Motorists are being advised to check the condition, tread depth and pressure of their tyres on a regular basis or face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each defective tyre.
The warning has come from road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist, as the Government commissions a study to understand the relationship between tyre degradation, time and road safety.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented: “We rely on our tyres to keep us safe on journeys. After all, they provide the only contact between the car we’re driving and the road surface. In an extreme situation, correctly-inflated tyres with good levels of tread will allow all the other safety systems on a car to work at their most effective.
“Inadequate tread or incorrect pressure mean one thing: the safety systems on your vehicle will not work as efficiently. That’s why regular checks on tyre inflation and tread depth are so important.”
GEM points out that there are also fuel economy benefits from properly-inflated tyres – incorrect inflation increases the chances of damage to a tyre, and under-inflated tyres create more resistance on the road, leading to an increase in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Neil Worth concludes: “We’re urging drivers to take time on a regular basis to ensure their tyres are correctly inflated, with plenty of tread. Straightforward checks don’t take long, and good tyres really could prove a life-saver for you and your passengers… possibly on your very next journey.”
Eight simple tyre care tips:
- Check the tread on each tyre on a regular basis – every two weeks should be a minimum.
- Remember that you should carry out proper checks across the entire width of a tyre and around its circumference. Check the depth of the main tread grooves in several places across and around the tyre.
- Use a simple gauge to check tread depth. The legal minimum tread depth for a car is 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference.
- You will also find tread wear indicators at regular intervals around the main grooves. When a tyre’s tread surface is worn to the same level as these indicators, then the tyre is at the legal limit and must be replaced.
- Check for any cuts, tears, swellings and bumps. These could be caused by going through a pothole or hitting the kerb. If there’s anything to give you cause for concern, then get the tyre checked by an expert as soon as possible.
- Check pressure using a tyre pressure gauge or the air machines found on most garage forecourts (some will charge you, a few are still free). Pressures for your car can normally be found in your owner’s manual. You may also find the pressure marked on the driver’s door pillar or inside the fuel flap. Otherwise, look up the pressures you need using a tyre pressure website.
- Recommended tyre pressures change if you are carrying a full load or a lot of passengers. So make sure you use the right figure for the journeys you are about to make.
- Don’t forget to check the condition of your spare tyre. Too often it’s the forgotten tyre until you suddenly find you need it.