With clear laws about tread depth and tyre damage (see below for the latter), it’s important to emphasise that these limits represent the extremes of wear and that you should consider changing well before wear and damage become an issue.
Changing tyres has traditionally been part of routine maintenance for two reasons:
- You may want to change to a seasonal set to improve performance in dry or cold weather
- In the past, manufacturers recommended that tyres be rotated around periodically to spread wear
The former reason applies less to UK motorists because of the nature of our weather. The latter is now disputed: instead of promoting even wear, some suggest that you should put your worst tread on the front of the car and that it’s best to buy new rears rather than swapping partially worn front tyres to the back.
Common types of tyre damage
Simple 'end of life' wear is not the only reason for changing a tyre. Here are some common examples of causes and consequences that will force you to change: