When it comes to maintaining your car, your tyres are often left forgotten until it’s time for an MOT. But an investigation by Confused.com has revealed that 21% of motorists are driving on tyres that are below the recommended 3mm tread depth.
The investigation involved spot checks of over 1,000 vehicles in 10 UK cities. They also found that around 3% of drivers had at least one tyre that was below the legal 1.6mm tread depth. Although your tyres are deemed to be road legal if the tread is more than 1.6mm deep, most manufacturers recommend changing your tyres once the tread reaches below 3mm. This is due to the lack of grip on the road, which increases your stopping distance and increases the risk of aquaplaning on wet roads.
Some cities have it worse than others. For example, 27% of the cars tested in Edinburgh had at least one tyre below the recommended tread – the highest in the UK. Ipswich and Newcastle were joint highest for cars with at least one illegal tyre, with 5% of cars tested.
It seems that a general lack of awareness is to blame for this. A separate study by Confused.com revealed that more than half (55%) of drivers admitted to not knowing how to check their tyres. Rather worryingly, around one in 10 admitted that they’ve never had their tyres checked.
The penalties for driving on illegal tyres can be quite severe, with three points on your licence and a £2,500 fine for each illegal tyre. If you’re caught driving on a full set of bald tyres, that’s a £10,000 fine and enough points for a driving ban.
What’s more, if you’re involved in an accident and it’s later discovered that you were driving on illegal tyres, your insurance policy could be invalidated. This is more common than you’d think, as the study showed that one in 20 drivers said they’d had an accident due to defective tyres.
Amanda Stretton, Confused.com’s motoring editor, says:
“By conducting a few simple checks each month, such as the 20p test, drivers can keep themselves and other motorists safe. Driving has become expensive enough as it is, and avoiding unwanted fines should be incentive enough to comply with road safety regulations.”
As always, you should seek professional guidance on your tyres – your local Eurorepar Car Service centre can help you with any concerns, as well as your servicing, repairs and MOT requirements. Find your centre and book online today.