The coherent optical correlation technique was applied for measuring the surface wear of a tappet (part of car engine), worn by friction with the camshaft. It was found that maximum correlation intensity decays exponentially with the number of wear cycles (i.e. camshaft revolutions). Tappets of the same make have an identical rate of correlation decay. Tappets of different makes have different rates of correlation decay which are in agreement with observed long term wear.