Our customers regularly ask us what the legal minimum tread depth for tyres is and while we point out it is 1.6mm, we also advise motorists that 3mm is widely considered to be a safer minimum.
This weekend the Sunday Times addressed the subject on the Car Clinic pages of the excellent ingear supplement. GC from London asked: “I’m trying to decide whether my car needs new tyres. I understand that tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across 75% of the width of the tyre. Am I right?”
Car Clinic expert Dave Pollard responded: “The minimum tread depth of 1.6mm has to be in a continuous band across the central three-quarters of the tread width, around the whole of the circumference. But, if that’s all the tread a tyre has, there is something seriously wrong, probably overinflation, as wear should be even across the width.
“Though 1.6mm is the legal requirement, a tyre’s performance (steering, cornering and particularly braking) at that point is already considerably reduced and safety organisations and tyre manufacturers suggest that 3mm is a more realistic safe minimum, particularly in winter, but also in the sort of wet weather we often get at this time of year. It’s worth remembering that the current maximum penalty for breaking the legal tread limit is three points and a find of £2,500 – and that’s for each illegal tyre.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office