How to Check if Your Tyres Need Replacing

Ensuring your tyres remain at the legal tread limit is paramount. It’s fundamental to the safety of both yourself and other road users. Worn tyres have a limited amount of grip on the road surface, increasing your chances of slipping or skidding. 

Avoid the hassle and ensure the safety of both yourself and others by regularly checking your tyre tread depth. If the tread is at an illegal depth, you must replace the tyre(s) immediately.

Check if Your Tyres Need Replacing

What is the legal tyre tread depth?

The legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm. This depth must be same across the central three-quarters of the tyre, in accordance with the law. The tyre tread must meet this legal requirement across its entire circumference in order to be regarded as legally safe. 


Tyre tread depth according to the experts

Many tyre experts believe that 1.6mm is insufficient and doesn’t guarantee safety. The recommended minimum tread depth is 3mm for tyre replacement. According to tests done by the MIRA (a British technical organisation), once the tread depth goes below 3mm, stopping distance dramatically increase, especially in wet conditions.


How to check if your tyres need replacing

There are a few things you can do to effectively check the tread depth of your tyres. Here are just a few ways you can do it:


The 20p test

This is a quick and easy way to check your tyre tread depth and should be conducted every two-three weeks. Firstly, take a 20 pence piece and insert it into your tyres’ tread groove. If you can’t see the coin’s band, then your tyres are at a legal tread depth, however, if all or part of the band is still visible, your tyres are likely to be unsafe and must be inspected by a qualified mechanic.


Tyre tread wear indicators

Not only are these simple to use, but they’re incredibly reliable when it comes to checking your tyre tread depth. If the tyre is flush with these indicators, then the tyre tread depth is below the legal limit and will need replacing as soon as possible.


Tyre tread depth gauge

These gauge tools are purpose made to measure the depth of individual tyre grooves. These work quickly and their results can be relied upon every time. If you’re unsure as to how to acquire or use one of these effectively, ask your mechanic for some help and advice.


Tyre tread depth and the law

Driving with worn tyres that are below the legal limit, or worse – bald, is illegal and incredibly dangerous, putting both yourself and other motorists at risk. If you’re involved in an accident with a tread depth which is below the legal limit, you must be prepared to face the consequences.


What happens if I have an accident on illegal/bald tyres?

  • Your insurance will become invalid, meaning your insurer could refuse to pay out on a claim.
  • You could be landed with a fine of up to £2,500 and 3 points on your licence – per tyre. If all four of your tyres are illegal, that’s a fine of £10,000 and 12 penalty points.
  • 12 penalty points accompanying such as considerable fine could trigger an automatic driving ban.


Avoid the consequences of driving on illegal tyres and get them replaced with us here at Auto Exhausts & Tyres. Our knowledgeable team of experts will be able to best advise you on the condition of your tyres, and recommend the best course of action. Whether you’d like one tyre replacing, or all four of them, we’ll be able to help. For more information, or to learn more about the multitude of services we provide, get in touch with us today – we’re always on hand to help.