Tyres: Drivers urged to check tread depth this Easter or risk £10,000 fine and points


Motorists risk fines of £2,500 and three penalty points on their licence per tyre if they are not at the legal tyre tread depth limit. The legal tread depth for tyres in the UK is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre, three quarters of the tread and around the entire circumference of the tyre.

If a car’s tyres are even slightly underinflated, their rolling distance is increased, meaning the vehicle will need about 1.5 percent more fuel to keep it moving.

At the right pressure, tyres will wear more evenly as the car drives, handling is more predictable and there’s less chance of damage to the tyre, which can be both inconvenient and dangerous.

Continental Tyre Group urges drivers to take the pressure reading when their tyres are cold, so when the car has been stationary for at least three hours.

Pete Robb, Marketing Director at Continental Tyre Group, commented: “As with all things in life, it’s important to expect the unexpected when travelling. 

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Drivers also need to be aware of any cuts, bulges or tears within the tyre tread.

If the cut in the tyre covers more than 25mm or over 10 percent of the section width of the wheels, the tyres are then deemed as unsafe, illegal and they could be fined.

When planning a road trip or staycation, it can be tempting to load up the boot with lots and lots of luggage.

The trouble is, overloading a vehicle can shorten the life of the tyres and result in tyre damage, which can potentially lead to tyre failure.

For every 90 kg of extra weight, fuel economy is reduced by approximately 0.25 miles per litre, with drivers being urged to check the owner’s documentation for the car’s maximum load capacity before they set off.

Mr Robb added: “Tyres are the only thing keeping a vehicle in contact with the road and require regular checks, care and attention.

“With domestic travel this Easter forecast to reach pre-pandemic levels, this might be the first long journey some drivers have made for a while.

“And many will be doing it with a fully packed car.

“Our advice to anyone who’s in doubt about their tyres’ roadworthiness is to have them inspected by a professional tyre technician. 

“If it becomes necessary to replace one (or more) of your tyres, make sure the new tyre is the same size, type and speed rating that came on the vehicle as original equipment.

“These details can be found on the sidewall of your current tyre or in the owner’s handbook.”

Tyres can incur damage for a variety of reasons, and it can often happen without the driver being immediately aware there’s a problem.

The most common types of damage are punctures, cuts, impacts, cracks, bulges and irregular wear. 

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