Tyre Safety Month 2021

This October is Tyre Safety Month and we are highlighting the importance of vehicle safety. Those winter nights are drawing in and we want to make sure you stay safe on the road. We will always encourage drivers to check their tyres regularly and are here to help when they need replacing.

As part of any service or repair work carried out here at Birchwood, you will also receive a complimentary visual health check which looks at the overall health of your tyres, as well as other wearing parts on the vehicle. Whilst we carry out these checks, it is also extremely important to check your own tyres on a regular basis. We have put together a few essential tips below, to help you feel confident with knowing what to look out for.

Why are tyres so important?

Tyres are the only parts of the car which are in contact with the road. Acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact. It is therefore of paramount importance that tyres should be maintained in good condition at all times and that when the time comes to change them, the correct replacements are fitted.

It is important to check your tyres on a monthly basis, as well as before setting off on any long journey. The three main things to check include the tyre pressure, depth and overall condition. Find out more below on quick, easy ways to check the health of your tyres.


To stay safe on the road your car needs to have the correct tyre pressure. If the tyres are under or over inflated then handling and grip will worsen, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable car behaviour. Tyres with not enough air are also more likely to suffer from a sudden rapid deflation and will suffer heavier wear on the outside edges of the tyre. The wheel rim and tyre will be more susceptible to impact damage due to it being closer to the ground. Over-inflation results in a less comfortable ride, a reduced area of contact with the road giving less grip in the day and accelerated wear on the middle of the tyre. The benefits of a properly inflated tyre, include reduced running costs and longer tyre life. To find the correct pressure for your tyres, consult the owners handbook, as well as the drivers door sill or fuel filler cap.


Tyre treads are designed to give good grip on wet roads but this grip will decrease as the tyre wears or the depth of the water increases. Drivers should take this into consideration and reduce their speed accordingly in wet conditions. The legal minimum tread depth for cars in the UK is 1.6mm throughout the entirety of the tyres tread. Without adequate tread depth your tyres may not be able to perform properly in wet conditions, reducing your safety on the road. It is therefore advisable to consider replacing your tyres well before they reach the legal minimum. Furthermore, drivers whose tyres fail to comply with the minimum tread depth requirements risk a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.

A quick and easy way to see if your tyre tread exceed the minimum legal tread depth is to take the 20p test.

Simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. If the outer band of the coin is visible, then your tyres may be illegal and unsafe and should be checked immediately by a qualified tyre professional.

When taking the test, remember to check at least three locations around each tyre. As the test is so quick and easy, stay safe by checking your tyres at least once a month.


Your tyres are in constant contact with the road and as such they suffer a lot of wear and tear, even if you drive carefully. This is why it’s vital that you keep an eye on the condition of your tyres. Tyres are never manufactured with lumps, bumps or objects sticking in them, so if you see any of these, you’ll need to have the tyre inspected. Tyres should be examined frequently, removing stones or other embedded objects from the tread. If the tyre has lumps or bulges it must be examined by a tyre specialist since these could indicate internal damage.