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When to get new tyres

Date: Mon 29th January 2018   |   Author: L Blake

Are you unsure if your tyres are legal for UK roads? Learn when to get new tyres and how to check your tyre depth quickly with this helpful guide from AutoProtect. Tyres are the only part of your vehicle that comes into contact with the road surface so it’s important that you spot when your tyres need changing.

How to check tyre tread depth and spot other warning signs

Tyres are the only part of your vehicle that comes into contact with the road so it’s important that they’re in good condition and safe to drive on. This guide will help you understand when your tyres are no longer safe and offer you advice on when to get new tyres. We’ll help you identify signs of wear and tear and let you know how to check tyre tread depth.

When to get new tyres

There are several reasons you may need to replace the tyres on your vehicle. See the list below to understand when to get new tyres.

If the tyre is damaged

A tyre can be damaged if it comes into contact with a substantial object in the road. This could be anything from a nail that embeds itself in the tyre, to debris that’s come from another vehicle. Running over debris may cause your tyre to deflate immediately, but other debris can embed in your tyre causing a slow deflation. You should check tyres for debris regularly as this could prevent a puncture.

Your tyres may also become damaged if you hit a curb or pot hole at speed. If this happens you should check your tyre and if you suspect it is damaged take your vehicle to a garage to have it looked over by a specialist. You will then be able to determine if the tyre either needs repairing or replacing.

checking tyre tread

If the tyre is worn down to the legal limit

The legal limit for tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. However, in several European countries it is recommended that your vehicle has a tyre tread depth of 4mm for safer driving in winter. Many tyre manufacturers use a coloured strip that is ingrained into the tyre that shows when it is worn down below the legal limit.

If you notice abnormal wear

If you notice abnormal wear, you should take your vehicle to a garage to have the tyres inspected. Abnormal uneven tyre wear can be noticed in the centre of the tyre, in patches or at the edge of the tyre.

If the tyre is over five years old

Once your vehicle has been on the road for five years, the tyres should be thoroughly inspected at least once a year. If the tyres remain in good condition, they should be replaced once the vehicle has been in service for 10 years.

If the tyres are not suitable for the vehicle

For driving performance and safety reasons all four tyres fitted to your vehicle must be identical. Each vehicle requires a specific size tyre. You can find out which tyres are right for your vehicle by reading your owner’s guide.

How to check tyre tread depth

The easiest way to check tyre depth tread without tools is by using the 20p method. Around the edge of a 20p piece there is an outer band that contains the wording “Twenty Pence”. This band is 2mm in width all the way around the coin and offers a great guide to check tread depth. All you have to do is insert the coin in the grooves of the tyre and look out for the following.

  • You can see the coin’s outer band – tyre tread depth is below the legal limit.
  • You can’t see the coin’s outer band – tyre tread depth is at a safe level.

For extra reassurance, if you’re unsure about your tyre tread depth, you can always take your vehicle to a garage to have the tyre depth tread looked over by a professional.

Which tools can you use to check tyre depth?

There are several tools available to check tyre depth of a vehicle. The quickest method is to use a tyre depth tread gauge. A tyre depth tread gauge is a handy digital gadget that allows you to measure the tyre depth quickly and efficiently. Tyre depth tread gauges are available to purchase from all good motoring accessories retailers.

How do you change new tyres?

You should have new tyres fitted by a professional at a specialist tyre garage. This way, you have the reassurance that your vehicle has the correct tyres for its model.

Which tyres should I get?

Each vehicle model requires specific tyres dependent on the size of your wheels. A car tyre specialist would be able to tell you the exact size that you require. One decision that you will have to make is identifying whether you require winter tyres or standard tyres. We’ve created a blog on this topic where you can find out more.

We hope you found this article on when to get new tyres and how to check tyre tread depth helpful. AutoProtect has plenty of helpful guides that teach you how to properly look after your vehicle and stay safe on the roads.