Revealed: tire wear with dangerously low tread depth on cars in Ireland

Shocking new figures show many motorists are driving on dangerous tyres.

These drivers demonstrate a blatant disregard for safety, according to a nationwide survey of tire dealers conducted to mark Road Safety Week.

Some depots report that up to 90 percent of the tires they replaced had illegal tread depths.

That means people may have been driving on dangerous tires for a long time. You risk penalties and fines under the regulations for defective or worn tires.

The survey was conducted by the German premium tire manufacturer Continental Tires in August at several dealers.

Staff dealt with hundreds of tires that were below the legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm in almost all outlets.

They saw tires that were bare and dangerous to drive on. One was made in the 12th week of 2002. Tires generally only have a useful life of six years – you will fail the NCT if your tires are more than six years old.

When a tire is worn down to or below the legal 1.6mm profile it is unsafe and unroadworthy as it requires a much longer stopping distance.

More than half of the outlets surveyed had 50 or more tires they replaced below the legal tread depth of 1.6mm.

Continental Tires Ireland’s Tom Dennigan said: “Just think about it. The thousands of vehicles that took to the streets minutes earlier were driving on badly worn and badly damaged tyres.”

He bemoaned the “pathetic” disregard of tire safety regulations by a significant proportion of drivers.

“I would describe tires like that as ticking time bombs – nobody knows ‘when’ or ‘where’ that one of these tires could lead to a serious incident.

“It would certainly be a disaster not only for the driver and occupants of the vehicle in question, but also for any other unsuspecting road user who happens to be on the same road.”

A sample of the survey results shows the widespread nature of the problem:

  • At Sean McManus Tires in Drogheda, Co. Louth, tires worn to less than 1.6mm accounted for 90 percent of what employees replaced.
  • Loughrea Tires in Co. Galway reported that 80 per cent of the tires replaced there were at or below the legally required tread depth.
  • Newbrook Tires of Mullingar, Co. Westmeath found that 70 per cent of the tires taken off vehicles were below the 1.6mm limit.
  • At JW Tires in Carlow, 40 of the replaced tires were excessively worn.

There was evidence of an apparently better level of care in urban areas. R&R Tires of Ballincollig, Co Cork and BestDrive of Swords, Co Dublin reported figures of 40 and 18 tires respectively replaced at or below the legal tread depth limit.

Here is a quick tire check help:

The gold band on the face of the €1 coin (next to the big ‘1’ and the map of Europe) is 3mm wide.

So if you put the coin in the center grooves of the tire you can see how much tread is left.

Safety organizations and many tire manufacturers recommend motorists to change their tires when the tread depth drops below 3mm, as the tire’s braking ability can be seriously affected the closer it gets to the legal limit of 1.6mm. Revealed: tire wear with dangerously low tread depth on cars in Ireland

Fry Electronics Team

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