Here in the UK, and in many other countries, the law clearly specifies that all vehicles are fitted with the proper tyre tread size. This is because tyre treads are a huge determinant on just how safe your car is while on the road. The standard limit specified in the law is at 1.6 millimeters. You are required to change or replace the tyres before they reach this limit; for your own safety. When buying a new tyre, the tread can measure up to 8mm. as you use the car and the tyre gets worn out, this number reduces drastically. The rate at which the tread gets worn out is determined by other things;
Terrain, Bad Driving & Load!
- The terrain or surface; driving in off-road conditions like on rocks and rough surfaces tend to hasten the wearing out of tyre treads. Which means that if you usually drive in such conditions often, then your tread will get worn out faster than one driving on ordinary conditions.
- Bad driving habits; some driving habits like instant braking also tend to hasten the wearing out of the treads. This is especially so if the surface is rough and tarmac like. You’re thus advised to always brake gently, rather than abruptly.
- Load or cargo on vehicles; trucks and other large vehicles that carry heavy loads over long distances lose their tread faster. This is because all that weight exerts much pressure and strain to the tyres, leading to more friction and ultimately, the wearing out of these tyres.
Having said the above, it is worth clarifying that 1.6mm is merely the minimum standard; you don’t have to wait until you reach these levels before replacing the tyre. Major motoring organisations recommend that you change the tyres when they reach 2mm. Still, tyre manufacturers recommend that you replace the tyre when it reaches 3mm. Thus clearly, there’s no definite or agreed upon level that. Researchers have tested cars driving at 50Mp, one with treads at 1.6mm and the other 3mm. They found out that the former took 8 more meters before stopping, compared to the latter. This is because worn out treads mean less traction, which makes it harder for the car to brake effectively.
Failure to observe the minimum standard of 1.6mm for tyre treads will see you hit with a £2,500 fine. To stay safe, always conduct regular checks on the tyres, seek the services of a professional car tyre maintenance center to help you know when the tyres need replacement.