Every year, dangerous tyres lead to around 5,000 convictions, 900 casualties, and 160 deaths or serious injuries.

Do you know the risks
of worn tyres?

  • Alert icon
    Illegal tyres can invalidate your car insurance in an accident
  • Alert icon
    You could pick up 3 points and a fine of up to £2,500 per illegal tyre
  • Alert icon
    You're more likely to cause an accident

We've put everything you need to know about safe tyres in this one handy hub, with plenty of tips and advice from our expert technicians.

Worn tyres

Benefits of driving with
safe tyres

  • Keeping your
    car insured

    Illegal tyres mean your car isn't 'road worthy' since they'd cause an MOT fail. If your car isn't road worthy at the time of an accident, your cover is void.

    Keeping your insurance valid
  • Avoid a fine
    and points
    on your license

    You're risking 3 points and a £2,500 fine per illegal tyre.

    Avoid points on licence
  • Prevent an accident

    The less tread your tyres have, the harder it is to stop in time.

    Avoid accidents
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Did you know?

  • Around 1 in 4 vehicles have an illegal tyre on our roads (that's 6.1 million tyres)

  • Tyre problems cause over 2 million MOT failures every year

  • 159 people are killed or seriously injured every year because of defective tyres

  • Over half of UK tyres are only changed when they're illegal or borderline

Worn Tyres

Every year, dangerous tyres lead to around 5,000 convictions, 900 casualties, and 160 deaths or serious injuries.

Worn tyres

Stopping distance on a wet road from 50mph to 0mph

  • Alert icon
    Your car insurance will be invalid if your tyres are illegal.
  • Alert icon
    You could face fines up to £2,500 and 3 points on your licence per illegal tyre.
  • Alert icon
    You could cause an accident and injure others with dangerous tyres.

Your car insurance could be invalid if your tyres are worn beyond the legal limit.

Plus, you face fines of up to £2,500 and 3 points on your licence per illegal tyre.

Stopping distances based on independent tests carried out by Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA). Car lengths based on average of 4 meters.

Tyre Safety logo

What are the signs of damaged tyres?

Low tread depth

The legal tread limit is 1.6mm, but we suggest swapping out your tyres when the tread dips below 3mm. That way, you'll maintain better grip on the road.

Cracks in the sidewall

Cracks might pop up as the rubber deteriorates over time, especially with exposure to the sun.

Air loss

Having to top up more often than normal? Your tyres might be damaged or have a slow puncture.

More vibration than normal

Feeling strong vibrations through the steering wheel could mean your tyres have internal damage.


Your tyres will age like any other component and should be changed every five years or so, even if you don't see any obvious damage.


Swelling or strange shape changes in the sidewall can cause a blowout while you're driving.

Helpful guides for driving with safe tyres

Tyre FAQs

Illegal tyres – that's a tyre with a depth below 1.6mm – create a lot of risks. Not only is it extremely dangerous, but you could even end up losing your license. You could get 3 points and a £2,500 fine per illegal tyre, and if you're in an accident, you could even invalidate your insurance.

1.6mm. However, it's generally recommended that you change your tyres once they drop below 3mm.

Independent research by the Motoring Industry Research Association (MIRA) has shown that tyres with 3mm of tread have an average 25% better performance than those at 1.6mm. That's an extra 8 metres of stopping distance in wet conditions.

You should check both your tyre pressure and tread depth every few weeks to make sure you're road ready. Keeping your tyre pressure topped up and your tread intact can have a big impact:

  • Stay on the right side of the law – driving with dangerously under-inflated or worn tyres is illegal and can land you a hefty fine.
  • Stay safe – dangerous tyres can make your steering unpredictable, increase your braking distances and cause aquaplaning.
  • Safe saving - tyres with the wrong pressure and worn tread will cause you to use more fuel.

Check out our guides on how to check and inflate car tyres and tread depth and safety.

It depends on your car - you’ll find the right pressure in your owner's manual or printed on the sill inside the driver's door.

Measuring at home? Park on a flat surface and make sure your tyres are cold for a more accurate reading.

Don't stress, you can book a FREE tyre check at your local National garage.

We'll give your tyres a thorough inspection to make sure you'll be safe on the road. It includes a tyre pressure, tread depth, and visual check, to make sure there's no unusual lumps or damage. If we do spot something, we'll talk you through your options.

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