Tire Tread and Tire Track Evidence: Recovery and Forensic Examination, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Tire Tread and Tire Track Evidence

Recovery and Forensic Examination, 1st Edition

By William J. Bodziak

CRC Press

368 pages | 271 Color Illus. | 200 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2008-02-19
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Police success in linking vehicles to the scene of a crime through the impressions and tracks those vehicles leave behind has long served as a successful and reliable forensic tool. The collection and forensic evaluation of that evidence, however, requires specialized knowledge, training, and expertise.

Drawing from the author’s 34 years of experience, first as an FBI examiner and currently as a private consultant in the area of tire evidence, Tire and Tire Track Evidence: Recovery and Forensic Examination is the most comprehensive and up-to-date volume available on the subject. Covering all aspects of the field, the book begins with general information on the modern pneumatic tire and basic terminology. For both the crime scene technician and the forensic examiner, the author addresses information on both how to recover tire track evidence and how to photograph and cast the individual tread detail from those impressions.

The book explains and illustrates the necessary information on obtaining known exemplars; tire manufacturing, and retreading tires. It explains important aspects of tires including their tread design and dimension, noise treatment, general wear and individual acquired characteristics. The author instructs on applying that knowledge while conducting a structured examination procedure, resulting in the final evaluation of evidence and report writing as well as the presentation of tire evidence in court. He provides information on databases and resources along with case examples, including the Oklahoma City bombing.

Informative and useful, this book gives crime scene technicians and forensic examiners the tools to accurately and reliably collect, recover, and examine tire evidence.


In Tire Tread and Tire Track Evidence: Recovery and Forensic Examination William J. Bodziak has crafted a sweeping, thorough treatment of every aspect of examinations and comparisons relating to tires. This comprehensive work integrates the hard, solid science and the subtle nuance of both procedural techniques and theoretical concepts. Bodziak articulately conveys the subjects clearly and unambiguously. From law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories to private examiners -- from district attorney offices to defense attorneys -- for anyone who documents, collects, evaluates, examines, or compares tires or tire prints or impressions -- Tire Tread and Tire Track Evidence: Recovery and Forensic Examination is the definitive resource.

— Rocky S. Stone, Albuquerque Police Department Crime Laboratory (retired), Forensic science private consultant

“This book is a must-have reference for any agency that compares, collects, or potentially could collect tire track evidence.

“… I was pleasantly taken aback by how much I gleaned from reading this book. I think any analyst who’s been doing this for a number of years will have the same experience. For the experienced examiner, this book contains a great deal of information about tire manufacturing and how the various manufacturing processes can manifest themselves in the crime scene impressions … .

“The book is well organized and thoroughly explains key details of both the collection and comparison processes. … Any agency that deals with tire track evidence on a regular basis … will benefit from reading this book and having it as a reference.

“The book is illustrated with good quality color photographs and illustrations … useful tools for applying real world situations to what is being described in the book.

“The book also contains information about the most modern manufacturing techniques, and discusses issues relating to the most recent phenomenon in tire track comparisons: digital photography.

“… I expect I’ll be using this book for reference for many years to come.”

— G. Matt Johnson, International Association for Identification, Science and Practices Subcommittee on Footwear and Tire Track Examination, Chairman

"…There is no doubt that any forensic examiner who works in the field of tire examination and comparison will find it imperative to add this to their library. … Photographs and step by step instructions will aid those of all levels of experience … a thorough read of this book will bring any reader to a much greater understanding of the different degrees of tire impression conclusions and their potential value to an investigation.… Mr. Bodziak once again displays his great skill for attention to detail, comprehensive coverage and complete explanation of a forensic discipline. There is no stone left unturned … This book is a first rate publication and destined to be a must have for the shelves of every crime laboratory."

— Lesley Hammer, Supervisor, Forensic Physical Unit, Alaska DPS Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, writing in Science and Justice

Table of Contents

General Tire Information

From the Wheel to the Tire

The Pneumatic Tire

Tire Footprint or Contact Patch

How a Tire Carries the Load

Tire Evolution

Original Equipment Manufacturer Tires (OEM)

Replacement Tires

Tread Design

Information on Sidewalls

Wheels and Rims

Track Evidence

Track Evidence

How Vehicles Track

Tread Width

Track Width

Turning Diameter


Rolling Circumference

Making Measurements of the Suspect Vehicle

Aftermarket Wheels and Tires

Other Track Evidence

Documenting and Recovering Tire Impression Evidence

The Crime Scene

Putting Tire Impression Recovery in Perspective

Detail Retained in Impressions

Recovery of Impression Evidence

Original Tire Evidence

Photographing Tire Evidence at the Crime Scene

Casting Three-Dimensional Impressions

Dental Stone Materials

Determining the Powder-to-Water Ratio

Preparing the Impression for Casting



Labeling the Cast

Recovering the Cast

Drying and Cleaning the Cast

Tire Impressions in Snow

Dry-Casting Snow Impressions

Snow Print Wax® and Snow Impression Wax

Casting Snow Impressions with Sulfur

Lifting Tire Impressions


Known Exemplars of Tires for Elimination and Examination

General Information

Documenting Tires from Elimination Vehicles

Known Exemplar Impressions of a Suspect Vehicle

Dual Tire Assemblies

Key Points

Tire Manufacturing

Designing a Tire

Tire Mold Types

Mold-Making Methods

Tire Manufacturing

Tire Components

Building the Tire

Molding and Curing

Final Finishing and Quality Control

Retreaded Tires

Retreading Defined

How Tires Are Retreaded

Tire Inspection

Pre-Cure Method

Pre-Cure Tread Design Stock

Ring Tread Process

Mold Cure Method

Retread DOTR Number

Determining Whether a Tire Is Retreaded

Forensic Significance of Crime Scene Impressions Made by Retread Tires


Tread Design and Dimension

Tire Parameters Affect Design

Tread Design

Tread Design Terminology

Tread Design Categories

Other Categories or Types of Tread Design

Tread Dimension

Accuracy of Tread Dimensions in Impressions

Factors in Dimensional Evaluation

Noise Treatment

Modern Noise Treatment Differs on Each Tire Side

Tires without Noise Treatment

Tread Wear Indicators

Using Tread Wear Indicators and Noise Treatment Together

Noise Treatment and Tread Wear Indicator Combination Possibilities

Vehicles Tires of Multiple Tread Designs

Vehicle Tires of Varying Sizes

Tire Wear

Use of Wear in Forensic Examinations

Wear Terminology

Causes of Tire Wear

Characteristics of Tire Wear

Wear Characteristics Retained in Two-Dimensional Impressions

Wear Characteristics Retained in Three-Dimensional Impressions

Sipe Characteristics Change with Wear

Groove Depth and Taper

Tread Wear Indicators

Tread Depth Gauges

Potential Unreliability of Tread Depth Measurements

Forensic Significance of Wear

Individual Characteristics


The Individualization of a Tire

Examples of Individual Characteristics of Tires

Recording Individual Characteristics in a Substrate

Weight of Individual Characteristics

Changes in Individual Characteristics with Additional Wear

Examination Methodology and Procedure for Comparison of Tire Impressions

Structured Examination Procedure

Note Taking

Preparation for Examination

The Process of Examining Tire Impressions

Possible Results Regarding Tread Design and Dimension

Different Tread Design

Similar or Same General Tread Design

Tread Design and Dimension Correspond

Continuing the Examination Process

Partial Width Impressions

Reporting Results

The ACE-V Method

Additional Comments

Presenting Tire Evidence in Court


Demonstration Aids

Planning Ahead

Pre-Trial Meeting with Attorney

Testifying to Your Conclusions

Resources and Databases


Tire Guides, Inc.

Tire Business

Tire Retread Information Bureau

JATO Dynamics

Michigan and RCMP Track Databases

European Databases

SICAR TreadMate


Case Studies

Kunz Family Homicides

Mary Lou Arruda Homicide

Hit-and-Run Civil Case

The Tire Evidence in the Oklahoma City Bombing Case




About the Series

Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science