How to know when a tyre's tread has been worn out?

By Julia Freeman

It is so easy to take your vehicle’s tyres for granted and assume that they are completely safe, however it’s essential to check them regularly. After all, it’s your tyres that are keeping your car in contact with the road and a worn, split or damaged tyre can have terrible, even fatal, consequences.

Tyre Tread

Check your Tyre Tread

Why you need to check your tyre tread regularly A brand-new tyre has a tread depth of 8mm. Tyre patterns may vary according to the type and manufacturer, but those grooves and treads play a crucial part in keeping your vehicle safe on the road. They flex as they meet the road surface, providing grip and siphoning away surface water in wet conditions. The extra millimetres of tread make all the difference, at 70 mph your braking distance in the wet will double if your tyre tread is at the minimum depth of 1.6mm. The extra delay in stopping could easily spell disaster for you, your passengers and other road users.
 
It’s not just dangerous to drive with worn out tyre tread, it is also illegal and if your vehicle is involved in an accident it can completely invalidate your insurance. The penalties if you are stopped by the police are equally harsh, with each worn tyre costing you three penalty points on your license and a fine of up to £2,500.

How to check the Tread on your Tyres

Whether your vehicle is fitted with budget tyres or a premium brand, such as Pirelli, Bridgestone or Falken, they all need the same level of care and attention. Along with checking tyre pressures, make time to check their condition thoroughly at least once every two weeks, with a quick visual inspection every day.
 
You are looking for any signs of uneven wear, so make sure you inspect the entire visible surface of each tyre very thoroughly. This can sometimes highlight potential cause for concern, such as uneven wear around the shoulders, edges or centre of one or more tyres. Although it is reasonable to expect some degree of degradation across the entire tyre surface, areas that are particularly worn can indicate aggressive driving technique, incorrectly inflated tyres or the need for wheel tracking or alignment.

Legal Requirement

Although the legal requirement is a tread depth of at least 1.6mm, at Protyre our years of experience tell us that it’s safest to replace tyres once the level falls below 3mm. You can purchase a special tyre tread gauge to check or even use the edge of a 20p coin. With the 20p in the tread, if you can see any of the ‘shoulder’ of the coin then your tyres need replacing as a matter of urgency.
 
If you are still not sure, or you feel you need some specialist expertise, our tyre professionals are on hand to help. Book in for a free tyre check and we will inspect each of your tyres and make any necessary recommendations.

Book with Protyre

If you are unsure about your load rating or which tyres to get, click the ‘Find My Protyre’ button below and speak with the team at your local Protyre centre. With their wealth of knowledge and years of experience, you can be certain you will receive high-quality advice from our friendly team. Or you can book a free tyre check at a time and date to suit you, where our tyre technicians will be able to carry out a range of safety checks on your tyres to help keep you safe on the road.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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