In the UK, you must change your tyres when the tread depth falls below the legal limit of 1.6mm. You may also need to replace your tyres if they are damaged and cannot be repaired. For example, a bulge in the sidewall or a deep cut caused by a sharp object – it is recommended to check both sides of your tyre for any possible damage. Ultimately, replacing your car tyres is important to keep you safe and keep your car performing at its best with optimum handling and control.
You should also consider that new tyres have around 6-8mm of tread and as that tread depth decreases, so can tyre performance. The legal tread depth limit is 1.6mm, which is why it is important to continue to monitor the depth prior to reaching this limit.
A tyre nearing the minimum tread depth may not react the same way as a new tyre in certain conditions. Should you feel that your tyres are not performing as well as when they were new in wet conditions and are nearing the minimum tread depth, it is time to consider their replacement. Passenger tyres should be removed once they have passed the legal limit on 1.6mm – if not the driver could receive a penalty.
A tyre’s braking performance at 1.6mm can be compromised when compared to a new tyre, especially in wet conditions. This can lead to increased breaking distances and an increased risk of aquaplaning. Therefore, it’s important to replace your tyres as soon as you can see that the tread depth is getting low.
How quickly that happens depends on various things, such as your driving habits, road conditions where you live and how well you maintain your tyres. Check your tyres regularly, especially if they are not handling the way you expect them to. It may be that it’s time to get them changed.
Read our guide on checking your tyre tread.
There is no specific lifespan for a tyre. Your driving style, vehicle set up (alignment, camber etc) and tyre pressures will all influence end wear. Good care of your tyres can significantly help their mileage. As we have already noted, passenger car tyres should be replaced by the time they reach a tread depth of 1.6mm in one of the measurable grooves.
You should inspect your tyres regularly – at least once a month. Check the below to see if your tyres need replacing:
Tread wear. It’s best to use a tread depth gauge as you can then follow accurately how your tyres are wearing across all the grooves. If you do not own a gauge, passenger tyres also feature tread wear indicators. These are bands of hard rubber which become flush with the tread when the depth reaches 1.6mm, however some winter and all season tyres also have a tread wear indicator at 4mm. On most tyres the indicator will sit on the shoulder just below the tread with the words TWI, a triangle or in the case of Goodyear Tyres a Wingfoot symbol.
Uneven wear patterns. You should also check your treads for uneven wear patterns. Sometimes uneven wear can just be a characteristic of the vehicle especially if it uses heavy camber angles for performance handling, but it can also be a sign that your wheel alignment needs adjusting or even a component on your vehicle is worn or damaged.
Check the sidewalls on both sides. For the rear tyres a torch or mirror may be required to see the inside sidewall, for the fronts turn the tyres sharp to the left or right. If there’s a bulge or a blister on the sidewall of a tyre these can lead to failure and could be dangerous, along with the risk of a fine from the authorities.
Look out for sharp objects embedded into the tyre such as nails, screws in the sidewall or tread. Cuts can also expose part of the carcase which give the tyre its strength.
Pressures. It is important to check your pressures regularly and adjust them when carrying heavy loads or taking the family away for an outing. Even though many vehicles have their own pressure monitoring systems it is still advisable to check these manually. Tyre underinflation can increase your fuel costs, lead to faster wear and can also lead to over deflection of the sidewall which may cause potential failure. If a tyre seems to lose air fast and regularly needs re inflating there may be a puncture but do not discount condition of the rim or even the valve. These components also play a part in keeping in the air.
You could also choose to use summer and winter tyres and change them over as the seasons change. This will provide you with the best possible driving experience and safety all year round. By using summer and winter tyres, you can also extend the life of each set. Just remember that you’ll need to store them in a suitably dry place when not in use.
It is not law in the UK to change to winter tyres in the winter. However, across Europe there are many countries where you are required by law to have winter tyres on your car during the winter months. So, if you are travelling in Europe or living there, you will need to consider replacing your tyres at the appropriate time.
Because it is not the law to have winter tyres in the UK, all-season tyres are particularly popular as they are designed to perform in all weather conditions. Fitting all-season tyres provide the best of both summer and winter tyres, removing the need for changing your tyres seasonally.
The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons range is marked with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake making them legal for winter use in countries where winter tyres are a legal requirement.
Whilst you might be a safe and smooth driver there could be occasions you will need to push your tyres to an extreme, for example harsh braking or a heavy swerve. Fitting the same construction and pattern on both axles aids equal handling.
Different brands and patterns of tyres may also vary slightly in height and the speed they roll due to their individual designs or state of wear. In some cases (especially if the vehicle is a 4x4 or has a wheel monitoring system that requires a similar rotation of the wheels) this could affect the performance or mechanics if the tyres were mixed. Often the owner’s handbook will give the vehicle manufacturers advice on the subject.
Whilst there are laws on mixing radial and crossply tyres in the UK, there is no law requiring the same pattern – the choice is yours when it comes to mixing patterns. To obtain the best and safest driving conditions we advise fitting tyres with equal performance, following the manufacturers guidance on the subject. It is worth noting that some countries do have laws on mixing. If you are planning on travelling abroad, you will need to check current laws of the country you will be visiting and those you will be driving through.
To aid equal tread wear, tyres can be rotated from front to rear at regular intervals to prolong the lifetime of your tyre. Ideally tyres should be rotated at intervals of 6000 miles for cars and around 4000 miles for 4x4 vehicles, unless the manufacturer states otherwise. It is important to note that this is only recommended for vehicles where all tyres are the same size and are not directional.
For directional tyres, rotation instructions are as follows:
If you choose to fit 2 new tyres put the new ones on the rear axle.
Fitting new tyres to the rear axle will improve vehicle handing, stability and reduce the risk of potentially dangerous rear tyre deflation. This has the chance of a server over-steer effect which is much more difficult to control than under-steer produced by front tyre deflation. It is worth bearing in mind that tyres removed from the rear can be refitted to the front axle as they should have a larger amount of remaining tread depth than the old front tyres.
Radials and non-radials
If both must be fitted to the same vehicle, put the radials on the rear axle.
Radials and non-radials on the same axle.
Different speed ratings
It’s not recommended to fit tyres with different speed ratings. However, if they are fitted with different speed ratings they should be installed with like pairs on the same axle.
Make sure replacement tyres have an equal or greater load-carrying capacity to what the original equipment manufacturer specifies.
It's natural to want to get the most out of your tyres. And Goodyear tyres are famous for their quality. The latest EfficientGrip Performance 2 tyre has been shown to provide 50% increased mileage* without compromising on wet and dry performance when independently tested. The tyre has a high tread elasticity and flexibility resulting in fewer fractures caused by rough road conditions. All of this means that with the EfficientGrip Performance 2 tyre, you’ll be able to do even more miles before needing to replace them.
90% of old tyres (also termed ‘end-of life’ tyres) are recycled for energy recovery in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
Before you replace your tyres, always consult the vehicle owner's manual and follow the vehicle manufacturer's replacement tyre recommendations. Vehicle handling may be significantly affected by a change in tyre size or type.
*Internal test. Compared to predecessor EfficientGrip Performance. Tire size tested: 205/55R16 91V; Test car: VW Golf 7; Test location: open roads in Luxembourg and France