What do I need to know about tyre law?

By Julia Freeman

As tyres are the only part of a car to make contact with the surface of the road, it is essential that they are in good condition. Their importance to the safety of all road users means that there is very clear legislation in place to ensure that minimum standards of safety are complied with.


Breaking the tyre law can result in a driver being fined up to £2,500 per tyre, whilst of course putting the lives of many people at risk.
Let's take a look at the legislation, and how to ensure that your tyres do not come up short.

The importance of tread depth

Our tyre professionals have years of experience in dealing with everything to do with tyres. They will confirm that one of the most important aspects of a tyre is its tread, which is made up of the grooves and ridges along the circumference of the rubber surface. Whilst they may not seem particularly important when given a cursory glance, their design and depth will have a dramatic impact on a number of factors relating to your car's performance.
Top end tyre manufacturers, such as Bridgestone, put a great deal of money into the research and development of their products in order to make them as safe as possible whilst also taking fuel efficiency and other performance factors into account.
The tread of a tyre allows a car to grip effectively on the road surface, helping a driver brake and manoeuvre safely and effectively. During a tyre's life, the tread will deteriorate, meaning its performance will suffer, making it harder to stop and corner, especially in wet conditions. A car with brand new tyres will stop on average in 195ft when travelling at 70mph on a wet road. This distance is almost doubled if tyres are at the legal limit of 1.6mm tread depth.

Causes of tyre wear

General wear and tear on a tyre will cause the tread to wear down over time, but this can be exacerbated by a number of factors. These include aggressive driving, tyres that are overloaded or inflated incorrectly, wheel balance or alignment that is out, and ultimately how good the tyre is.

The law and driver penalties

As we mentioned above, if your tyre tread is less than 1.6mm it is illegal – and drivers with illegal tyres face a fine £2,500 of per offending tyre, as well as three penalty points per tyre and invalidated insurance.

Checking your tyres

There several methods to measure the depth of a tyre, but one of the most effective requires a humble 20p piece. If you insert a 20p piece into the main tread groove of the tyre, you need to look for the band which goes around the outside of the coin. If you can't see this outer band, your tread depth is likely to be greater than 1.6mm and legal. If any part of this band is visible, your tyres are likely to be unsafe and in need of replacement sooner rather than later.
In practice, we recommend a minimum of 3mm to ensure performance and handling isn't compromised.

We Can Help You Choose The Right Tyre

Tyres are essential for keeping your car safe and performing at its best, but with so many options out there, it can be tough to know where to start. That's where our informative articles come in – we're here to help you navigate the world of tyres and make the best choice for your specific needs.

Whether you're considering upgrading to Premium car tyres for enhanced driving dynamics, run flat car tyres for added peace of mind, or trying to decide between summer car tyres and winter car tyres, Protyre can help. Our articles have got you covered with a wide range of tyre-related topics to help you make informed decisions.

The brand you choose matters too. We offer recommendations for trusted names such as BF Goodrich tyres, Bridgestone tyres, Continental tyres, Dunlop tyres, Falken tyres, General tyres, Goodyear tyres, GT Radial tyres , Hankook tyres, Michelin tyres, Pirelli tyres, Runway tyres, Sumitomo tyres, and Toyo tyres. But our articles don't just focus on choosing the right tyres – we also offer practical advice for maintaining them. From simple tips like checking your tread depth and keeping your tyres inflated to the proper pressure, to more advanced topics like extending tyre life through regular rotation and balancing - we've got you covered!
Dive in and discover everything you need to know to keep your car running smoothly and safely with Protyre.

Book with Protyre

If you are worried about the performance of your tyres, why not book a free tyre check with the professional tyre experts at your local Protyre garage.

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With same day fitting across many of our brands, you can also purchase your tyres through our website with our easy to use tyre guide. Simply click the button below to get started.

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About the author

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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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