Tyre Tread

Have you checked your tyre tread recently? Tyre safety is paramount to you, your passengers and other road users. Don’t wait until your MOT to check your tread depth, do it now or visit any of our branches for a FREE tyre check.

We know it’s easy to get complacent with the hustle and bustle of everyday life but tyre experts recommend that you should check your tyres at least once a month. Tyres play a vital role in how well your car grips the road and without sufficient tyre tread, your car will handle poorly.

As your wheels rotate, the grooves in the tyre tread suck water from the contact patch which essentially dries the road surface. Unbelievably, a tyre in good condition can move around 15 litres of water per second! If your tyre tread is not up to standard, less water is shifted which increases the risk of aquaplaning and you may lose control.

Even with all the sophisticated safety features on modern cars such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, they don’t mean much if you don’t look after your tyres. It is like putting a Band Aid on a broken arm. Putting it plainly, the deeper your tyre tread, the better your car will grip and perform even in terms of fuel-efficiency.

Regardless of the car you drive, checking your legal tyre tread depth is one of the most important aspects of tyre safety. In the UK and Europe, the legal tyre tread depth for cars is 1.6mm around the tyre circumference and the central three quarters. The tread must meet the minimum requirement across its entire circumference. However experts believe the 1.6mm legal minimum tread does not guarantee safety. Most recommend that you should replace your tyres when the tyre tread depth is at 3mm.

Backed up by tests from MIRA (formerly the Motor Industry Research Association) once tyres are below 3mm, stopping distances increase dramatically. The difference in wet braking distance between tyres worn to 3mm compared to 1.6mm can be as much as 44%. This just goes to show why tyre tread depth is so important in wet weather conditions.

Besides the obvious safety risks, do you really want a £2,500 fine and three penalty points for a worn tyre? Remember that the fine is not per vehicle, it’s per tyre which essentially means a £10,000 fine and 12 points if all your tyres are worn.

Everything you do about your tyres will add to overall tyre safety. While professional tyre centres can help with all your tyre needs, knowing what to check for is essential to ensure road and tyre safety. If you don’t know how to check that your tyre tread depth is legal, there are a few easy tricks to keep in mind.

You could use a tread depth gauge to measure the inside and the outside of your tyre tread. If you don’t have one, they aren’t expensive to buy but you are always welcome at any of our Elite centres where our expert tyre technicians will check everything for you.

Another way to easily check your tyre tread depth is the visible tread wear indicators. These are moulded into the tread grooves to indicate whether a tyre is worn beyond the minimum safety limit. It’s really simple; if you can see them, you need to replace your tyres. If you don’t know where to find them, look for a mark on the sidewall that will guide you.

20p check

You can also do the 20p coin test. Simply insert a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre and if the outer band of the 20p coin is hidden, your tread is above the legal limit. If you can see the outer band, it is very likely that you should replace your tyres as soon as possible.

Always check your tyres in a few different locations around the entire circumference for a more accurate result. Remember to check all your tyres at least once a month and don’t forget the spare. If you suspect tyre damage of any kind, visit Elite Garages and we’ll take care of it while you wait.