A tyre safety check at a Shropshire primary school found eight out of 25 parents’ cars checked were fitted with illegal tyres.
The test, conducted by tyre manufacturer Falken, at Moorfield Primary School in Newport, Shropshire, underlines research undertaken by its UK distributor Micheldever. It found over 56 percent of 8,900 tyres it removed last month had less than the legal requirement of 1.6mm tread depth. This isn’t a new trend, either — Micheldever checks nearly 1,000 vehicles a week at its UK locations and has reported a similar problem before.
The school car park check also identified one tyre with a nail in it and a further two had tyres over 10 years old. To improve the safety of children being transported to the school, Falken provided vouchers for free tyres and fitting to the first five owners with illegally worn or damaged tyres.
Matt Smith, Falken’s UK director, said that the tyre check results backed up what the company’s dealers are telling them — many UK drivers are routinely driving on illegal tyres:
“The results today confirm what our dealers are saying. There are a significant proportion of cars running on illegal or dangerous tyres.
“Tyres are a crucial element in road safety and for a number of reasons it is often a distress purchase, left until the last minute.”
Falken cites the current economic strain felt by families as a key factor, after its dealer Micheldever revealed that pre-recession, in 2008, the number of illegal tyres it recorded was 15 percent, over 40 percent lower than today’s figure.
Can’t afford new tyres?
Many drivers are tempted to fit part-worn tyres — otherwise known as second-hand tyres — to their car as a cost-saving measure.
Here at SimpleMotoring.co.uk, we’re firmly opposed to part-worn tyres, not least because evidence suggests that many of them are already illegal or are sold illegally. What’s more, they are very poor value for money, as they will need replacing — which incurs a tyre-fitting fee — much more often than new tyres.
The cost of tyres can be a problem, and the current fashion for low-profile tyres on large alloy wheels doesn’t help — these tend to cost more and wear out faster than smaller tyres sizes. If money is tight and you really are struggling to pay for new tyres, then the best approach is to buy a reputable budget brand such as Sava or Fulda from a trustworthy local fitting centre.
The performance you get will be acceptable and you will know that they are safe and legal. Finally, remember that keeping your tyres correctly inflated will make them last longer and will reduce your fuel consumption.
The legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the width of the tyre, though the tyre industry’s recommendation is to replace the tyre when 2mm remains.