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Remaining tread Depth

What are tread wear indicators (TWI’s)?


Tread wear indicators - Cross ribs evenly spaced around the circumference of the tyre in the main longitudinal tread grooves which become level with the tread surface when the remaining tread depth is down to approx. 1.6mm. Continental acknowledges that 1.6 mm (2/32”) is the most widely accepted minimum tread depth standard at which tyres should be removed from service.

This standard has been adopted as a legal regulation by many of the world’s national transportation authorities.

Continental recommends the following tread depths for tyre replacement:

summer tyres 3 mm - more

winter tyres 4 mm 

What is a summer Tread Wear Indicator?

Continental have introduced the “Summer Treadwear Indicator” in various summer tyre lines. The Summer TWI informs the driver when the remaining tyre tread depth is 3 mm. Once the tread is worn down to 3mm, the Summer Indicator becomes level with the surface of  the tread pattern, indicating that  there is a significant reduction in the wet grip  performance. Continental recommends changing summer tyres at 3 mm remaining tread depth, as being the optimum compromise between safety in the wet and economics.

What is a winter Tread Wear Indicator?

As the tread depth governs many of the winter tyres‘ properties. Continental recommends to change winter tyres for winter grip at a tread depth of 4 mm.  Once the tread is worn down to 4mm, the Winter Indicator becomes level with the surface of  the tread pattern, indicating that the tyre has reached its‘ limit of winter suitability.


*Test conditions: 205/55 R16 91H , ContiWinterContactTM 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).