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Facts on tyre wear before your Get Towing trailer training course

Get Towing examining Tyre Wear – Everything You Need To Know

Trailer and vehicle tyres are the only area of your vehicle that make contact with the road you are driving on. For your vehicle to steer, brake and stay on the road safely it is vital your tyres are kept in good condition and checked regularly.

The outer surface of a tyre is made of rubber with a tread pattern. The grooves of the tread create traction with the road surface you are travelling on meaning your vehicle sticks to the road and moves in the direction you instruct it to! The body of a tyre contains an area of compressed air this provides cushioning that protects the wheel rim and absorbs shock.
Rubber is not an everlasting material so the tread pattern on your tyres will wear each time you drive somewhere. Because of this tyres will need to be replaced again and again to maintain a safe and legal vehicle.

If you are found driving with illegal tyres you could be fined up to £2,500 and receive 3 points on your licence – per tyre.

What is the Legal Tyre Tread Depth?

When a tyre is brand new the tyre tread is around 8mm. The legal minimum tyre tread is 1.6 mm over ¾ of the tyre. Tyre tread below this measurement is not thought to provide enough traction to the road to ensure safety when driving.

However, many experts believe tread of 1.6mm is too shallow and recommend using 3mm as the minimum measure of when to change your tyres. This is because research conducted by MIRA found 3mm to be the critical measurement, when tyre tread depth became lower than this the stopping distance needed started to increase. The difference between the stopping distance when braking on a wet surface when tyres were at 1.6mm tread depth was found to be up to 44% longer than a tyre with a tread depth of 3mm.

How do you check the tread depth on a tyre?

Experts recommend the tread of your vehicles tyres should be checked every 2 weeks and at the very least once every month.

There are several ways you can check the tread depth of your tyres:

  1. Use the 20p test – to use this method insert a 20p into the groove of your tyre tread, if the outer band isn’t visible your tyres are legal, if the outer band is visible it is time to get your tyres replaced.
  2. Buy a depth gauge – these handy tools provide a more precise measurement of tread depth than the 20p test and are readily available
  3. Look at your tyre tread wear indicators – Most tyres will have a raised area at the bottom of grooves, once the rest of the tread is in line with this area you are near the legal limit and should get your tyres replaced
  4. See a specialist – tyre centres and garages will know exactly what to look for when checking your tyres, so if you are in any doubt you should ask an expert.