With forecasters already predicting this year's winter will be as treacherous as the last, motoring experts at Skoda are advising car owners to check their tyres now to ensure they can cope with the changeable weather conditions.
Tyre treads are essential in keeping a vehicle safe and, in order to maintain optimum grip on the roads, many experts, including those from TyreSafe, recommend a minimum tread depth of 3mm.
John Bower, Head of Aftersales at Skoda, explains how drivers can check their tyre tread depth: "As part of the ongoing maintenance of a car, drivers should keep a close eye on their tyre tread depth. A simple way to establish if your tyre is safe or not is to place a twenty pence piece inside the tread. If the tread is deeper than the rim of the coin in various positions around the tyre then it is safe. If however, the tyre is worn more than this, or if it worn more on one side than the other, then go to your retailer or tyre dealership and get them checked and/or changed."
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe explains why it is essential that tyres are regularly checked, especially at this time of year: "You should check your tyres at least once a month for tread depth, as well as correct pressure and any cracks, bulges or uneven wear. At this time of year and as we move into winter, the weather can cause roads to become wet, icy and snowy and these conditions mean that your stopping distances will be increased. Having more tread on your tyres reduces this stopping distance dramatically so we urge everyone to carry out regular checks as the bad weather continues."
Legally a tyre should have a tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the entire circumference. Drivers found to be in breach of these regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
Skoda customers can visit their Skoda retailer for a free tyre check.
How To Take The 20p Tyre Depth Test
1. Tyre tread depth should be checked at least once a month at the same time that you check your tyre pressures.
2. A 20p coin provides a useful alternative to a calibrated tread depth gauge.
3. Insert the 20p coin into the main tyre grooves at several places around the circumference of the tyre and across its width.
4. If the outer band of the 20p coin is visible whenever you insert it into the grooves, your tread depth may be illegal and you should have them checked by a qualified tyre specialist.
5. When checking your tread depth, give the rest of the tyres a visual inspection for any cuts or bulges and remove any stones or objects embedded in the tread.Published 3 December 2010