As the saying goes, there’s a lot riding on your tyres

An important part of tyre care is to understand tyre tread depth.

Tread gives your tyres the ability to grip a wet road. In wet weather, tread disperses water from the point of contact between the tyre and the road – this is called the ‘contact patch’. Generally, the actual contact point is only about the size of your palm. However, it’s the point through which accelerating, braking, steering and cornering forces are transmitted.

On dry roads, tread can reduce the performance of a car because the contact patch area is reduced. However, on wet roads, it’s vital that tread be maintained on your tyres. Luckily, it’s very simple to check the tyre tread depth.

4 mm, or about the size of a matchstick head, is the absolute minimum tyre tread depth in Australia.

There are tread wear indicator bars on your tyres. These are moulded at regular intervals into the tread grooves. These indicators will alert you to tyre tread depth that is not safe. You’ll know when the tread is no longer at a safe level because the indicator bars will be flush with the tread surface. You can also check the tread depth by holding a matchstick across the width of the tread.

Please bear in mind that this merely indicates the minimum legal limit. Many tyre manufacturers will recommend that tyres be replaced prior to this point.