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Checking Tyre Tread

By raccars Published

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The tread on your tyres is there to keep you safe on the road. When you brake, the water on the road's surface is displaced through your tyres' tread pattern, so that you don't aquaplane. To maintain a sufficient amount of traction and responsiveness in steering, your tyre tread pattern needs to be deep enough all round. Tyres without an adequate tread depth are known as bald and can be very hazardous on the road, causing skidding upon braking and, potentially, serious accidents.

Driving with bald tyres is not only dangerous but also illegal, so make a point of checking your tyre tread depth at regular intervals, to stay on the right side of the law.

You can buy tread gauges for an easy way to check your tyres, but it's not difficult to perform a simple visual inspection. Whether you are using a tread gauge or checking your tyres manually, make sure you do so in good lighting - it's not a job to be done at night! You'll need plenty of space around the car, so don't bother to do it in a car park or when crowded between other vehicles.

As well as space either side, you'll need some space in front of and behind the car, as you will have to move it back and forth to be able to see the whole circumference of the tyres. You must move the tyres so you don't leave out the portion of rubber that's hidden by being in contact with the ground.

You can use a 20p piece to check your tread depth. Turn the coin on end and fit it into the grooves of the tyres. A 20p coin has a border around the outside. If the width of the border is hidden within the depth of the tread, your tyres are fine and legal. If you can see some of the border visible over the edge of the tyre groove, your tread depth is too low and the tyre will need to be replaced.

Use the 20p coin to repeat the process at a number of different spots both around and across the tyres so you cover the whole width and circumference of the tyre. Move the car slightly forward or back so you can check the portion of rubber hidden on the road.

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