Daily Telegraph gets to grips with tyre tread depths

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The Daily Telegraph motoring writer James Foxall gets to grips with the issue of whether it is best to replace your tyres when they wear below 3mm or wait until they reach the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in the Cars section this Saturday.

Foxall writes: “Saving money isn’t always straightforward. Take tyres. The manufacturers say we should chance our rubber when the tread is worn down to 3mm, rather than the legal minimum of 1.6mm. You could argue, “They would say that wouldn’t they?” And they would hit back by saying that there’s a significant drop-off in safety performance when tyres have less than 3mm of tread left.

“One answer is to buy a more expensive premium tyre which you hope would perform at a higher level for longer and thereby work out cheaper. Whatever, the decision may be taken out of our hands. By 2017, Continental says it will have tyres that contain a sensor to replay the tread depth to the car’s computer. When that depth reaches 3mm, an alert will flash up in the car. The technology is impressive and the idea is without doubt worthy. But I’m not sure how many drivers will thank Continental of its ingenuity.”

It is also worth pointing out that it is not just tyre manufacturers who recommend changing tyres when they wear below 3mm. Many safety groups, including RoSPA, recommend that worn tyres are replaced with an equivalent new unit well before the legal minimum tread limit of 1.6mm is reached – ideally as soon as they reach 3mm.

Denna Bowman, Head Office

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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