Motorists face £10,000 fine over common tire fault

XE maintenance may not be on a driver’s to-do list, and you could easily go months without checking that your vehicle is in compliance with applicable laws.

But motorists could face a hefty fine if their tires are not scratched.

The RAC recommends checking your tires every two weeks


The RAC recommends checking your tires every two weeksCredit: Getty

Car tires must have a minimum tread of 1.6mm.

Without a good tread, the tires don’t have enough grip on the road and you run the risk of skidding.

In addition to being unsafe, driving with faulty or dangerous tyres also puts motorists at risk of fines of up to £2,500 and three points on their license.

That’s per tire, so four illegal tyres can result in a £10,000 fine and 12 penalty points.

According to research conducted by the car company Evans Halshaw, more than 8.5 million car drivers in the UK may be driving with illegal tyres.

The survey found that cars between the ages of 5 and 10 were most at risk.

Here are some tips to make sure your tires are safe:

What is the tire law?

According to British law, the tread must have a certain depth depending on the type of vehicle.

For cars, light trucks and light semi-trailers, the tire must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, for motorcycles, large displacement vehicles and passenger vehicles it is 1mm.

Wipe only with visible grooves.

Tires also need to be free of cuts and defects.

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Why are tires important?

Without good tread, your car will take longer to stop.

Worn tires are especially dangerous in wet conditions because the tread helps to disperse water away from where the tire is in contact with the road.

If there is less tread depth, less water can travel away, increasing the risk of water skidding and loss of grip or slippage.

While 1.6mm is the legal limit, some tire and safety experts recommend a minimum tread depth of 3mm before you need to think about changing a tire.

Tests by the technical organization MIRA show that, once the tire is below 3mm, the stopping distance will increase significantly.

How to check tire tread depth?

You can check the tire depth very simply by using 20p.

Just take a 20p coin and tuck it into the tread grooves on the tire.

If you cannot see the outer band on the coin, your tire has exceeded the statutory limit.

However, if you can see the strip and that part of the coin is still visible, your tire may not be safe and you should have it checked by a mechanic.

The RAC recommends drivers do the 20p test about every two weeks and before long trips.

You can also purchase specific tread length gauges for a more accurate check.

Several companies, including Formula One Autocentres and Kwikfit, also offer a free winter safety check that includes an assessment of the wear of your tyres.

What happens if you have an illegal tire accident?

Driving with tread tread below the legal limit puts you and other drivers at risk.

If you are involved in an accident and the vehicle you are driving has illegal tires or is bald, you should be aware of the consequences.

Any claim resulting from an accident can be voided, so it’s likely your insurance company won’t pay any money for any repairs needed to your vehicle.

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Fry Electronics Team

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