Remaining Tread Depth

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Remaining tread depth

What are tread wear indicators (TWI’s)?

Remaining tread depth

Many drivers check the pressure of their vehicles’ tyres and scan the tyres for signs of damage, but few accurately check for tread depth using a tyre tread depth gauge. With Continental tyres, our built-in tyre tread wear indicators (TWIs) can save you time and money, while also making you safer. 

TWIs are cross-ribs which are evenly spaced around the circumference of the tyre, along the main longitudinal tread grooves. They are positioned in the central three-quarters – or contact patch – of your tyres. These gauges become level with the tyre surface when the remaining tyre tread is down to approximately 1.6 mm. Continental recognises this measurement as the most widely accepted minimum at which car tyres should be removed from a vehicle.

This standard has been adopted as a legal minimum by many of the world’s national transportation authorities. Our TWIs are more efficient than, and just as accurate as, a tyre tread depth gauge. There is no better way to comply with UK Tyre Laws, and to keep you and your vehicle safe, than to make sure that you know your tyre tread depth by using Continental TWIs. 

Continental recommends the following depths for tyre replacement:

In the interests of motorist safety, our recommendation for the wear limit of tyre tread depth is more than the 1.6 mm legal limit mentioned above. Continental recommends a depth limit of:

a minimum of 3 mm for summer tyres 

a minimum of 4 mm for winter tyres

What is a summer Tread Wear Indicator?
Summer Tread Wear Indicator

Continental has introduced the summer TWI in various summer tyre lines. This indicator depth gauge informs you when the depth remaining on your vehicle’s tyres measures 3 mm. Once the tyre tread depth is worn down to 3 mm, the indicator becomes level with the surface of the tread pattern, indicating to the driver that there is a significant reduction in the wet grip performance of their vehicle.

Continental recommends changing summer tyres at 3 mm remaining depth. Replacing your car’s tyres at this stage provides an optimum compromise between economy and brake safety in wet conditions, reducing your risk of aquaplaning.

What is a winter Tread Wear Indicator?

Tyre tread depth governs many of your car’s winter tyre properties. Continental recommends changing winter tyres at a depth of 4 mm for optimal grip. Any less and you risk compromising the safety of your driving in winter conditions.

Once tyre tread depth is worn down to 4 mm, the depth gauge becomes level with the surface of the tread pattern, indicating that the tyre has reached its limit of winter suitability. Replacing your vehicle’s old tyres with new Continental tyres will provide greater safety and less risk when driving in winter.

Continental recommends checking the tread depth of your tyres regularly so that you can immediately replace them with new tyres when the depth gauge reaches the legal requirement. Paying close attention to tyre tread will make for safer driving, whether on wet, snowy or dry roads.

The influence of the tyre tread depth

*Test conditions: 205/55 R16 91H , ContiWinterContact™ TS 830, VW Golf V, braking on snow, from 50km/h to 0 km/h (status: 2013). The graphics shown here are for illustration purposes only. The braking distance of a vehicle depends on its type, its age, the brakes and the tyres used, as well as the road surface (Source: Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH). Tyre pressure in relation to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation (Source: Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH). 

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