Keeping an eye on your tyres

Tuesday 12 June, 2012

When you see ads from large tyre companies on the TV you can be forgiven for thinking that their encouragement to change your tyres regularly is simple marketing to increase their profits. In this case you would be wrong – they really are trying to keep you safe!

Whether you have a high powered supercar or a little city runaround, the one thing that is common to all vehicles is that the only contact the car has with the road is the small patch of rubber at each corner called the tyre.  This makes the tyre a very important part of the car – possibly more important than you would have thought.

  • For a very quick check have a look at your “tyre wear indicators”. If the tyre is worn level with these indicators the tyre needs to be replaced immediately.
  • You can check your own tyres using a tyre depth gauge, they only cost a few pounds and will give you an accurate reading.
  • Read the level from the gauge. A new tyre is normally 8mm a worn out tyre is 1.6mm but it is recommended that tyres are replaced at 3 mm. This reading is showing a tyre tread depth of 7mm

The grooves in a tyre help channel water away and are vital for wet weather performance, affecting the car’s ability to move around corners and to brake safely. The legal minimum tread depth (the depth of these grooves) in the UK is 1.6mm across three quarters of the tyre’s width.

It’s worth noting that the grip available with such little tread left is seriously reduced. A tyre with 1.6mm can take nearly 50% further in distance to stop a car in the wet compared to a new tyre with 8mm of tread depth.

Most European manufacturers recommend that you change your tyres when they are worn down to 3mm.

If the potential hazards to your safety are not enough to convince you to check your tyres, perhaps the law will be! Driving with tyres below the 1.6mm limit is not only an MOT failure but is also illegal. It will cost you a fine and three points on your licence per illegal tyre.  So if all your tyres are illegal that’s ‘game over’ for your driving licence.

If you are still unsure how to check your tyres then pop in and see us and we will carry out a Free tyre tread depth analysis for you.  We also check the tyre tread depths as part of every service and repair carried out at Russell Automotive Centre.  Your safely is always in our thoughts.


Book in your Audi, VW, Bentley, SEAT or Skoda using our form or call our team on 0208 2000 995.

Fleet Manager, Fleet Van Servicing Centre North London.

Whilst travelling to you you ordered the part, and an hour after my initial call my van was on the lift and a new starter-motor was being fitted. An hour later I was on my way back to work. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Not only did you go out of your way to keep us working, you did it at a very sensible price.


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