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Research made by TyreSafe suggests that almost 10 million illegal tyres have been driven on each year, putting lives at risk.  Millions of drivers in the UK are driving around on illegal and dangerous tyres; on in four motorists have one or more tyres with dangerous tread depth.  The depth on the tyre refers to the cracks in your tyres, which should be at least 1.6mm deep.  However, for optimum safety, it is recommended that your tyres should be changed at 3mm.

Many manufacturers now include a Tread Wear Indicator (TWI) within the grooves of the tyre tread which become more visible as the tyre wears down. Whilst these markings are an indicator, always check the tread depth using a tread depth gauge and check your tyres regularly for bulges or wear.

The consequences

In the case of any vehicle, with the exception of goods vehicles and vehicles adapted to carry more than eight passengers, for every offence there is a fine at level 4 of the standard scale with discretionary disqualification with 3 Penalty Points.  Level 4 currently stands at £2,500 and each faulty tyre is considered as a separate offence, which can really add up. Two faulty tyres equals £5,000 and 6 points on your license, and so on.

On top of the fine you could also have other very serious consequences:

  • You could cause an accident, injuring yourself and others in the process.
  • Less tread depth means less grip, which means worse handling.
  • Your tyre is likely to go flat quicker – which increases the chances that they could burst whilst you are driving along.
  • A reduction in grip means your stopping distance increases – you are also more likely to skid and lose control on non-ideal road conditions.
  • Your insurance cover could be invalid.

How do I check if my tyres are legal?

The 20p Test. A quick and easy way to see if your tyre tread exceed the minimum legal tread depth is to take the 20p test. Simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit.

Air pressure

Check with your car’s owners’ manual or the sticker in the fuel flap or the inside edge of the driver’s door for the correct tyre pressure.  Check your tyres regularly, at least once a month is a good idea.

Tyre condition

Drivers are advised to look out for signs of irregular wear on their tyres. This could be in the form of cuts, lumps or bulges.  If this isn’t regularly checked you could face driving with a defective tyre which could deflate very quickly.

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