RAC Cars News


British Drivers Need To Look At Their Tyres

By raccars Published

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Research has shown that 18 million British car owners are running illegal tyres on their vehicles. It has been noted that there has been a dramatic rise in the number of tyres with less than the 1.6mm legal tread limit.

This particular survey highlighted that 40% of car owners are unaware of the legal tread limit, and 13% believe their garage should be taking responsibility for their tyres. It claims that in the last seven years, it has seen illegal tyre numbers increase threefold.

The news points to a strange dichotomy in British attitudes towards car safety. While so many people seem unconcerned about their tyres, simultaneously 50% of those looking to buy a car insist on a model with ABS, a third consider traction control essential and nearly two thirds look for good tyres. However, it seems these fussy buyers are less rigorous when it comes to maintenance.

Positive tyre performance relies upon a healthy tread level. The wet braking distance at 50mph for worn tyres is 14 metres further than for tyres with good tread. Furthermore, worn tread can incur licence penalty points and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre.

The research suggested that it's not only young motorists who can be accused of road safety carelessness in this case, as more than two thirds of the motorists surveyed had at least ten years' experience of driving. There is a concern on the reliance on modern technology meaning drivers are leaving it to cars to look after themselves and neglecting their responsibilities.

Car owners need to be reminded that they should perform regular ACT tests on their tyres: air pressure, condition and tread. Air pressure needs to be checked regularly and adjusted according to manufacturer recommendations. Driving over or underinflated tyres not only uses more fuel but can be dangerous. The recommended tyre pressures can usually be found in the owner's manual and often on a sticker inside one of the front doors.

Check the condition of your tyres by looking for bulges, tears or any other signs of degradation, which can again affect performance.

Tyre tread should reach the legal minimum of 1.6mm at any point. Tyre manufacturers recommend that if yours are below 1.8mm it's time to look for some replacements. Test the tread using a 20 pence piece - the outer band of the coin should disappear in the tread. If it doesn't, your tread is probably too low.

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