Know the law

In the UK it is the driver of a vehicle’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is fitted with the correct type and size of tyre. This also means that you’re responsible for ensuring that the tyres are correctly inflated and that they have enough tread on them. The legal minimum tread depth on tyres is 1.6mm – across the central three quarters of the tread and around the entire circumference of the tyre. 

When should you replace your tyres?

Even though the law states that the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm we’d recommend changing them before they get to this depth. There’s a good reason for this – and it’s not so we can sell more tyres. It’s to do with safety. At 1.6mm in wet weather it takes a car an extra two car lengths (8 metres) to stop at 50mph than it does with 3mm tread. So new tyres could easily be the difference between having an accident and stopping safely. 

How to test the tread depth of your tyres

There are tools available that help you check your tyre tread depth – you can pick these up from many tyre suppliers. Or you can just use a 20p piece. The outer band of the 20p is a handy guide. Simply place the 20p piece in the tyre grooves. If you can see the 20p’s outer band then your tread is probably too low and you should have the tyre replaced.

What the law states

For a tyre to be fit for purpose the tyre must comply with these following rules:

  • Be compatible with the other tyres fitted to the other wheels. (There are two main types of tyre – radical and cross-ply. These must not be mixed on the same axel.)
  • It must not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre, whichever is the greater, and which is deep enough to reach the ply or cord.
  • It must not have any lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of the structure.
  • It must not have any part of the ply or cord exposed.

The penalties for driving with worn tyres

Basically you can be fined up to £2,500 and 3 points per tyre (and up to £5,000 per tyre for goods vehicles and vehicles that carry more than 8 passengers). It’s a serious matter and you can be taken to court and prosecuted for it. And, don’t forget, you can also be fined for each tyre. So you could potentially be facing a £10,000 fine and 12 points on your licence. And 12 points is likely to result in you losing your licence.

Stay legal, stay safe

We have all the major tyre brands and most modern treads available at very competitive prices. We also operate a fast and efficient no-hassle service; we’ll fit your tyres, balance them, and get you back on the road as soon as possible.

Contact us for a tyre replacement quote today.


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