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How to Check Tyre Tread with 20p

The simplest way to check the tread of your tyres is to use a 20p piece. In a matter of seconds, you’ll know whether a tyre is safely within the legal limit or whether it will cause MOT failure, in which case your vehicle can’t return to the road until it has a new tyre or tyres.

how to check your tyre tread with 20p illustration

Checking tyre tread depth using 20p

  1. Take a normal 20 pence piece
  2. Insert it into the three main treads that go around each tyre.
  3. If you cannot see the outer band of the 20 pence piece, your tyres are perfectly legal and have many miles left to go until they need replacing.
  4. If you can see the outer band of the coin, replace the affected tyre as soon as possible.

Do my tyres need replacing?

Legally speaking, your tyres must have a minimum of 1.6mm tread in a continuous band around the circumference of the tyre and across three quarters of its width. This is because the tread is designed to disperse water in wet weather to ensure your car doesn’t aquaplane.

What is aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning occurs when there is so much standing water on the road that it overwhelms the tread and creates a layer of water for the tyre to ‘float’ upon. It’s this floating effect that will cause immediate loss of handling and unsafe acceleration. All of this happens because the tyre is no longer in contact with the road.


Here at Tyres Northampton, we are proud to offer superb quality tyres at excellent prices for a wide range of vehicles, from sports cars to 4x4s. We also offer the best tyres-while-you-wait service in the region, with free hot and cold drinks, customer wifi, tv, xbox and child’s play area. On top of that, our qualified technicians can offer additional services such as wheel alignment, brakes and exhausts. If you would like to know more about what we do, please get in touch with us today.

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