Tyre changingAre you checking the tread on your car’s tyres every month? Missing it could cost you up to £10,000 and 12 penalty points.

CAR OWNERS are being urged to check the depth of the tread on their tyres to avoid unsafe driving, as well as up to a £10,000 fine and 12 penalty points.

Driving with a bald or under-depth tyre is punishable by a maximum of £2,500 and three licence points per tyre.

The law states that cars, light vans and trailers must have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tyre and around the entire circumference.

Motorcycles and large vehicles have a minimum depth requirement of 1mm, with mopeds just needing to show a visible tread.

Road safety and breakdown firm GEM Motoring Assist is now urging drivers to ensure tread depths are checked at least once a month in light of October’s Tyre Safety Month campaign.

This is in addition to testing all tyres are correctly inflated as per your car manufacturer’s instructions.

Worn or under-inflated tyres reduces a vehicle’s ability to grip onto the road, in addition to compromising handling. This puts tyres more at risk of blowing out.

You also need to be careful not to over inflate tyres, as it will increase stopping distances and reduce grip.

pThis is because the tyres have less surface contact with the road, which in turn will cause more wear on the central part of the tyre – meaning they have to be replaced sooner than expected.

Beyond a monthly check of tyre tread and pressure, it’s also recommended to test both before a long journey.

You can easily check whether a tyre has enough tread by using the 20-pence test.

If the rim or border of the 20p is not visible when inserted into the groove of a tyre, it is within the legal depth limit.

Around 1.4million Brits are driving with at least one tyre that is classified as illegal, according to a recent study by the Confused.com site.

Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, said: “We rely on our tyres to keep us safe on journeys. After all, they provide the only contact between the car we’re driving and the road surface.

“In an extreme situation, correctly inflated tyres with good levels of tread will allow all the other safety systems on a car to work at their most effective.

“Inadequate tread or incorrect pressure mean one thing: the safety systems on your vehicle will not work as efficiently. That’s why regular checks on tyre inflation and tread depth are so important.”

Simple checks to keep your tyres safe

Tread depth: The legal limit for minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the full circumference. Take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit. If you can see the band and that section of the coin is still visible, your tyres could be unsafe and require professional inspection.

All tyres also have tyre tread wear indicators. If the tyre is flush with these, it’s below the legal limit.

A tyre tread depth gauge will quickly measure the depth of an individual groove.

Tyre pressures: Tyres that are under inflated can overheat while over inflated tyres can lead to poor vehicle handling on the road. The correct tyre pressures for your car can be found in the vehicle handbook. Use a pressure gauge to find out what your tyres are inflated to.

External damage: Visually look for cuts, lumps and bumps that could’ve been caused by a kerb, pothole or object in the road. This damage can result in unexpected tyre failure so keep a regular look out.

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