TYRE SAFETY MONTH 2020! Do you know the laws on tyres?
One of our main jobs here at Hometyre, as you may have guessed, is to supply and fit your tyres!
But the most important part of that job is to make sure we do it correctly and SAFELY!
Tyre Safety Month provides us with the perfect excuse to talk to you about the importance of ensuring your tyres are safe and legal on the UK roads.
Basic Tyre Laws
What is the legal tread depth on car tyres in the UK?
The legal tread depth for a car tyre in the UK is 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the width of the tyre. Once your tyre drops below this, it is considered illegal and you risk a £2,500 fine and 3 points on your licence PER TYRE.
An easy way to check your tread is by using a trusty 20p coin! If you place the coin in the tread grooves and you cannot see the band around the edge of it, your tyres are legal! If you can see the band around the edge of the 20p, your tyres are below the legal limit and need to be changed ASAP.
Another way to tell are the tread wear indicators, these are small raised rubber markings which sit 1.6mm above the base of the tread. Once your tyre's tread depth is down to the legal limit, it will be flush with the indicators.
It is recommended that you change your tyres around 3mm, once tread is lower than 3mm your grip to the road surface worsens and stopping distances increase dramatically. So, keep yourself and other road users safe and change your tyres soon after the tread drops below 3mm!
Other Legal Requirements
Generally, with some exceptions for agricultural vehicles etc., it's against the law to use a tyre that:
- Has a slit/cut larger than 25mm or 10% of the section width of the tyre, which is deep enough to reach the cords.
- Has a lump, bulge or tear anywhere in the tyre
- Is not inflated to suitable pressures for the vehicle
- There is ANY part of the ply or cords exposed
- Has a defect which may damage the road surface (for example, a nail or bolt sticking out of your tyre which comes into contact with the road surface)
Laws on the Age of a Tyre
Strictly speaking, there is no law that says a tyre must be changed due to age. Tyres degrade over time, even if they aren't used very often, one of the main signs of age is cracks appearing in the sidewall or tread grooves.
As soon as tyre leaves the factory, the rubber will begin to age. One of the factors of ageing is the hardening of the rubber itself. This speed of this process will depend on several factors, including exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures and the level of care which is taken by the driver.
The older the rubber, the higher the likeliness of the tyre "giving up", if it is compromised by an object (e.g. a nasty nail!) it is more likely to burst, unlike a new tyre, of which the rubber will be more supple and is more likely to absorb the object rather than burst on impact.
How Often Should I Check My Tyres?
It is important to check your tyres regularly for signs of ageing, general condition and pressures. We would recommend aiming to check your tyres approximately once a month!
Remember, if you're going on a long journey and carrying more weight than usual, tyre pressures will need to be increased as recommended by the manufacturer. You can usually find this information on the inside of the fuel cap.
If you're unsure whether you need to replace your tyres, give us a call! We're here to help you choose the correct tyres for your vehicle and ensure you're safe on the roads, all year round!
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