It is common to hear car owners saying tyres should be changed every 30,000km or 3 years, outside of punctures.
However, tyre wear depends on many factors, such as weather, driving conditions, the way a driver drives amongst others.
Instead of being time or distance-based, we believe the most important determinant of whether a tyre should be changed is its tread depth.
Tread depth is the measurement from your tyre’s grooves to the surface of your tyre.
A deeper tread depth means your tyres will have more traction which in turns reduces your braking distance.
As you drive and friction with the road wears down your tyres, tread depths decrease, thereby increasing braking distance.
Legally, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) requires tyre tread depths to be at least 1.6mm.
New tyres typically have tread depths of 8-9mm.
When tread depths fall, braking distances increases but this only happens marginally as long as tread depths are above 3mm. As tread depths fall from 9mm to 4mm, braking distances rises by just 20%, according to data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA).
Below 3mm, a fall in tread depths increases braking distances dramatically – at 1mm tread depth, braking distances are nearly double relative to brand new tyres.
This suggests that it is probably prudent to change tyres before tread depths fall to the 3mm mark.
The one dollar coin (2013+ edition) test: Place your one dollar coin in the tread of the tyres with the “dollar” text towards the tread. If your tread does not cover all of the text, your tread depth is less than 3mm and should be changed.
Ask your workshop: Workshops should be able to accurately measure your tyre’s tread depth. Ask them what your tread depth is when you send your car for servicing.
Most workshops in Singapore will be able to replace your tyres.
However, we recommend inquiring whether the workshop stocks tyres that is suitable for your car before heading down.