Monitoring the condition of your tyres is essential for safe driving. If you’ve heard the term ‘bald tyres’ before but not given it much thought, then listen up! Bald tyres are dangerous, illegal and a common reason for MOT failures, so it’s important to understand what this means. Keep reading as we cover what bald tyres are and how to ensure your tyres remain road-safe.

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What is a bald tyre?

A bald tyre is when the tread has either worn down to below the legal minimum or worn away completely. A tyre’s ‘tread’ refers to the grooves along the outer surface which help you maintain grip on the road.

While 1.6mm is the legal minimum tread depth, it’s advisable to replace your tyres sooner as reduced tyre tread can lead to various issues and consequences on the road such as:

  • Reduced traction
  • Increased stopping distances
  • Greater risk of aquaplaning
  • More prone to punctures
  • Penalty points and fines

As a result, it’s essential to check the condition of your tyres regularly. If you’re worried about any aspect of your tyres, head to your local Halfords garage for a free tyre check.

How many penalty points for bald tyres?

Bald tyres can result in 3 penalty points and a £2,500 fine per illegal tyre. So not only is driving with bald tyres extremely dangerous, but it could also result in you losing your driving license and leave you with extortionate fines.

How to check if my tyres are bald?

Tyre tread depth can be tested using several methods including using a tread depth gauge, checking your tread wear indicators or the old fashioned 20p coin test.

Tread depth gauge

A tread depth gauge is a device used to help assess wear on your tyres more accurately than the 20p coin test. With a tread depth gauge, you can more accurately measure the tread depth across the full circumference of the tyre.

Tread wear indicators

Tread wear indicators are small, raised areas at the bottom of the tyre grooves. When the tread has worn down and is level with these raised areas, this means the tread depth is nearing the legal limit.

20p coin test

While not the most accurate method, you can roughly see if your tyre tread depth is low by inserting a 20p coin into the grooves of the tyre. If you can see the outer band of the coin once inserted, your tread depth is low, and your tyres will need replacing.

How to prevent bald tyres

To avoid tyre tread depth from becoming too low, it’s important to check your tyres regularly and to ensure they remain legal and road safe.

Monitor your tyres regularly

It’s recommended that you check your tyre pressure and tread depth every two weeks, especially if you’re planning on travelling long distances. Checking your tyres regularly means that you can quickly resolve any issues and prevent tyres from deteriorating further.

Check your wheel alignment

Uneven wheel alignment (also known as tracking) can cause significant wear on your tyres, which can lead to poor handling and increased fuel consumption. There are a few telltale signs that your wheels are misaligned:

  • Tyre tread reducing rapidly
  • Your steering wheel vibrates
  • Your vehicle pulls to one side
  • Difficulty turning corners

If your wheels are in need of alignment, book in for our wheel alignment service and we’ll get your tyres back on track!

Ensure tyres are correctly inflated

Underinflated tyres can quickly cause increased tyre wear, so it’s essential to regularly check your tyre pressure. You can find the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle by looking in the vehicle handbook, the driver door sill or inside the petrol cap. Use a tyre inflator to ensure the pressure is at the correct level.

Replace your tyres in good time

As soon as you notice any issues with your tyres, get them checked and replaced as soon as possible. Dealing with the issue immediately allows you to stay as safe as possible on the road and avoid the risks outlined above.

At Halfords, we’re never beaten on price on fitted tyres, so you know you’re always getting great value. Shop our tyre range online and find the right tyres for you by entering your registration number. We also offer same day tyre fitting at selected garages to get you back on the road safely and swiftly.

If it’s more convenient, we can come to you thanks to Halfords Mobile Expert. Simply book a slot online, and we can fit your new tyres from work or home.