Aug 25, 2020
To keep your car running smoothly, you need to take care of your tyres and to do this, you need to carry out regular checks to ensure they’re in good condition before you set off on a journey. By carrying out regular maintenance, you are going to save yourself some trouble as you can spot problems early on.
Having worn tears is an accident waiting to happen, and if you are caught driving with tyres below the legal tread limit you can risk facing a £2,500 fine and three penalty points for each tyre.
What is the legal tyre tread depth?
In the UK, all tyres must have a minimum tread of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre, according to law. The tread must meet this minimum requirement across its complete circumference.
However, many tyre and safety experts have disputed the 1.6mm legal minimum and believe it to be insufficient to guarantee our safety on the roads. Many say that around 3mm is when you should be looking for tyre replacements.
Stopping distances can increase dramatically when below a 3mm minimum, and worn tyres are particularly dangerous when it’s wet as the tread helps to disperse water away from the contact patch between tyre and road.
By having a deeper tyre tread, they can work better and improve grip. It is up to you as a car owner to decide whether you go by expert advice or the law.
How to check the condition of your tyres
You need to take a good look around each of your tyres to make sure there are no cuts, tears or bulges on any of them. As well as this, you will want to check for nails and stones, and any damage to the side wall. Read more on how to spot a damaged tyre here.
How to check tyre tread depth
The easiest way to check tyre tread depth is by using a 20p coin, it’s simple, quick and easy. All you need to do is take a 20p coin and insert it into the grooves of your tyre, if you can’t see the outerband of the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit. If you can see the band, your tyres may be unsafe and you need to contact a garage immediately.
When carrying out the 20p test, place the 20p coin at three different points on the tyre as this will also help to identify uneven tyre wear which could be due to a suspension problem or wheels not being aligned.
How to check your tyre pressure
When checking your tyre pressure, it’s best to do so when your tyres are cool as this will give the most accurate measurement. Use a pressure gauge to get a measurement, either by doing it at home or at petrol stations where they are often free to use.
Every car has a different recommended tyre pressure which can be found in your owner's manual or online. There might also be different pressures recommended depending on the season and the car’s load.
If your tyres are lower than the recommended pressure, be sure to inflate your tyres to match and if the reading is higher, simply let some air out.
Does tyre age matter?
Tyres are considered to be new and fit for purpose up to five years from the date of production, when in use it is recommended that they are replaced when they reach 7 years old.
Want to know how much new tyres cost? Why not get quotes from local garages in your area with MyCarNeedsA.com, the easiest way to gather quotes that can save you both time and money. Get your quote today