What Is The Legal Tyre Tread Depth?

Jun 17, 2019 | All About Cars | 0 comments

Making sure your tyre depth is correct and legal is one of the most important checks you can do. 

Having worn tyres means they are the only thing between you and an accident waiting to happen. 

If this doesn’t worry you enough you will also be at risk of a £2,500 fine and three penalty points for worn tyres. That’s per tyre by the way… So in theory, if all four were below the depth you could be facing a £10,000 fine and a loss of your license! 

The legal tyre depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre, according to law, and must meet this minimum requirement across the complete circumference. 

But how do you know when they’re not road worthy? Try the 20p test! 

Simply take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit.

Worn tyres are particularly dangerous in the wet because a tyre’s tread helps disperse water away from the contact patch between tyre and road. If there’s less tread depth, less water can be shifted, increasing the risk of aquaplaning and losing grip. In heavy rain, each tyre can shift one gallon of water every second, illustrating just how hard tyres work. Simply put, deeper tread means they can work better, improving grip. 

Driving with tyres that have a tread below the legal limit – or even worse, are bald – is dangerous. It can put you and other motorists at risk.

If you are involved in an accident and the car you are driving has illegal or bald tyres, you should be aware of the consequences. Any insurance claim as a result of an accident could be invalidated, so potentially your insurer won’t pay out any money any repairs needed to your vehicle.