This paper discusses the measurement and modeling of tire rolling resistance for a group of radial medium truck tires. The tires were subjected to tread depth modifications by “buffing” the tread surface. The experimental work used the equilibrium test method of SAE J‐1269. The finite element analysis (FEA) tire model for tire rolling resistance has been previously presented. The results of the testing showed changes in rolling resistance as a function of tread depth that were inconsistent between tires. Several observations were also inconsistent with published information and common knowledge. Several mechanisms were proposed to explain the results. Additional experiments and models were used to evaluate the mechanisms. Mechanisms that were examined included tire age, surface texture, and tire shape. An explanation based on buffed tread radius, and the resulting changes in footprint stresses, is proposed that explains the observed experimental changes in rolling resistance with tread depth.