One of the most important things you must do as a car owner is to check your tyre tread. Your tyres are the only part of your car that comes into contact with the surface of the road. Ultimately, they have a say as to how safe your car is. It’s vital that you know exactly how to check all of your tyres for wear and tear and defects. You’ll also need to know how to check the tread on your tyres.
Our short guide will help you to understand what the legal requirements are.
The Legal Depth for Tyres
According to the law, you must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6m around the central ¾ of your tyres.
It is recommended that you replace any tyre before the legal limit is reached. Many manufacturers recommend that you replace your tyres when they reach a depth of 3 millimetres.
If you are stopped by the police and you are not en route to having them replaced, you’re driving with illegal tyres and they can issue a fine. If you are stopped by the police on your way to getting your tyres replaced tell them you’re going to get them replaced now.
Measuring and Checking your Tyre Tread Depth
Undertaking a quick check of your depth can be achieved by looking at the tyre’s wear indicators. You will find these located within the grooves of your tyre’s tread pattern.
However, a much more accurate way to check the depth is to use a measuring gauge. This gauge is quite small, in fact, it can fit in your glovebox quite nicely. The gauge will give you an accurate measure of your tyre’s depth. Keeping the measuring gauge in your glovebox will ensure you always have it to hand when you need it.
The 20 Pence Tyre Check
You might have heard of the ’20p test’. This is a super simple method that takes no time at all.
Insert a 20 pence coin into the grooves on your tyres. Make sure it’s situated in the lowest part of the tread. If you are unable to see the outer rim that’s located on the coin your tyre is safe to use. It will mean your tyre has a tread depth of 3 millimetres.
If, when you insert the 20 pence coin you’re able to see the rim you will need your tyre checking. Chances are it will need replacing so it’s essential that you do this as soon as possible.
How Often Should I Check My Tyres Tread Depth?
One of the best things you can do is to check your tyres at least once every 14 days. However, most people only check their tyres once a month. If your tyre treads are safe you’ll be able to travel on motorways and on long journeys without worry.
What you Should Know
- When the depth of your tyres measures just 1.6 millimetres it takes your car an extra car length to stop in wet weather, putting you and fellow road users and pedestrians at risk.
- If you are caught driving with illegal tyres, you risk a £2,500 fine (per tyre!), and 3 penalty points.
- A tyre will typically rotate around 26 million times in its life. This means it will cover approximately 30,000 miles!
Regularly checking your tread depth, on each tyre, will mean you can drive worry-free! And remember, it’s important to check the tread on each tyre individually – just because one is fine, doesn’t mean they all are!