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Tyre Tread

What is Tyre Tread?

Tyre tread is the part of the tyre that is in contact with the road. Tyres are constructed from rubber and are moulded with grooves and tread patterns to provide effective grip, handling and resistance against aquaplaning.

A tyre begins its life with 8mm of tread but over time this will naturally wear down due to general use. When tread reduces, so does the tyre’s gripping capabilities and wet weather performance.


What are the Legal Tread Limits?

It is a legal requirement to have your tyres replaced when tread reaches 1.6mm. Failure to comply with the minimum tread depth limit can result in a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per each illegal tyre. Tyres with tread below 1.6mm will also cause your vehicle to fail an MOT test. In addition, if you are involved in an accident and your tyre tread is below the legal limit, your car insurance may be invalid.

As tyre tread affects your safety on the road, especially in wet conditions, PTA Garage Services would recommend replacing your tyres once tread drops below 3mm.


How Can I Check my Tyre Tread?

You can check your tyre tread depth easily at home by performing the 20p test. Place a 20p coin in three different places in the grooves in your tyre. Check to see if you can see the outer band of the coin above the tread on the tyre at any point. This band measures 3mm and if you can see the part sitting inside the tread then your tyres may be illegal.

For a more accurate reading, you could also invest in a tyre tread gauge to check your tread to the closest millimetre.

Tyre Tread


Contact your local PTA Garage Services if you require further guidance on tyre tread or to have your tyres inspected by one of our specialists.

Alternatively, you can buy new tyres online from PTA Garage Services and arrange fitting at your local branch.

For advice on motorbike tyre tread depth take a look at our guide to motorbike tyre safety.

In addition to monitoring your tyre tread depth, you should regularly check your tyre pressures and watch out for any forms of tyre damage.