The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. Tyre and safety experts, however, believe that the 1.6mm legal minimum is insufficient to guarantee safety, and most recommend a minimum tread depth of 3mm for tyre replacement.
The RAC reported that tests by UK technical organisation MIRA found that, once tyres are below 3mm, stopping distances increase dramatically. The difference in wet braking distance between a tyre worn to 3mm and one worn to 1.6mm can be as much as 44%.
What is the fine for driving with a bald tyre?
Not only that, according to the DVLA driving with worn tyres carries the risk of three penalty points and a fine of £2,500 should you get stopped*. And that’s just per tyre. If all four tyres are worn below the legal limit, you could potentially lose your licence and face a £10,000 fine!
Checking your tyre tread depth is one of the most important checks you can make on your car, particularly when you’re driving long journeys regularly.
Driving with tyres that tread below the legal limit – or even worse, are bald – is dangerous. It can put you, your passengers and other motorists at risk. It’s the tire’s tread that enables your car to grip the road, and as the miles add up, the tread wears down. Enough wear, and you have bald tires.
Do bald tyres invalidate my insurance?
There can be serious consequences if you are involved in an accident and the car you are driving has illegal or bald tyres.
Any insurance claim resulting from an accident could be invalidated, so potentially your insurer won’t pay out any money on any repairs needed to your vehicle.
How can I check my tyre tread?
The 20p test is a simple, quick and easy way of checking the tyre tread of your car’s wheels. Just 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. However, if you can see the band and that section of the coin is still visible, your tyres could be unsafe and require professional inspection by a mechanic.
We depend on our tires for our safety when driving; it is vital that they are taken care of properly. It is so important to check your tyres regularly otherwise you face putting both yourself, your passengers and other road users at risk.