An automatic tread gaging machine has been developed. It consists of three component systems: (1) a laser gaging head, (2) a tire handling device, and (3) a computer that controls the movement of the tire handling machine, processes the data, and computes the least‐squares straight line from which a wear rate may be estimated. Experimental tests show that the machine has good repeatability. In comparisons with measurements obtained by a hand gage, the automatic machine gives smaller average groove depths. The difference before and after a period of wear for both methods of measurement are the same. Wear rates estimated from the slopes of straight lines fitted to both sets of data are not significantly different.