The Easy Way to Check Your Tyre Tread Depth

Staying Safe on Brisbane’s Roads

All Australian drivers should know that driving on tyres with shallow tyre tread depth is dangerous. Driving with a tyre tread depth that is below the legal minimum is criminal. However, according to the Australian Road Safety Foundation, 40% of drivers do not know what the legal tyre safety standards are.

This article covers what the legal minimum tyre tread depth is in Australia, and a provides a quick hack so you can check your tyres easily and stay safe on Brisbane’s roads.

Australia’s Legal Minimum Tread Depth

The legal minimum tyre tread depth in Australia is 1.5mm. This means that the tread across the entire width and circumference of the tyre must be at least 1.5 mm. If it is less than this on any section of the tyre, the tyre is illegal to drive on. With illegal tyres, your vehicle is illegal.

In Queensland, the penalty for not having legal tyres can put a big strain on your wallet. For one worn tyre, you can receive an on-the-spot fine of $110 and one demerit. With illegal bald tyres, you can be fined up to $220 and receive three demerits.

Not only can illegal tyres cost you money, but they can also cost you your life. Driving on bald tyres is dangerous and affects the traction and handling of your vehicle. Your tread depth affects the rubber on the road and stopping distances.

If you are travelling at 80km per hour on a wet road and brake on a new tyre (which will have a tread depth of 8mm), your vehicle will comfortably stop and have little risk of aquaplaning. If your vehicle has tyres worn down to 3mm of tread depth, it will still be moving at 30km per hour when the vehicle with new tyres would have come to a stop. It will then continue travelling for another 9.5 meters before coming to a complete halt.

How Long Do Tyres Last on Australia’s Roads?

The roads you drive on and your driving style will impact how quickly your tyre tread wears down. For example, if you are driving on asphalt, your tyres will last longer than if you do most of your driving on dirt or gravel roads.

In Brisbane, where we benefit from many sunny days, UV rays emitted from the sun wear down tyres faster than elsewhere. While there is no way to say for sure how quickly your tyre tread will wear, you should check them regularly to make sure they are above the legal minimum.

Checking Tyre Tread with the 20c ‘Coin Test’

Though the legal limit for a tyre’s tread depth is 1.5mm, we recommend that you bring you tyres in for a check when the tread depth is no shallower than 3mm. There is an easy way to check your tread depth, using a 20c coin.

Simply slot the coin in the tread vertically, and if the tread doesn’t reach the bill of the platypus, you have less than 3mm tread depth remaining. It’s time to get your tyres checked and changed if needed.


Tyre tread is crucial to your safety on the road. The more depth you have, the better the handling and the shorter the braking distance. If you allow your tyre treads to wear away to less than 1.5mm, you are breaking the law. You are also risking your safety, and the safety of other road users.

Use the 20c coin test today. If you can see that platypus bill, get yourself and your tyres to a tyre shop. Bring your vehicle to us here in Brisbane at Darra Tyres. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked. We’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

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