Tyre treads and why they are important

Posted on October 17, 2018

New tyres tend to have a tread depth of around 8mm, but the rubber gradually wears down as the miles add up.

However, drivers often don’t realise the importance of tread depth and ensuring that it is maintained.

If you let the tread depth get below 1.6mm, you risk a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points on your licence per tyre.

There’s a good reason why the law prevents you from running your tread down too far and that’s because of the essential role tyre tread plays in helping your car to grip the road.

If the tread depth is too low, your tyres will not be able to remove enough water from the road’s surface to ensure that grip is maintained – and you will be at a much higher risk of aquaplaning.

This happens when a layer of water builds up between your tyres and the road, causing a lack of traction which prevents you from braking, steering or accelerating.

The grooving of the tread is designed to enable tyres to cut into surface water and contact the road beneath. However, as your tyres wear down, their ability to resist aquaplaning declines.

It’s important to check your tread depth regularly, and if you discover that your tyres have a tread depth of below 1.6mm, you’ll need to change them immediately.

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