How to check how much tread is left on your tyres

How to check how much tread is left on your tyres

When it comes to ensuring your safety on the road, your car’s tyre condition is one of the most important things – especially during the wetter, cooler, sometimes icy winter months when good tyre health matters the most.

Why is tyre tread so important?

Rather than a pretty pattern, tyre tread serves a very important purpose. The grooves in the tyre-face that runs along the road’s surface work to disperse water away from the tyre, allowing it to have greater contact and ‘grip’ onto the road – thus, reducing slide and giving you greater control of the vehicle when stopping, starting, taking corners and aquaplaning across surface water.

As your tyres clock up the kilometres, regardless of the manner in which you drive, the tread wears down until it can no longer perform its job to the level it should. If your driving style is more… ‘erratic’, tyre wear will occur sooner. 

So what is a safe tyre tread depth and how is it checked? 

The legal minimum tyre tread depth in Australia is 1.5mm. But if yours are at that level now, you’re already at the point of needing to have new ones fitted so don’t delay any further. 

It’s your responsibility to ensure your tyres are safe and legal to drive on – not just for your own safety, but for the safety of others too.

How do you measure tyre tread depth?

Wear Indicator Bars:

Tyres have small wear indicator bars in the grooves of the tread for this reason. They are slightly raised cube-like points and once your tread is worn to the point that it’s level with the wear indicators, your tyres are no longer legal or safe to drive on. 

20 Cent Coin:

Another popular way to check tyre tread is by standing a twenty-cent coin in the groove. If the tread doesn’t reach the tip of the platypus’ bill, which is about 3mm, the tyres are unsafe, at best, and it’s time for a new set.

How much tread is on a new tyre and how long should it last?

A new tyre should have around 8mm of tread. How long they last will largely depend on how you drive, how hard you brake, if you rotate them regularly and maintain the recommended tyre pressure.

If you look after them, tyres should last between 50,000 to 100,000 kilometres.

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