It would be a wonderful thing to purchase a perfect set of vehicle tyres, have them fitted, and never have to touch them again. Think of it: no seasonal swaps, no punctures, nor – best of all – needing to purchase new tyres every 25,000 to 30,000 miles or so! The cost savings, the time saved, and the freedom from ever having to gauge your tyre tread or think about your tyres again would be marvelous. 

However, regardless of how brilliant a product like that might be, those tyres don’t exist yet.

So, in the meantime we must maintain, repair, swap out, and periodically replace our tyres. But how can you know when your vehicle’s tyres are getting close to their replacement time?

Do you know how to gauge your tyre tread?

Gauging the State of Your Car Tyres

To be fair, there are a few considerations when it comes to judging the life left on a car tyre. 

For example, age is important. In other words, while a given set of tyres may be rated for an expected lifespan of, say, 25,000 miles they also have a certain “shelf life” as well. 

What this means in simple terms is that, regardless of how few miles are actually run on a tyre, the components, and materials it is made of will begin to break down and become dangerously prone to defects.

As one American source points out,

“As a tire ages, small cracks in the rubber begin to develop over time, appearing on the surface and inside the tire. This cracking can eventually cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tire.”

Another key factor in determining the useful life of your care tyres is inflation. According to tyre maker Continental,

“Tyres wear out faster if they’re under inflated, and they wear irregularly if they’re overinflated – so in both cases you’ll need to buy new tyres more often. Proper care stabilises the tyre structure and can extend the average life of a tyre by a staggering 4,660 miles or 7,500 km.”

How one drives and maintains – or fails to maintain – their car tyres can also negatively impact the actual life of the tyres.

Examples include:

  • Failing to rotate your tyres and having alignments done
  • Regularly carrying heavy loads
  • Driving too fast on rough or uneven surfaces

But let’s assume that you are a conscientious car owner and a cautious driver. There is still a great way to gauge how soon you’ll need to replace your well maintained tyres.

Measuring Tyre Tread and Why It Matters

Tyre tread – the raised segments of the tyre’s rolling surface – is the primary means of providing grip. Insufficient tread depth can result in a myriad of issues from lack of control to tyre walls breaking down. 

Tread also serves to disperse water out and away from the tyre’s gripping surface when driving in the rain. The gaps, or grooves, in rolling surface of a tyre channels the water from where the tyre and road meet, providing better contact with the road surface.

Wet roads or dry, tyre tread is an essential component of what makes tyres work as they should. 

So, how far can a car tyre’s tread wear down before it’s time to replace them? In the UK as in many other nations, there is a legal limit required. A minimum tread depth for cars in the UK is “1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of breadth of the tread and around its entire outer circumference.”

Which is why it is good to know how to gauge your tyre tread.

Here a few quick and easy ways to determine your tyre’s tread depth yourself:

  1. Fortunately for car owners, the border around the outside edge of a 20 pence piece is approximately 1.6mm. This means you can simply slip a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If you can’t see the outer border when it’s inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. If you can see the outer border of the coin, then the tyre is either approaching the legal minimum tread depth or is already beyond it and needs to be  replaced. 
  1. Most modern tyres are made with what are known as tread wear indicators. These are raised ridges moulded into the tread grooves at intervals around the tyre. If the tyre tread is flush with the indicators, then your tread is already below the minimum legal limit.
  1. Of course, using a tool specifically designed for this task is always a good idea. Tread depth gauges are purpose made to quickly measure the depth of a tyre groove. These tools are easy to use, are produced in a variety of types, and only cost a few pounds. Simply place the gauge over a groove in your tyre and push the centre down between the treads.

By the way, it’s important to remember that drivers who fail to comply with the minimum tyre tread depth requirements risk being fined up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.

Expert Tyres – Your Mobile Source for Professional Tyre Services

Whether you need new tyres, a tyre puncture repaired, want to know how to gauge your tyre tread, or simply need to have us take care of your seasonal tyre swap, just ring Expert Tyres. And, since we specialise in convenience, you can choose your new tyres and schedule a day and time for the fitting right on our website.

When so many of us are busier than ever, it’s good to know that you don’t have to drive to a garage or tyre shop. Instead, you can have Expert Tyres come to you at your convenience.

Expert Tyres serves the surrounding Sheffield region including Rotherham and Chesterfield areas. You can have all your tyre services carried out by our mobile Expert Tyre specialists and we regularly check our prices against our competitors.

Our expert tyre services include regular seasonal tyre swaps, mobile new tyre installation, and our convenient mobile tyre puncture repair service. And because we are a mobile tyre service, we’re able to meet you where you are – whether that’s at your home or your place of work.

Our mission is to always provide our customers with the best quality tyre service at the best price.

Expert Tyres – Your Tyres at Your Convenience!

How To Gauge Your Tyre Tread And Why It Matters