What are the legal requirements for your tyres?

Written by Summit Tyres - May 2019


In the UK, it is a legal requirement that your car is fitted with the correct tyres for its model and use. As well as having the correct tyre type and size, there are also laws around tyre tread and tyre health. As one of the most vital components of your vehicle, it is essential your tyres are not damaged or excessively worn to avoid penalty points on your license as well as any nasty accidents.

The law on tyres

The first and foremost requirement to be aware of is that all vehicles using UK roads must be fitted with the absolute correct size and type of tyre. As well as this, it is primordial that your tyres have the correct tyre pressure and minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.

Having lawful tyres does not only keep you safe, but also helps you to avoid a potential fine and points on your licence! If you are caught with tyres that are breaking the law, you could receive a fixed penalty notice, 3 points per tyre on your driving licence or even be fined £2,500 per tyre if they are in particularly poor condition.

Can you check your own tyres?

Yes, you can easily check your tyres before heading out in your car.

Park your car in a safe place while making sure you have proper access to your car tyres. You can use either a 20p coin or a tyre gauge to make sure that your tyre tread is within the limit of 1.6mm. When using a 20p coin, place it within the tyre treads across various points of the tyre. If the outer banner on the coin face can be seen at any one time, this means that the tyre tread is too shallow (and illegal). If you have a tyre gauge to hand, use this in the same way. If the gauge reads at least 1.6mm or over, then your tyres are likely safe to drive.

You may notice that your tyre has tread wear indicators. This means that you can see if your tyres are within the legal tyre tread limit without using a tyre gauge or 20p coin. These small indicators are raised at the bottom of the tyre groove; if the surface of your tyre is level with them, this could mean it is time for new tyres.

Even if your tyres are at the 1.6mm legal limit, it is crucial to understand that your tyre’s efficiency is reduced when the tyre tread is below 3mm. In this case, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and ensure that your tyre pressure is correct, or in fact check if you need new tyres all together.


                                                                           Tyre with tyre treads


How to check tyre pressure

Not only is having the correct tyre pressure a legal requirement, it also helps improve the handling and longevity of your tyres as well as fuel consumption. Therefore, it is crucial your safety to check your tyre pressure.

To find the correct tyre pressure for your car and tyres, you can usually find a sticker on the inside of your car’s door frame. If this is not the case for your car, you may be able to find it in your car manual, fuel cap or online.

To check your tyre pressure at home, you need your own tyre pressure checker. It is a simple process; remove the valve cover and place the gauge over the top of the tyre valve. Once the reading is displayed you will be able to see if it meets your car’s specific requirements. If not, you are able to release air or add air until it reaches the correct tyre pressure.

If you can’t get your hands on a tyre pressure checker, most large petrol stations will have digital air pressure machines with instructions on how to use them.

If you would like to know more about tyre pressure, then you can head over to our extensive tyre pressure guide


Damage, wear and tear

Your tyres are a crucial part of your car. They take you safely from A to B, so making sure they are not damaged or torn is essential to staying safe on the roads. You should regularly give your tyres a check for any peculiar bulges, slits or tears. You may notice that your tyres are worn down in one area; this could mean that your tyres are not balanced properly, meaning they will need re-balancing.

Not only does checking damage keep you safe on the road, it can also save you money in the long run by helping you lower your driving costs. If your tyres meet all of the legal requirements and are checked regularly, this means they are in full working order for the road, helping your car to drive with ease.

You can find out more about your tyres and how to stay safe on the roads at our Help & Advice hub.

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