LEGAL TREAD ON TYRES and effects on insurance

Posted by Kirsty Littlejohn on

It looks like a lot of Aussie drivers are risking voided car insurance claims by driving on un-roadworthy tyres. A survey of more than 1,500 motorists by Canstar Blue has found that 42% of drivers are unaware of legal tyre safety standards, including legal tyre tread depth; while about a quarter (24%) don’t know how to check if their tyres are too worn. As well as being potentially dangerous, that lack of knowledge could prove costly in the event of an accident and subsequent insurance claim.

The survey also found that 48% of drivers delay buying new tyres for as long as possible, while 25% tend to buy the cheapest tyres available. On top of that, 29% admitted they have been fearful of an accident because of driving on worn tyres. Female drivers were more likely than males to be unaware of legal tyre safety standards as well as less likely  to know how to check their tread depth. And the younger a driver is, the less likely they are to know about tyre safety, the survey of 1,587 Australians found. 

What is car tyre tread depth? And what’s the legal treat depth on tyres

Just over half of Gen Y survey respondents said they didn’t know about law-mandated tyre safety standards or legal tread depth on tyres. So we’re going to briefly go over the basics of tyre treads, along with why making sure that your tyre doesn’t wear past the legal tyre tread depth is so important.

Tyre treads are the patterned lines that go along and across the surface of your tyres. They allow your tyres to grip the road more thoroughly, and are integral to your car’s ability to drive safely; especially in the rain where they help to remove the water from between your tyres and the road.

However with all that driving we tend to do, the rest of the tyre eventually starts to wear away, reducing the depth of the treads. And once the tyre’s tread depth has been reduced to a certain point, the tyre is considered worn out, and no longer safe to drive on. So what is that certain point, and how do you figure out if your tyres have reached it or not?

The law mandates that the minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.5mm. That may not seem like much, but you’d be surprised at what tyres and the forces of physics can make do with. Your car’s tyre tread depth can be measured manually using a specialty tool designed for the task, but many tyres these days come equipped with tread indicators around the circumference of the tyre, which make gauging tread depth much easier. If the tread has worn down to any of the tyre wear indicators, or there is less than 1.5mm of tread depth on the tyre, then it is considered to be un-roadworthy. Here are some more tips on getting to grips with road safety.


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