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Manual V Digital Tyre Tread Gauges

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#1 catch


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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:13 AM

I've been using a manual tyre tread gauge up to press, but I decided to treat myself to a digital read out one.You can get them on line delivered for a total of circa £7, and I must say I'm well suited with it.

OK with the manual read out ones they do the job most people require of them. But what I was wanting a digital one for, was to be able to pick up early on the fact if the tracking was out. Because if you don't catch it in time, you can lose thousands of miles worth of the useful life of a tyre. Never mind the fact that if the tyres are not set up correctly it will also effect grip and braking effectiveness.

Scenario: You tip up at the MOT station and the tester says, failed it mate. The Front Offside is not complaint. Yes it's got 4.0mm on it for the most part but unfortunately it's scrubbed down to 1.4mm on the inside. It needs a new tyre and it's tracking done.

Now I personally buy premium grade tyres costing circa £75. And if you assume 8.0mm on a new tyre, you have in essence circa 6.0mm of usable tyre life. So having to renew a tyre that has prematurely lost 2.0mm [a third of its use able life] you have just chucked £25 in the bin [two tyres £50]

Anyway below are measurements of all my tyres. Now obviously because these measurements on the manual gauge are just lines marked onto a piece of plastic. And considering it is in 1.0mm increments, there is a fair bit of guess work attached to the readings.


Manual readout outside edge in > 7.50 / 7.50 / 7.50
Digital readout outside edge in > 7.52 / 7.85 / 7.50


Manual readout outside edge in > 7.50 / 7.50 / 7.50
Digital readout outside edge in > 7.61 / 7.69 / 7.50


Manual readout outside edge in > 4.00 / 3.00 / 3.00 / 3.00
Digital readout outside edge in > 4.22 / 3.74 / 3.92 / 3.85


Manual readout outside edge in > 4.00 / 3.00 / 3.00 / 3.00
Digital readout outside edge in > 4.18 / 3.91 / 3.99 / 3.79

If I have one criticism in regard to the digital gauge it is the fact that the body of the gauge that straddles across the part of the tyre that actually makes contact with the road is only 5.5mm, with the overall body height of the gauge being 90mm.

Whereas with the manual one the part that straddles the tyre surface is 12mm, with an overall height of say 85mm. Meaning the latter sits solidly at right angles to the tyre. Whereas dependent on how you hold the digital one, it may not be sat at a true right angle.

But like I say, I'm happy that the readings are more reflective of actual tyre wear, more so than with the manual gauge. Also I check the gauge is zeroed prior checking each tyre.

Edited : 6th Feb

So as to include manual readings on all tyres as well as digital ones. All readings retaken on that date.

Attached Thumbnails

  • tyre gauges.jpg

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#2 Gazjs


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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:11 PM

Sounds like a handy tool. Never used one myself, manual or digital. I applied for a freebie on-line and nothing came of it :lol:
May need to invest to save running around garages every now and then asking for readings.

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