Any fateful encounter with a pothole or curb can knock the suspension out of alignment. And over time, spring sag and eventual bushing wear will let the alignment angles change from the preferred.

Wheel alignment should be checked anytime the vehicle has encountered an obstacle or the steering wheel position has changed from normal. Alignments that are just a little off can result in erratic vehicle handling and significant tire wear.

The driver’s goal is to discover vehicle misalignment before it results in uneven and/or rapid tire wear. When caught early enough, the vehicle’s alignment can be readjusted back to its preferred settings before the tires experience irreversible uneven wear.

TreadTrackerReports analyze variations in current tread depth to diagnose uneven tire wear resulting from misalignment.

Uneven tread wear often results in nosier tires and a rougher ride, causing premature tire replacement!


Today’s tires are laminate products manufactured by assembling layers of rubber (some of which are reinforced by fabric and steel cords) under a thick tread and substantial sidewalls. Once all the components have been assembled and placed into a mold, pressure, and heat vulcanizes them into a useful tire.

Unfortunately, most rubber formulations allow air molecules to slowly leak through them (permeiation) and why inflated rubber party balloons loose air. In order to combat permeiation, each tire’s innermost layer is lined with a sheet of special halobutyl rubber called the tire’s liner (or inner liner). The liner is the tire’s only component capable of resisting inflation pressure loss due to gas molecule (oxygen and nitrogen) permeation. It’s the liner that makes today’s tubeless tires possible by replacing the bulky inner tubes required by early tires.

As shown by the illustrated tire cross-section, the thickness of the tire’s liner, fabric casing cords, and steel belts is typically less than the thickness a new tire’s tread. This means new tires offer the greatest protection from punctures and cuts simply because their thickness requires longer objects to puncture all of the ways through their deep tread, underlying belts, casing plies and the tire’s liner.

However, as the treads wear, this combined thickness is reduced, making the tire more susceptible to punctures and cuts. Historically, tires nearing replacement are the most likely to experience a flat-producing puncture or cut.

TreadTrackerReports analyze current tread depths to advise when punctures and cuts are more likely to occur.


Tire tread depth doesn’t influence vehicle stopping ability in dry conditions, however remaining tread depth has been proven to have a significant influence on stopping distances in wet conditions. All it takes is a thin layer of water to prevent tire treads from developing complete contact with the road, reducing their traction.

Traction in wet conditions requires evacuating water from between the tire’s tread and the road surface. While new tires offer deep grooves that allow water to efficiently flow through the tread design, the shallow grooves associated with worn-down and worn-out tires blocks water from escaping. Every tread design becomes less effective in wet conditions as the tire’s remaining tread depth wears away.

As tire treads wear from new to worn-out, typically ranging from 10/32-inch beginning tread depth down to 2/32-inch of remaining tread depth (when wear bars appear across the tread design to confirm the tires have worn out), wet stopping distances continually increase. With just 1/16-inch of water on the road (approximate thickness of a U.S. 10¢ coin) wet stopping distances typically double as tires approach their final 2/32-inch of remaining tread depth.

TreadTrackerReports analyze current tread depths to advise when longer stopping distances are more likely to occur.

Too little tread depth is never enough in wet conditions!


Hydroplaning (also called aquaplaning) is when tires are forced to ride on top of the water when water depth and vehicle speed exceeds the tire tread’s ability to disperse enough water to maintain contact with the road. The speeds at which hydroplaning occurs is dependant on how much water must be removed, as well as how efficiently the tread design and remaining depth are at removing it.

Because liquids are essentially incompressible, driving through rain creates a 3-dimensional challenge. Water will build up ahead of the tire’s contact patch and as speed climb, a wedge of water will eventually lift the tread off of the road, preventing the tire from providing traction or directional stability.

Hydroplaning is most likely to occur when driving on worn tires at highway speeds during rainstorms where water streams across the road or collects into deep puddles. While reducing speed is a good way to minimize the chance of hydroplaning, the surprising conditions that often cause hydroplaning may not be realized until it's already occurring.

New tires featuring deep treads with wide grooves (tread void) will allow water to flow effectively from between the tire footprint and road surface. However, as tires wear, their tread depth and void will be reduced, along with their ability to disperse water.

TreadTrackerReports analyze current tread depths to advise when hydroplaning is more likely to occur.

Too little tread depth is never enough in wet conditions!