How Long Will 2mm Of Tread Last?

By David Sholicar

Tyres start losing wet grip when they are down to 4mm of tread depth, and are noticeably less safe once down to 2mm. Although they are still legal until you touch 1.6mm, do you really want to risk your safety by waiting until you’ve used another 0.4mm before fitting replacement tyres?

tyre tread

If you have winter tyres, you shouldn’t wait until you are at 2mm. The point of winter tyres is grip on ice and snow and you won’t be getting that benefit after you’ve passed 4mm.
If you need to save for a full set, we estimate you could legally drive, but very carefully, for about another thousand miles. You would need to check those tyres every few days because all kinds of things can accelerate the wear of an old tyre (and most worn tyres are also old).

How long should tyres last?

The rate of tyre wear depends on the brand, the weight of the vehicle, how it is driven, road surfaces, weather, vehicle storage, tyre pressures, wheel alignment and how old it is. In other words, although some tyres are built for more durability than others, it is never a simple prediction.
The majority of modern tyres, on an average vehicle driven sensibly, give over 40,000 on the rear axle (on vehicles with front steering). However, if everything about your vehicle, driving and storage is optimal, you could potentially achieve double that mileage. Conversely, if nothing is properly taken care of you may only get half the average before needing replacement tyres.
The tyres that steer get more friction and wear much quicker. Sometimes you can even out the wear by having front and rear wheels swapped but this depends on tread patterns and other details so let our tyre professionals advise you.
Premium tyres optimised for racing or sports performance, such as many Continentals for example, may give less mileage, especially if you drive them to their limits. However, not all premium tyres sacrifice mileage: many Michelin, Dunlop and new Bridgestone tyres deliver great mileage (for example, Bridgestone Battlax T30, Bridgestone Dueler and new touring versions of the Turanza range).

Looking after your tyres

To minimise wear, it is vital to keep your tyre pressures at the correct level. Few things cause more premature wear than poor tyre inflation. Sunlight, ozone and dampness accelerate tyre ageing. As the compound becomes brittle, it wears faster and is more likely to get damaged or start cracking. Parking out of the sun, preferably in a garage, reduces those problems.
Issues with your steering, braking, suspension, or wheel alignment can all cause additional, and unnatural, tyre wear. Servicing your vehicle regularly will extend the life of your tyres. We usually have little choice as to which roads we drive on, but they make a difference. If you can avoid poor roads you will get more miles from your rubber.
Finally, the most obvious thing you can improve is your driving style. Heavy use of the steering column to get into tight parking spaces does you no favours. Nor do quick sprints to the next traffic lights followed by avoidable braking.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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