When to change tyres for low mileage cars

You may think that if you don’t cover many miles in your car then you won’t need to change the tyres until the tread wears out. However, our years of experience tell us that this is not the case and you will need new tyres even if you never wear out the tread.

Tyres still have a lifespan, even if you don’t drive very far or often and old tyres can have a safety and performance impact on your vehicle.

Is it illegal to have ‘old’ tyres?

There is no legal limit as to how long you can keep a tyre on a vehicle, but its lifespan will depend on a variety of factors and ignoring this can mean your car not performing as it should, both during normal driving and in an emergency.
Factors affecting the lifespan of your tyres will include factors such as how and where you drive and where you keep your vehicle. Tyres will deteriorate faster if you drive when they’re not at the right pressure, for example and infrequent use of your vehicle can also have an impact.

Make sure they are legal and safe

Your car tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in the centre three quarters and around the circumference, although our tyre professionals recommend twice that figure to avoid compromising stopping distances. It is also vital that there are no cords showing and no cracks or cuts in the sidewalls.

Did you know?

Protyre offer free tyre checks at all of our garages. Click the button below to book your vehicle in and let our technicians advise on the best tyres for you. 

Free tyre check

The rubber compounds in your tyres will degrade over time. This will happen regardless as to how much you use your car or store it as the compounds are affected by age, ozone and sunlight.


When should you replace your tyres?

Whether you have Pirelli, Falken, Sumitomo, Bridgestone or a less well-known brand of tyres, most manufacturers agree that they should be changed at least once a decade.
After ten years, your tyres may appear to be in good condition but there may be cracks and degradation that you cannot see.

You can check the age of tyres by looking at the DOT code, which is on the sidewall. If there are three numbers in the code, they will date from before 2000. After this time, the four-number code shows the week and year they were made. For example, 4909 would mean that the tyre was made in the 49th week of 2009.

Need new tyres? Buy online at Protyre and save £££s!

Protyre stock a wide range of Premium, Mid-range and Budget tyres to suit any requirement with same day fitting available on many options. Click the button below to browse our selection.

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Defective tyres and the law

Old tyres may affect braking distances and offer reduced grip, as well as increasing your risk of a blowout. If you have an accident when using old tyres, it could also affect your insurance payout.
There is also the possibility that you could be fined by the police for having defective tyres. Defective tyres can lead to three penalty points and a fine of £2,500 per tyre.
If you’re not sure whether you need new tyres for your vehicle, why not book one of our free tyre checks. Alternatively, if you are in the market for new tyres and want to find exactly the right product for your vehicle, driving style and budget, then our tyre search function is on-hand to help here on the site.

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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