What you really need to know about tyre tread!

How many of us give much thought to our tyres?

It’s just not a priority when we are rushing around after kids, stocking up at the supermarket or managing another work deadline. And we may be struggling to remember where we put our keys – let alone give the tyres any thought. They probably only get checked at the annual MOT! And yet, they are actually quite important!

The tread on the tyres could save your life – but how much do you know about it?

  1. The tyre tread (the rubber that makes contact with the road) should be 1.6mm or greater in depth.
  2. The tyre tread improves contact and grip with the road. It also helps shift water away, improving contact even more in wet weather. As each tyre can shift a gallon of water away every second, you can see how bald tyres are a real risk in heavy downpours.
  3. Any easy way to check tyre tread, according to the RAC, is to use a 20p coin. If you insert the edge of the coin between the treads and can still see the band around the coin, your tread is too shallow and your tyres need replacing.
  4. All tyres also have tread wear indicators – raised bumps at the bottom of the grooves. If your tread wears down to this level, your tyre needs replacing.
  5. The penalty for worn tyres is 3 penalty points and £2,500 in fines – not worth the risk. And that’s per tyre!
  6. Many experts believe that 1.6mm tread is too shallow – 3mm should be the minimum. Apparently, braking distance in the wet is an extra 2 car lengths with 1.6mm versus 3mm tread. That could make the difference between a crash and a near-miss.
  7. You can reduce the wear on your treads by choosing quality tyres so start with. Yes, tyres are expensive and it’s well worth shopping around, but trying to cut costs could work out more expensive in the long run if they wear out more quickly.
  8. Other things that can increase wear on your tyres are erratic driving, inadequately filled tyres, an overloaded car and misaligned tyres.


Not sure if your tyres are roadworthy? You can book in a free tyre check at Halfords here.