Tyres can seem like a needlessly complicated part of your car. Compared to the engine, for example, or all the advanced technology you may have in your dashboard, tyres are essentially circular sections of rubber strapped to the bottom.
Of course, that’s far from the truth.
Tyres are actually rather complicated components that are the result of billions worth of research and development. Put the wrong kind of tyre on your car and you’ll be grateful they’re as complicated as they are. However, what many people might not know, is they’re actually further complicated by UK regulations.
Before you spend money on a new set of tyres, be sure to read the below guide. If you neglect to follow regulations, you’ll risk penalty points, a fine and still need to buy new ones.
Size and Type
The law is very clear that your car needs to operate on the size and type of tyre it’s meant for. This also means taking into consideration the purpose you are using your car for. If you’re only using your tyre for simple transportation (this would be the majority of you), chances are you will automatically be using the right tyre.
Unless you need a certain one for your job or hobby, the tyre you get fitted with at the shop will suffice. For this reason, most people will also have the right size as well. A car trying to run on a tyre that’s not the right size won’t last long.
U.K. law mandates that the depth of your tyre cannot be any less than 1.6 millimetres all the way around its perimeter. This is measured across the tyre’s central tread. The reason for this law is to prevent drivers from operating on worn tyres.
Treads that have become sufficiently worn make handling much more difficult. If it rains or snows, creating wet, slippery conditions, treads become necessary to drive a car safely. Keeping tyres that lack proper treads (or even selling them off to someone else) is a cost saving measure that can cost people their lives.
Of course, you can always replace your tyres in advance. The legal limit is quite low and a tyre with that kind of tread will suffer from poor braking distances. Generally, experts recommend a tyre to be changed out after it’s reached three millimeters.
If you are concerned about your tyres depth, the simplest thing to do is see a mechanic and have them check for you. Of course, recognize that the mechanic has a financial interest in you needing new tyres.
Mixing and Matching
While you can mix brands and even construction types of tyres on your car, there are legal mandates. Different construction types (radial and cross-ply) cannot share the same axle.
Tyres can seem complicated enough as they are without laws dictating minutia like the tread length. Nonetheless, tyres are too important to not be treated with as much caution as possible. If nothing else, you should keep an eye on your tyres in order to avoid problems with the law.