According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), around 10% of cars have one or more tyres that is worn beyond the legal limit.
There are two problems with this:
- It’s illegal – you could be fined up to £2,500 per tyre
- It’s extremely dangerous – the risk of skidding on wet surfaces increase seven-fold with tread depth below 0.5mm.
You shouldn’t really even let your tyres wear down to the legal limit (1.6mm tread depth) – according to the IAM, the chances of skidding on a wet road with tyres at the legal limit is triple the chance of skidding with new tyres.
It’s not fun to think about but the solution is easy.
- Keep your car’s tyres properly inflated and check them regularly when they are cold – ideally weekly.
- Monitor your car’s tyres for problems – wear should be even. Wear down the centre indicates overinflation and wear down one side suggests your wheel alignment may be out. Bulges or cuts increase the chance of a blow out and are dangerous – replace damaged tyres straight away.
- Don’t weight for your car to fail an MOT before you replace the tyres. Keep an eye on them and replace them when the tread depth gets down below 3mm.
Finally, remember that the law might get you even if an accident doesn’t. The maximum penalty for illegal tyres is 3 points plus a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre. It’s enough to make new tyres look cheap – so don’t skimp on them.
Replacing Your Tyres
Ideally, tyres should be replaced in pairs. The newest tyres should go on the rear wheels in a front wheel drive vehicle, as this reduces the chance of you ‘losing the rear end’.
To learn more about tyre care, have a look at our Beginner’s Guide To Tyres.