Wessex Garages - Tyres

Tyre tread - what do you need to know?

If you drive with damaged or worn tyres you risk being fined. You risk invalidating your car insurance policy and endangering lives too. Tyre fitted to a motor vehicle or trailer must be fit for purpose and be free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person. Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's and the tyre manufacturer's recommended pressure.

Fit for purpose means that a tyre must:

  • be compatible with the types of tyres fitted to the other wheels
  • not have any lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of the structure.
  • not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre, whichever is the greater, and which is deep enough to reach the ply or cord.
  • not have any part of the ply or cord exposed

A vehicle with any of these faults or with tyres of different nominal size or aspect ratio on the same axle is liable to fail an MOT test.

What do I need to know about UK tyre law

UK law requires that your vehicle is fitted with the correct type and size of tyre for the vehicle type you are driving and for the purpose it is being used. This means fitting the right tyres and for safety ensuring that they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.

For safety reasons it is recommended that you replace your tyres before the legal limit is reached. At 1.6 millimetres in wet weather it takes an extra two car lengths (8 metres) to stop at 50 mph than if your tread was 3 millimetres.

A regular check of your tyres can help you to avoid 3 penalty points and £2,500 in fines for having tyres worn beyond the legal minimum limit on your vehicle. It is also a legal requirement to ensure that tyres of different construction types are not fitted to opposite sides of the same axle. The two main tyre types are radial and cross-ply, and these must not be mixed on the same axle.

How to check your tyre tread?

We have put together a short and informative video to help you check your tyre tread. Please watch it below. Alternatively, if you want us to check your tyres please visit your nearest Wessex branch. We offer free fitting for all tyres. We also guarantee to match any like for like quotes on tyres with our 7 day price promise.