A new tyre will start its life with approximately 8mm of tread, however, due to general wear this will gradually reduce over time. As tread depth reduces, so does a tyre’s gripping capabilities and this means that braking distances are increased as is the risk of aquaplaning. For this reason, we recommend your tyres should be replaced when tread begins to drop below 3mm to ensure your safety and performance on the road.
The legal minimum tread depth of tyres is 1.6mm and this can have a negative effect on more than just your safety. If you are caught driving on tyres with a tread depth below 1.6mm, you could face being given three points on your licence and being fined up to £2,500 per tyre! In addition, should you have an accident, your insurance policy may be deemed void as tyres with insufficient tread could be the cause of the accident.
Checking your tyres to make sure they have sufficient tread depth is an easy task which can be undertaken at home and Dexel recommend that you check yours every three to four weeks.
The easiest way to check your tyres is by using a 20p piece. Simply place the coin in to the tread grooves of the tyre and if you can see the outer band of the part of the coin inside the tread groove, then your tyres will definitely be illegal. You should repeat this test in different areas of the tyre to ensure tread depth is within the legal limit in a continuous band across the central three quarters of the tyre.
If you do find that your tyre tread is below the legal minimum, you should have them replaced immediately.
This test may also help you to notice if your tyres are wearing unevenly. If you find that tread is more worn on one side of your tyre, it may be time to have your wheel alignment checked.
Take a look at this video for further guidance on how to check your tyre tread: