Are you driving on illegal tyres?

Thirteen per cent of UK motorists admit to driving with tyres below the legal limit

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Four million cars could be being driven on the road with illegal tyres that are bald or damaged, according to new research published this week.

And nearly two-thirds of motorists admitted to not fully understanding the rules around driving with worn-out tyres, risking a dangerous blowout or a fine.


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A poll of 2,000 motorists on behalf of vehicle repair company Halfords Autocentre found that 13% of drivers have knowingly driven with tyres below the legal tread limit.

Meanwhile, 65% said they didn’t know that the legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre. If caught, motorists risk a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre, meaning a fine of £10,000 and losing their licence if all four tyres are worn.

The survey also found that 27% of drivers haven’t checked their tyres in the past three months and 42% don’t know how to check their tyre pressures.

Illegal tyres can be caused by pothole damage | The Car Expert

Illegal tyres that are worn below the minimum tread limits, or have been damaged from bouncing through potholes or similar, can have serious negative effects on your car’s safety, as Haldfords warns.

Martin Barber, Halfords Autocentres tyres expert, says: “We were surprised to find that so many Brits are driving with tyres below the legal tread depth, which can reduce braking and steering ability especially in unpredictable weather and wet driving conditions.

“After completing millions of tyre checks to help keep Britain’s cars on the roads, we’re proud to offer a free tyre check for every motorist.”

October is Tyre Safety Month, and Halfords recommends drivers inspect their tyres for irregular wear or damage that could affect performance, as well as advising drivers to change their tyres when the tread gets below 2mm.

It is also recommended that you regularly check tyre pressures to avoid abnormal wear, increased fuel consumption and shortening the life of the tyre.

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Darren Cassey
Darren Cassey
Articles by Darren Cassey are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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