Cars, vans and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) legally require a minimum depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre and around the entire circumference. Drivers caught with illegal tyres risk being hit with a £2,500 fine and three penalty points per tyre. So, do you know how to check your tyres or are you out of your depth?
If you don’t know what to do, you are not alone. Over a third of UK drivers (40%) cannot confidently carry out a tyre tread check, according to eBay-commissioned research. Meanwhile, more than half (53%) of 18 – 34-year-olds don’t know how to check that their tyre tread is within the legal limit. Apparently, older generations also lack confidence when it comes to tread depth checks, with more than a third of 35-54 year-olds revealing the same knowledge gap.
More than a third (33%) of UK drivers don’t feel confident carrying out basic car checks and repairs, with 63% wanting to gain more knowledge. During the UK DVLA driving test, learners are asked two vehicle safety questions, these can include how to check tyre tread depth, oil, headlights and taillights, brake lights, brake pads, engine coolant and more+.
It wasn’t just checking the tread of the tyre which seemed to cause problems for owners, according to the research. More than half of motorists (66%) were unaware of how to change a wheel.
eBay research also revealed that more than half (56%) of UK drivers can’t jump-start a car, with almost 70% of women not confident of the process. More than half (66%) of drivers would also struggle to change a headlight or rear bulb.
More simple maintenance tasks seemed to be a problem for a large number of drivers with exactly half feeling they would be unable to fit a new wiper blade to their car while 34% weren’t at ease with checking the oil level which is a vital task, particularly on older vehicles which don’t feature digital alerts when it is running low.
The 20p tread depth gauge
If you don’t know how to check your depth, don’t worry, there’s simple solution. Mechanic and eBay customer, Hannah Gordon, explained: “…Checking tyre tread depth is so easy, simply take a 20p coin and insert it into the grooves – if you can see the outer band on the coin, you need new tyres.”
Dr Tony Tong, Head of Automotive at eBay UK said: “Carrying out basic car checks and repairs can seem daunting but can often be simple and more cost-effective than going to a garage. Boosting your knowledge when it comes to car checks will not only save you time, but can also improve safety, especially before long journeys or during colder months. eBay’s marketplace makes it easy to find the part for your vehicle, offering convenience and peace of mind.”