Car Tyres - Do you know the law

Whatever vehicle you're driving, the condition of your wheels is key to your safety, so it is vitally important that the tyres are maintained and kept in good condition.
It's the law to stick to a minimum tread depth and with good reason - your tyres are the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road, so it is essential your tyres are not damaged or excessively worn to avoid penalty points on your license as well as any accidents.

The law on tyres

All vehicles using UK roads must be fitted with the correct size and type of tyre. It is also important that your tyres have the correct tyre pressure and minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.
Having lawful tyres does not only keep you safe, but also helps you to avoid a potential fine and points on your licence. If you are caught with tyres that are breaking the law, you could receive a fixed penalty notice, 3 points per tyre on your driving licence or even be fined £2,500 per tyre if they are in particularly poor condition.

Can you check your own tyres?

You can easily check your tyres before heading out in your car.
Park your car in a safe place whilst making sure you have proper access to your car tyres. You can use either a 20p coin or a tyre gauge to make sure that your tyre tread is within the limit of 1.6mm. When using a 20p coin, place it within the tyre treads across various points of the tyre. If the outer banner on the coin face can be seen at any one time, this means that the tyre tread is too shallow (and illegal). If you have a tyre gauge to hand, you can use this in the same way. If the gauge reads at least 1.6mm or over, then your tyres are likely to be safe to drive.
You may notice that your tyre has tread wear indicators. This means that you can see if your tyres are within the legal tyre tread limit without using a tyre gauge or 20p coin. These small indicators are raised at the bottom of the tyre groove. If the surface of your tyre is level with them, this could mean it is time for new tyres.
Even if your tyres are at the 1.6mm legal limit, it is crucial to understand that your tyre’s efficiency is reduced when the tyre tread is below 3mm. If this is the case, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and ensure that your tyre pressure is correct, or in fact check if you need new tyres.

How to check tyre pressure

Having the correct tyre pressure is a legal requirement and it also helps improve the handling and longevity of your tyres, as well as fuel consumption. Therefore, it is vital to check your tyre pressure.
To find the correct tyre pressure for your car and tyres, you can usually find a sticker on the inside of your car’s door frame. If this is not the case for your car, you may be able to find it in your car manual, fuel cap or online.
To check your tyre pressure at home, you need your own tyre pressure checker. It is a simple process. Remove the valve cover and place the gauge over the top of the tyre valve. Once the reading is displayed you will be able to see if it meets your car’s specific requirements. If not, you are able to release air or add air until it reaches the correct tyre pressure.
If you don’t have a tyre pressure checker, then most large petrol stations will have digital air pressure machines with instructions on how to use them.

Damage, wear and tear

Your tyres take you safely from A to B, so making sure they are not damaged or torn is essential to staying safe on the roads. You should regularly give your tyres a check for any peculiar bulges, slits or tears. You may notice that your tyres are worn down in one area and this could mean that your tyres are not balanced properly, meaning they will need re-balancing. Checking damage can save you money in the long run and help lower your driving costs.