Know the tyre law

The legal minimum tread depth for car tyres in the United Kingdom and the European Community is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three quarters of the breadth of tread and round the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

Most car type tyres have tread wear indicators, usually at least six small ribs across the bottom of the main tread grooves, and when the tread surface becomes level with these ribs the tyre is at the legal limit and must be replaced.

One of the features of tyre tread pattern designs is to give good grip in wet conditions. Generally speaking available grip reduces as the tyre wears or as the road surface water depth increases and you should reduce speed in such conditions.

The 1.6mm minimum legal limit applies to:

  • Cars and passenger vehicles with up to 8 seated passengers - not including the driver
  • Motor vehicles and light trailers (including caravans) up to 3500 kg gross vehicle weight

What penalties could I face?

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