UK law requires that your vehicle is fitted with the correct type and size of tyres for the vehicle type you are driving and for the purpose it is being used. This means fitting the right tyres, and for safety ensuring that they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure.
The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread going around the complete circumference of the tyre.
For safety reasons it is recommended that you replace your tyres before the legal limit is reached. Leading motoring organisations recommend 2mm and many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing at 3mm. To see the impact on braking distance of different tyre tread depths.
A regular check of your tyres can help you to avoid up to 3 penalty points and £2500 in fines (per tyre) for having tyres worn beyond the legal minimum limit fitted to your vehicle.
It is also a legal requirement to ensure that tyres of different construction types are not fitted to opposite sides of the same axle. The two main tyre types are radial and cross-ply, and these must not be mixed on the same axle.
Mixing brands and patterns of the same construction type is permissible depending on the vehicle type and manufacturers recommendation. Check your vehicles handbook for tyre fitment details and options.
Correct tyre pressure can help to extend the life of your tyre, improve vehicle safety and maintain fuel efficiency. Pressure is measured by calculating the amount of air that has been pumped into the inner lining of your tyre in pounds or bar pressure.
The manufacturer of your vehicle specifies the suitable pressure, and it is your responsibility to make sure that the pressure is checked and corrected on a regular basis, at least every couple of weeks.
There are three main reasons why maintaining the right tyre pressure is important. The first is safety. Tyres that are under inflated can overheat; while over inflated tyres can lead to poor handling on the road.
The second reason is cost-efficiency. Over or under inflated tyres suffer more damage than those with the correct pressure and need to be replaced more regularly. Vehicles with under-inflated tyres also require more fuel to maintain the same speed.
The third reason for maintaining the correct tyre pressure is that it helps to extend the legal life of the tyre, saving you time and money. This is because a tyre with the correct tyre pressure avoids premature or uneven wear.
It's important to check tyre pressure regularly. It's not always apparent that air is being lost, but it generally escapes at the rate of up to two pounds of air every month. More air is usually lost during warm weather, so more regular checks are needed when temperatures rise.
Look for the tyre pressure recommended for your vehicle in your vehicle hand book or within the technical information usually found on the inside of your vehicle's front right hand door or fuel filler flap.
Always check the tyre pressure with a tyre pressure gauge when your tyres are cold. Finally, if you are using your vehicle to carry additional load or weight, always consult your vehicle handbook for the correct loaded tyre pressure.