Checking your tyre tread

We all know that having sufficient tread on our tyres is important, but how many of us really understand why?

As your tyres are the only contact between the road and your vehicle, making sure that they are at their best is one vital way to protect yourself and your passengers against accidents. Apart from the worry that a worn tyre could blow out at any time, they also affect your stopping distance.
For example, a tyre tread of 1.6mm means that it will take a car travelling at 50 miles per hour double the amount of time to stop in wet weather conditions than if the tread was at an optimum level. It also means your tyres are roughly half as effective and therefore your brakes too.

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Not only that, but having tyre tread below the legal limit can mean you fail your MOT, or even face a fine of £2,500 per tyre and three points on your licence. If all of your tyres are worn below the legal limit, you could risk losing your licence completely.
Clearly, it is not worth risking having worn tyres, either for your bank balance or, more importantly, your life! Our years of experience in fitting tyres have shown us that it is always better to be safe than sorry and our tyre professionals will always be happy to advise you on correct tread levels.

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Currently, for cars across the UK and Europe, tyre tread depths for the middle three quarters of the tyre must be at least 1.6mm. However, we recommend at least 3mm as the optimum depth. Anything below this and you are risking an accident, especially in wet weather, as your grip on the road will be affected.
So, how can you best check the depth of your tyre tread, to ensure that your vehicle is not only legal but safe to drive, especially when planning long journeys?
Luckily, there are a few ways in which you can check this for yourself at home. One common and popular way to do this is to use a 20 pence piece. You can simply take the coin and try to insert it into the tyre grooves, in the middle of the tyre. If when you do this, the raised border of the coin is not visible, then your tyres will likely be 3mm or more, the optimum depth. However, if when you do this you can see the border of the coin then you should get your tyres properly checked over by an expert.
It is better to buy a relatively inexpensive tyre depth gauge which can accurately measure the tread depth. This can be kept in the glove box and used every now and again to give you peace of mind.
Of course, you should also keep an eye out for any general wear and tear on your tyres, in addition to keeping them at the correct pressure.
If you’re unsure about any aspect of your tyres or checking tyre tread, we can offer expert advice and competitive pricing on replacement tyres from leading manufacturers including Pirelli and Bridgestone. Why not get in touch with your local Protyre experts today to book a free tyre check.

About the author

David Sholicar

David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and ...

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