What is the minimum legal tyre depth?

March 13, 2021
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Checking your legal tyre tread depth is one of the most important checks you can make on your car. Here, we talk about the consequences of not checking them regularly.

Having worn tyres means the only contact between you and the road is not as safe as it should be. No surprises then that poor tyre maintenance was the most common reason for car accidents in Britain last year – just check out this huge incident which happened on the A20 near Swanley last year.

If the safety risks don’t hit home, maybe the risk of a £2,500 fine and three penalty points for a worn tyre will! That’s per tyre, too. If all four tyres are worn below the legal limit, you could potentially lose your licence and face a £10,000 fine.

What is the legal tyre tread depth?

The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre according to law, but it’s recommended to change tyres when the tread depth reaches 3mm.

Tests by UK technical organisation MIRA found that, once tyres are below 3mm, stopping distances are increased 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%.

Worn tyres are particularly dangerous in the wet because a tyre’s tread helps disperse water away from the contact between tyre and road. If there’s less tread depth, less water can be shifted, increasing the risk of aquaplaning and losing grip.

In heavy rain, each tyre can shift one gallon of water every second, illustrating just how hard tyres work. Simply put, deeper tread means they work better with improved grip.

We provide tyres for all prestige makes and models at our Service Centre. Not only is our pricing for tyres competitive, we don’t charge you for fitting either. For your quote, call us on 01689 664 769, or chat to us online now.

The Prestige Cars Kent Service Centre is based near the Nugent Centre in Orpington, with customers across Kent. With 13 service ramps and a Business Lounge, we provide main dealer levels of service, without the cost.