Tyres should be treated as though your life (and that of any passengers ) depended on them – because it does!
- In 2009, more than 200 motorists were killed or seriously injured in the UK as a result of an accident where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor
- In 2007/08 14 percent (or 1.1 million) of all MOT failures were as a result of tyre defects making it the fourth most common reason for an MOT failure
- In 2008, AA patrols attended more than 330,000 tyre related call outs of around 3.5m breakdowns in total, so around one in ten
- In January 2009 , 236,000 tyres on cars where checked and 28,000 or 12% were under the legal minimum of 1.6mm (NTDA Report)
- Independent research commissioned by TyreSafe found that more than half of all drivers could not correctly identify the legal tread depth and a startling one in five drivers had never checked their tread depth (September 09)
- In 2008, the number of drivers successfully prosecuted for driving on illegal tyres rose by 14% to a seven year high of more than 4,300 convictions
This is no exaggeration – below is some of the common sites seen on vehicles that come to the BalanceMyCar centres;
- Tyres not just low on tread but bald or worn through to the wire and canvas substructure
- Tyre pressures grossly overinflated or under-inflated
- Tyres perishing and falling apart with age
- Huge bulges in the tyre wall – about ready to ‘blow’
- Dangerous cuts in the tyres making it unsafe and dangerous
- Four tyres of different make, type or tread pattern fitted the same car
- Tyres fitted the wrong way round
- Tyres fitted with wrong load or speed rating for the vehicle.
As the driver of a vehicle, it your responsibility to ensure regular care and maintenance of tyres, including the decision as to when they need changing, is undertaken. Drivers found to be driving on illegal or dangerous tyres not only risk their own safety and that of other road users but also face a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
The next section gives some basic pointers to tyres and tyre maintenance, which along with a four wheel alignment, forms the foundation for good tyre care.