Each year there 1000’s of accidents on the UK roads as a result of defective tyres. Alarmingly there are over 2 million MOT failures each year due to tyre defects.
There are some simple checks that you can carry out to help reduce the number of tyre related incidents on the roads.
Driving carefully can help but won’t prevent tyres from wearing or becoming damaged over time. Tyres are in constant contact with the road surface so its important that they are maintained to ensure your safety and safety to other road users.
You should check your tyres frequently for any stones or objects embedded in the tyres tread and for any abnormalities in the tyre like a bulge which can be caused by simply hitting a kerb or a pothole.
If you spot anything that doesn’t look quite right the tyre should be examined by a specialist as there could be unseen internal damage which left undiagnosed could lead to a blow out on the road or worse a road traffic accident.
As part of regular maintenance checks to your tyres your car should have the correct tyre pressure. Under or over-inflation can affect handling and grip causing changes in your vehicle’s behaviour.
Incorrect tyre pressure can result in reduced road surface contact causing tyres to wear unevenly, this can also affect braking distances and handling on corners.
Your vehicle handbook will tell you what the correct pressure for your vehicle should be. If you don’t have your handbook with you tyre pressures are displayed on the inside of the fuel cap or driver’s door sill.
Tyre Tread Depth
When new tyres are fitted to your car the tread depth is between 8-9mm. You should carry out regular checks each month to the tyre tread to ensure that is still safe and legal to drive your car.
Driving with tyres below the legal limit of 1.6mm is not only dangerous but can result in a £2500 fine and three penalty points (per tyre) on your driving licence. It is advised that tyres should be replaced when the tread reaches 2mm however experts recommend a minimum of 3mm.
When a tyre tread starts to wear the contact with the road in wet weather is reduced causing less grip on the road and a risk of aquaplaning where your car can lose all contact with road surface leaving you unable to control it. This can greatly increase your risk of being involved in an accident.
The 20p Test
This is a quick and simple check that you can carry out with standard 20p coin. Place the coin into the main tread grooves of the tyre.
- The outer band of the 20p coin is hidden when inserted – your tyre is above the legal limited
- The outer band is visible when inserted – your tyres could be illegal and you get them checked immediately by a qualified technician.
Make sure when checking each tyre that you check at least 3 locations to be sure as some sections of the tyre could have worn more than others.
If you prefer an expert to check your tyre tread for you Del's Tyres, Northampton can check your tyres and ensure they are safe and legal.