How little tread is dangerous


Staff member
Deal, Kent UK
A3 1.4 TFSI 150 COD
So the legal minimum is 1.6mm of tread in the UK. I would argue that as little as 2mm become dangerous in the wet.

I had 2mm on the left wheel and 4mm on the right, the car always struggled for traction in pretty much all conditions on the left side, now I have new tyres on the front the car is pulling like a tractor.

It took a screw to get me to shell out the £220 for new tyres but I'm glad I did with winter upon us.

What is your tread depth and at what level do you replace them? How long to tyres last you usually?
Since I've had my current Scooby (just over 4 years now) I've not had the tyres wear down.
After about 18 months of ownership (with new tyres from previous owner) I found a screw in one and replaced the lot with better ones.
About a year (and only 3000 miles) later I had a blow out and had to replace the rears.
All four tyres are well above limit, I would hazard a guess at 4mm still. I'm looking forward to not having to replace them for a while but will probably do so at about the 2mm mark.
For me realistically speaking and unless my driving habits alter radically, I am looking about the summer time for a change of tyres. I am currently about the 3mm mark, so this is about as low as I want to go before putting new shoes on the old boy.
I usually allow 3mm and then start looking around and try to replace within a couple of weeks. You can usually feel by how the car's handling how likely it is that you need new tyres. If it's stopped handling as you're used to then there's an issue
I am sure all of you know that all road legal tyres have TWI's and when any part of a tyre is worn down to just 1 of them on any area of the tread the tyre is not "roadworthy" and need replacing ASAP.

TIP :) if you are running a bit of negative camber you can get more tyre life and evening out wear by having the tyres reversed on the rims after say 10000 klms ONLY IF they are non directional.

EDIT I should have said "not asymmetric":oops:

A good time to do so would be when they are due to be rotated :)
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Asymmetric tyres can only fitted one way and that is with the word "outside" to the outside and can't or should I say should not be reversed on the rims to even out wear as that would be dangerous in wet conditions IMO

Obi is correct I had my terminology mixed up .V( What I meant to say was "asymmetric" and not directional :oops:

Directionals can only be rotated on the same side (without reversing them on the rim )

Hope that clears things up :)
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I would argue that a quality make of tyre with 3mm tread will be a lot better than a new budget ditch finder tyre in all but standing water.
I don't think people realise how much grip difference their is between high performance and budget tyres. It should be made a lot clearer, at least there are ratings on them now but I bet most motorists don't even know the significance of the ratings or what they mean.
I think the TWI are absolute minimums, a car stops being safe in the wet around 2mm. In some European countries the legal limit is 2mm.

If you give people a legal minimum they will assume that this is still ok and push their chances right to the limits!

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