Ensuring your tyres are roadworthy and replaced when necessary is paramount to your own safety as well as to the safety of others on the road.
The only point of contact between a vehicle and the surface of the road are the tyres and these are subject to immense amounts of pressure and wear – something which can be further intensified by driving technique, poor surface and weather conditions.
The Consequences of Driving with Illegal Tyres
Serious Safety Risk
Incorrectly inflated and worn tyres can prevent the vehicle’s other safety systems from working effectively, leading to serious safety issues. Ultimately, driving with illegal tyres is dangerous, putting both the driver and other motorists at risk.
It is illegal under UK to drive a vehicle with tyres below the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm – this is typically measured in a continuous band around the central ¾ of the tyre. The legal consequences of driving with bald tyres are severe – three penalty points and a fine of up to £2,500 for each defective tyre. If all four tyres were worn below the legal limit, this could result in a fine of up to £10,000 and potentially losing your licence, making it all the more important to ensure that your tyres are in good shape.
If you are involved in an accident and the vehicle you are driving has illegal tyres, as well as the legal consequences, it may also invalidate any insurance claim.
How To Check Tyre Tread Depth
The 20p Test
The 20p test is an easy and viable option – simply insert a 20p coin into one of the tread grooves on the tyre, if the outer band of the coin is not visible, the tyres are above the legal limit. If the outer band of the coin is still visible, this could indicate that the tyre tread depth is below the legal limit and it may be unsafe to drive. If this is the case, the vehicle should be immediately taken to a local garage for professional inspection.
Tyre Tread Depth Gauge
This purpose made tool will provide an accurate measurement of tyre tread depth – they can be purchased online or at your local garage.
Tyre tread depth below 3mm is typically recommended for replacement, studies have shown that once tyres reach 3mm, braking distance increases drastically, and even more so under adverse weather conditions i.e. during heavy rain. To ensure that your tyres are safe we recommend the following:
- Check your tyre tread depth on a regular basis (every 2 weeks is preferable) and especially prior to any long journeys.
- When performing checks, it is important to measure the main tread grooves in several different places around the tyre.
- Check tyre pressure on a regular basis using a tyre pressure gauge, or on the air machines found in garages and at fuelling stations. The correct tyre pressure for your vehicle can usually be located either in the manual, inside the driver’s door, or it may be printed on the inner side of the fuel flap.
- A regular general inspection of tyres to check for any signs of damage such as tears or bumps - potholes or accidentally hitting the kerb can cause damage to the tyres as well as wheel alignment. In a case of doubt, it is a good idea to get the tyres checked by a professional.
We are an independent family owned garage set in the South Shropshire town of Church Stretton, we offer a range of services including tyre fitting and wheel alignment. Our service station offers MOT Class 1, 2, 4, and 7 as well as all makes servicing. As well as MOT and car servicing the Longmynd team are also classic car specialists and can provide various services including the reconditioning and servicing of all types of classics. Get in touch today for more information.