October is Tyre Safety Month 2010 and Tyresafe, the UK’s tyre safety organisation, is keen to highlight the dangers to your life and your wallet if you drive with illegal tyres. The maximum penalty for drivers found to have tyres worn beyond the legal limit is a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre. In 2008, 4,317 drivers were successfully prosecuted for this offence in England and Wales.
Driving with worn-out tyres is also really dangerous – you will have much less grip and take much longer to stop than usual, especially in wet and wintry conditions.
Checking Your Tyres
The law requires car tyres to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre and around its entire circumference. You can buy tread depth gauges to measure this but a far simpler approach is to use a 20p coin!
- Place a 20p coin in one of the main grooves in your tyre
- If the outer rim of the coin is completely covered by the tread, you should have enough tread depth to be legal.
- If the outer rim of the coin is visible, take your car to a tyre centre and get your tyres checked – you may need new tyres.
Watch this video to learn more:
Finally, remember to have a look at the inside edges of your tyres occasionally. Sometimes, tyres get worn unevenly and can wear down on the inside edges but not on the outside edges. If this happens, take your car to have its tyres checked professionally – the tracking may need adjusting to solve the problem and you may need replacement tyres, too.