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Tyre tread law explained

Tyre tread law explained

When it comes to tyres, the laws and requirements can be a bit baffling as we all want to make sure that our wheels are safe. For instance, that they have enough grip on the road and that, if you have to slam on the brakes, you won’t end up spinning out of control. But how can you make sure the tyres on your car are legal? Here’s our quick rundown of tyre tread law and what you need to do.

What is the law?

The UK Government has enshrined in law that all four of your tyres, and your spare, must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Not just on the outside but across the entire width of the tyre, so on the inside and middle of the tyre tread too. This is the law for both the UK and EU.

While this is the legal minimum, most experts recommend at least 3mm of tyre tread. In any case, you should not be letting the tyres reach the legal minimum.

How you can check it?

Some tyre manufacturers have what’s known as ‘tread bars’ moulded into the tyre. These are sections of rubber that show the minimum tread depth. If the rest of the tyre tread has been worn down to these markers, then it’s a simple indicator that it’s time to change.

You can also buy a tyre tread depth checker from your local car parts store. While it’s not precise, another option is to use a 20p coin. The border around the edge of the coin is roughly 2.7mm in depth. By placing the coin in the tread of the tyre, you can check if the border of the coin is visible.

Other checks you should make

While you are checking the tyre tread, you should also check the tyre’s air pressure and the integrity of the valve. The pressure inside the tyre can be checked at a petrol station, with many having a pump that will automatically inflate your tyre to the required pressure. All you need to do is to set the pump to the right setting. You can find this by checking the information plate in the doorsill of your car. It will tell you the right pressure for the average amount of passengers and load the car takes.

You should also check the tyre air valve. If it’s damaged it can leak air over time.

If in doubt, get a professional to check

Having the right tyre tread depth is not just about passing the MOT. It’s an important part of your car’s safety, and if you live in the UK, then you’re going to be driving on roads covered in rain and sleet. If you have any doubts about your tyres, take your car to a qualified garage. Many will offer a free tyre check, both the tread and the pressure, so you can get an expert to see if your car is safe enough to drive.

Car Care Tips  21/01/2020 11:07:48

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