Tyre Tread

Everything about the tread depth of the car tyre. 

The tyres on a vehicle make the only connection to the road.  

Your car can be so equipped with the best safety equipment, but if the tyres lose their grip, you are a safety hazard in traffic and endanger yourself and other road users. 

Proper tyre tread depth is important 

For the functioning of all tyres, the tread depth and their age are decisive. The grooves and lamellae must do their job on the tread of the tyres. However, they can only do this if they have the sufficient tyre tread depth and thus maintain contact with the road. 

What is the legal minimum profile depth? 

For both winter tyres and summer tyres, a minimum tyre tread depth of 1.6 mm is required by law. Traffic experts, however, and also monitoring organisations strongly object as such a low profile is not safe. These organisations, therefore, recommend a tread depth of at least 3 mm for summer tyres and at least 4 mm for winter tyres. 

Let us explain why sufficient tread depth is so important and why experts recommend at least 3 mm profile at summer... 

Recommended minimum tread depth for summer tyres 

The recommended minimum profile has its reasons. The main reason for the 3 mm in summer tyres is the risk of aquaplaning, which can occur again and again in the warmer months due to heavy rain and a dryness sealed roadway.  

Attention: Aquaplaning must not be confused with a slippery roadway, which we also know as pedestrians or cyclists. 

Aquaplaning is created through a film of water, between the tyres and the road. As a result, the vehicle loses contact with the road, and it is no longer controllable. 

With a minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm, the tread can no longer carry away enough water to get rid of this dangerous film of water. The vehicle then goes "swimming", the driver has no control over it. At a minimum tread depth of 3 mm, the risk of aquaplaning is significantly reduced. 

Our tip: The air pressure and the width of the tyre are also important factors. The narrower and the more air (check your vehicle handbook) the tyre has, the lower the risk of losing control of the vehicle. 

Recommended minimum tread depth for winter tyres 

The main reason for the recommended minimum tread depth of 4 mm for winter tyres is that the lamellas are no longer completely present at a lower tread depth. These slats are important for the interlocking with the road and to increase the grip edges of winter tyres. 

A lower recommended minimum tread depth, however, can also change the bearing surface and thus the composition of the rubber compound of the winter tyre. Winter tyres have a softer mixture of the tread compound and a harder mixture below. This is the only way to achieve the required driving stability.  

How do I measure the tread depth of my car tyres? 

Our number one advice is - come to see us. 

We will measure the tread depth of your tyres, accurately, within a few seconds - and free of charge. 

You can also measure the tread with a small measuring device available at vehicle accessories shops or use a £1 coin. 

If the golden rim of the coin disappears in the centre of the tyre tread, the tyre still has enough profile. Most tyres also have wear indicators in the middle of the tread. If these appear, the legal minimum tread depth has been reached. 

Not only the tread depth but also the tyre pressure plays a very important role for the functionality, performance and safety of the tyres. This should be checked regularly as well. 

The profile also important during storage and installation 

In order to maintain traffic safety and also to extend the service life, the correct storage when not in use must be considered. But before changing tyres (like from summer- to winter tyres) you should always check the tread depths of the tyres, because this is the only time you can fully inspect the tyre. 

It is also important that you always install the tyres in the direction of travel. Tires have an arrow-shaped profile, which always has to be mounted facing forwards so that a safe and fuel-saving driving is possible. 

Your safety is our priority! 

Here on our Preston Tyre Bay website, you will find more information on various topics related to your safety in the car. 

If you need new tyres, please also have a look at our website. We always have a huge selection of tyres available for every season, every size and every budget. 

Any questions? Please get in touch. You can find our contact details on our homepage. 

See you soon. 

Your Preston Tyre Bay team