I just went to the mechanic to do a 60k checkup on my car. He suggested to replace my tires and said my tire tread depth was 5/32 at the front and 4/32 in the rear. I remember growing up and being told to replace at 2/32 of tread.

I declined because I thought 5/32 was too early. I even checked with a penny and Lincoln's head was still covered. Also, it's going to be summer soon so rainy weather isn't 100% concerning to me right now.

I looked online and found a few links that said at 3/32 to 4/32 you should consider replacing and 2/32 is you MUST replace but the links were from tire companies.

So my question is, is 5/32, or even 4/32 too early? Do I stick with the 2/32 rule or do we start thinking about replacing between 3/32 to 5/32?

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    Converting to weird USA units, 2/32 (over at least 3/4 of the width of the tire around the entire circumference) is the legal minimum depth in the EU, but most European motoring organizations recommend replacing at 4/32 because of worse braking performance with the legal minimum tread. Considering the maximum fine in the UK is £2500 per tire, plus automatic 6-month disqualification from driving for four illegal tires, it's not worth pushing your luck too far :)
    – alephzero
    Jun 5, 2021 at 3:25
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    Having deeper tread means you, your occupants and other road users are safer. Running close to the limts increases risk.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 5, 2021 at 5:27

2 Answers 2


While 5/32 and even 4/32 does not require replacement, I think it was fair of the service person to suggest getting new ones. The tires are, as they say, on their last leg.

If you have even wear across the width of each tire, then there's no real worries. When they get to 2/32's, that when the wear bars start showing. It's at that point you really need to make an appointment to get new ones. If I were you, I'd go ahead and prepare for it now so it won't come as such a shock to the pocketbook when it is time. Just keep tabs on the tires to ensure they're not wearing quicker than you expect, then change them out when needed.

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    In most locals the wear bar is "must replace" gauge. Regardless of the tread depth a single spot with the wear bar even with the tread means replacement, even if there is 5/32" everywhere else.
    – mikes
    Jun 5, 2021 at 19:14
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    @mikes - You are absolutely correct. Works the same way no matter where I've been. Of course, if you have 5/32" with a wear bar showing, you've got other issues, either with alignment and/or worn out suspension parts. Jun 5, 2021 at 21:19

There are places to save money, and places where you are betting your life, or at least your car. There's cheap and there's inexpensive. Cheap saves on the purchase price; inexpensive keeps you out of the collision.

Brakes, steering and tires are essentials. Engine is kind of optional. Picture yourself on a steep downgrade and one of these fails. Hit a wet patch on the road and shallow tire tread can hydroplane.

I won't buy less than quality ceramic brake pads, 'A' traction rating tires, and the steering has to work. I can't afford to use cheap parts.

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