Is your ‘legal’ tyre as safe as you think it is?

by chris sanders on 23rd May 2011

Do you know your tread depths?

Have you ever had a service and been told that your tyre tread is legal but will need replacing soon? Then put off purchasing those new tyres in an attempt to save money? Well if you have answered yes to this question we are sure you are not alone! However, perhaps you’re not fully aware of the danger you are putting yourself and other road users in.

EU law states that a tyre is legal and only needs changing once the tread reaches 1.6mm in depth. So, understandably, the majority of drivers don’t worry about changing their tyres until they reach that point. Unfortunately, they could be at risk of an accident, without even realising it.

An investigation carried out by Auto Express highlighted the danger of not replacing tyres until they reached 1.6mm. It found that braking performance – in particular on wet roads – was shockingly bad. The test involved performing an emergency stop at 70mph on a wet road. The results were shocking and highlighted that a car can take 44 metres (that’s 10 car lengths) or more to stop whilst braking in wet conditions at the legal tread limit. The overall recommendation was to increase the legal tread limit to 3mm.

In light of this research, it’s no surprise that many motorway road accidents are caused by skidding. So that begs the question, why is 1.6mm still a legal tyre tread depth? The law was set back in the early 90s when car tyres were not as wide, meaning they were less likely to aquaplane. However, as car designs have changed, tyre width has increased, but the law hasn’t.

If you want to find out more about the Auto Express investigation in tread depth then click on the link below.

You can also view the advice from our partner, TyreSafe for their view point on tread depths here.

We hope this gives you some food for thought and encourages more people to change their tyres before the majority of performance is lost. In our opinion, whilst having to replace your tyres more regularly will cost money, if it could save lives, it’s worth every penny.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Peter Norman January 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I have fitted your Vredestein tyres to my new 3 series coupe also fitted on my old 330d. coupe. The ride and handling is just superb. This has also been remarked upon by Elms BMW. The tyres are not runflats so I keep a pump and sealer in the boot just in case. Lets just say a very satisfied customer.


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