You have winterized your home, bled your radiators, fixed your drafts, and insulated your attic, but most importantly, have you prepared your vehicles? It is a legal requirement for you to check your tyre tread monthly but in the winter months it’s essential to ensure that they have enough grip and tread to stop you from skidding on icy roads or black ice.

When you have worn tyres, it means that your tyre grip is not fit for purpose and you could be at risk – especially during dangerous winter weather. If that isn’t enough to get you to running to your garage to check them then maybe a £2,500 fine and three penalty points per tyre will? If you receive a penalty you can receive up to a £10,000 fine if all four tyres are below the legal limit and potentially lose your licence. So, with this in mind, a regular tyre check is a must – you may even want to consider snow tyres for your vehicle if you live in a particularly snowy area!

What is the legal tyre tread depth?

The legal tread depth for tyres in the UK and Europe for cars is 1.6mm. This is across the central three-quarters of the tyre. You must ensure that your tread meets the minimum requirements across a tyre’s complete circumference.

For motorcycles over 50cc in the UK, the legal limit of tyre tread depth is 1mm across ¾ of the width of the tread pattern and with visible tread on the remaining ¼. Up to 50cc, motorcycle tyres should have all the of the grooves of the original tread pattern clearly visible.

What is the expert-recommended minimum tread depth for tyres?

Although 1.6mm is the legal minimum tyre tread depth, tyre and safety experts believe this is insufficient to guarantee your safety. Many experts recommend a minimum tread depth of 3mm for tyre replacement. In 2003, the BRMA commissioned MIRA to study the effects of tread depth on stopping distances. They found that, tyres that had a tread depth of below 3mm had a dramatic increase in stopping distances.

Worn tyres with a low tread depth are particularly dangerous if the road is wet because a tyre’s tread helps disperse water away from the space between a tyre and the road. With less tread depth the tyre will not be able to disperse as much water which increases the risk of aquaplaning.

So, are you ready to check how deep your tyre tread depth is? Find our quick guide below:

How To Check Tyre Tread Depth For Cars

The 20p Tyre Tread Depth Test

The outer ridge of a 20p coin is about 2mm which is perfect for you to use to check your tyre tread. You can simply insert the coin into the tread grooves of your tyre across the central ¾ of the tyre. If you can’t see the outer ring of the coin, then your tyres are above the minimum 1.6mm limit. But, if you can see the outer rim then your tyres need replacing straight away.

You should check your tyres monthly to ensure that you are abiding by the legal requirements and that your vehicle is safe to use.

You can find more details on how to check tyres from the RAC in the video below.

Now that you know how to check your tyre tread, why not read some more of our useful How To guides such as; How To Clean Car Alloy Rims At Home, How Do I Remove Tar From My Car? or How to Remove Sticker Residue