Guide to tyre checking

  • Guide to help you keep on top of tyre maintenance
  • Find out how to check tread depth and pressures
  • Learn how to stay legal on the roads

Tyres are a crucial part of car and driver safety and they need to be closely monitored. This guide will provide you with some best practice tips on how to maintain and check tyres to ensure you stay legal and safe while out on the road.

The maximum fine a court can impose for driving on a defective tyre is £2500 for a passenger car and £5000 for a goods vehicle plus three penalty points per tyre.

Tread Depth

Excessive wear means a loss of grip which increases stopping distance.

The legal limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm – tyre tread should be measured using a depth gauge, however there is also a quick test with a 20p if you do not have one. Place the coin in the groove of the tyre and if you can see the inner edge of the border of the coin, it means your tread depth is less than 3mm and you should consider replacing that tyre.

Check all four tyres in three different places to make sure they are all legal.

If you spot uneven tread wear during a check, it is likely to be a symptom of a more fundamental problem and is worth getting checked by a professional.

Tyre Pressures

Incorrectly inflated tyres wear out quicker, unbalance the car and use more fuel.

An under-inflated tyre is very dangerous as it will run hot due to friction and will be more prone to a blow-out.

There are three key areas to consider: over-inflation, under-inflation and differing pressure for front and rear tyres.

Tyre pressures should be checked at least once a month or before long journeys, the correct pressure will be specified in the vehicle manual and can be checked at most petrol stations.

As part of your tyre checks, also take time to look at the valves as they can let the tyre deflate slowly over time if they have been incorrectly fitted, become damaged or worn through age.

Tyre Condition

Regularly inspect the condition of the tyres and make sure there are no cracks or bulges, make sure there are no obvious cuts or tears which could lead to a blow-out or puncture.

Remember - When checking the tread, pressures and condition, don't forget the spare!