Tyres are one of the simplest but most important parts on your car. However, many owners rarely, if ever, check the condition of their tyres – or even the amount of air in them.
According to a survey by road safety organisation TyreSafe, nearly one in three parents dropping off children at a primary school in Shropshire were driving cars fitted with illegal tyres – potentially putting their families in danger.
The law states that car tyres should have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of the tyre. Those who continue to drive with overworn tyres could be issued with three penalty points on their licence and fined up to £2,500 per illegal wheel.
The condition of a car’s tyres has a direct impact on its braking ability. A car on the legal limit for tyre wear requires an extra 8m to stop from 50mph in the wet than one with 3mm of tread, claims Kwik Fit. As a result of the impact of tyre wear on performance, TyreSafe is urging parents to keep an eye on the condition of their tyres.
Last year we carried out tyre spot-checks at a school to determine the condition of parents’ cars. We found that a number of parents with defective tyres were unconcerned by the fact they had been driving with potential dangerous tyres.
Many of these cars may be used less frequently so it’s essential that their tyres are checked to ensure that they are roadworthy and legal so that the precious load is transported in a safe manner.
“The start of the new academic year means that we will be experiencing many more cars on the roads, particularly at peak times of the day,” says Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe.
He continues: “Many of these cars may be used less frequently so it’s essential that their tyres are checked to ensure that they are roadworthy and legal so that the precious load is transported in a safe manner.”
Incorrect tyre pressures can also drastically reduce grip levels. The Highway Code recommends that drivers check their tyre pressures once a week. Figures from the Department of Transport show that more than 1,200 casualties every year result from cars travelling on defective or underinflated tyres.
When checking the condition of car tyres drivers should look at the tyre pressure and make sure these are inflated to the car’s recommended pressures, usually found in the vehicle handbook, on the driver’s doorsill or printed on the inside of the fuel filler cap.
Drivers should also ensure that there is at least 1.6mm of tread left across the tyre. Many tyres have wear meters – small bars across the grooves in the tyre – showing clearly how much life the tyre has left.