It’s all too easy to become complacent about the safety of your car, but the tread depth of your tyres is not something you want to ignore. Driving in the wet, your tyres may have to disperse up to 9 litres of water a second when travelling at 100km/h. Their ability to do this comes down to their tread; too worn, and the water becomes sandwiched between the rubber and the road, and that’s when all grip disappears.

Fortunately, checking tread depth on your tyres is a simple process.

First, some numbers.

  • New tyres typically have 8-10mm tread depth
  • Bald tyres have 0mm tread depth
  • Tyre manufacturers recommended that you replace tyres that have worn to 3mm because below that, the performance is compromised, especially in wet conditions
  • Once your tyres wear to 1.6mm tread depth, they are unroadworthy

There are two methods for checking tyre tread depth.

  1. All tyres come with what is called treadwear indicator bars. They are raised bumps of rubber located in the tread grooves of your tyres. When these bars are flush with the walls of the tread, it means your tread is at a depth of 1.6mm, and the tyre needs replacing. The drawback of indicator bars is that there is no accurate way of measuring how much tread is left if the bars are still sitting below the tread walls.
  2. The best way of measuring tread depth is with a treadwear gauge. This simple and handy tool measures the tread depth of your tyres in millimetres, so you know how much tread remains and, therefore, how much life your tyres have.

It’s important to know the depth of your tyre tread, not only for safety reasons. People often receive reports from their mechanics saying that their tyres desperately need replacing, even when adequate tread remains! This is why you should always ask what the tread depth is, so you can make an informed decision and replace your tyres when needed, and not when they are still viable.

Remember, here at Eastern Tyre centre, we will measure your tyre’s tread depth for free. So pop in anytime and we’ll make sure you’re safe on the road.

Hi, my name is Joe and I own Eastern Tyre Centre.

One questions I’m always asked is “when do I replace my tyres?”

Well, it’s quite simple, the amount of tread left on the tyre cannot go below 1.6mm because that’s the legal roadworthy limit.

To give you an idea, when a passenger tyre is new, the tread is around about 8-10mm thick.

Obviously if the tyre is bald then it’s 0mm. However, most tyre manufacturers will recommend to replace the tyres once they’ve worn down to 3mm because below 3mm the performance of the tyre is compromised, especially in wet weather.

Also, if the tyre is worn more on one side and that side is below the 1.6mm mark, regardless if the other side of the tyre has plenty of tread on it, then unfortunately it’s unroadworthy and will need replacing.

So how do I measure the tread?

There are two ways. One is using a treadwear indicator like this one here. This gauge is the best because it accurately tells you the wear in millimetres.

The second way is looking at the treadwear indicator on the tyre. Which is here. This indicator, or raised bump in the tread, is the 1.6mm legal limit. So when the tread is flush with this bump then it’s worn out.

The only problem with this method is you cannot accurately tell how much tread is above that indicator.

Disturbingly, many customers become worried when their mechanic tells them that they are desperately in need of tyres. You need to ask them what the exact measurement is, that way you can make an informed decision.

We recently had a customer come in and their mechanic told them that they desperately needed new tyres but when we measured them, the tread was 3.2mm so they actually had another 6 months left.

Needless to say that customer was happy to postpone a rather big expense.

If you would like to know the condition of your tyres we have a free tyre inspection service every day here at Eastern Tyre Centre. Drop by anytime and we’ll check the tread accurately for you. So now you know when you need to replace your tyres.

I hope this information has been helpful. Thanks for watching.