British drivers have been urged to check tyre treads, pressure and general wear and tear in order to avoid hefty £2,500 fines and penalty points.
Motoring specialists from LeaseVan.co.uk have revealed three essential tyre checks drivers should make regularly to stay on the right side of the law, be safe, and avoid unwanted fines.
A recent survey of 2,000 drivers showed a staggering 17 per cent of motorists had never checked their tyre pressures.
This is despite the fact that under or over inflated tyres can cause unpredictable vehicle behaviour and affect handling and grip, potentially causing dangerous collisions.
As well as tyre pressure, motorists should check their vehicle’s tyre depth regularly, and inspect them for any cuts, bulges, and signs of cracking.
If a driver is stopped by the police and found to have one or more tyres with a tread depth below the legal limit, they could receive a hefty fine of £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre.
So, if it turns out that all four tyres are breaking the law, drivers could be required to pay £10,000 and risk losing their licence altogether.
1. Tread Depth
Tread depth refers to measurement between the top of the tread rubber – the part of the tyre that contacts the road – and the bottom of the tyre’s deep grooves. Having a sufficient tread depth is vital to ensure that your car can grip the road properly. Without it, you’re increasing your chances of having an accident. It’s also important to note that if you are involved in an accident and your car has tyres with a tread depth below the legal limit, your insurance claim could be deemed invalid.
In the UK, the law states that every tyre on a car must have a minimum tread of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread around the circumference. If you’re stopped by the police and found to have one or more with a tread depth below the legal limit, you could receive a hefty fine of £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre.
You can use a tread depth gauge to measure it or use the ‘20p test’. Simply insert a 20p coin into the grooves of the tyre and check if you can still see the outer band of the coin. If you can’t, your tyre is above the legal limit. If you can see the outer band of the coin, it’s likely the tyre is unsafe and needs swapping for a newer model.
Without the correct pressure in each tyre, you run the risk of not being in total control of your vehicle. Under or over inflated tyres can cause unpredictable vehicle behaviour and affect handling and grip. This is especially dangerous when you’re driving at high speeds. Incorrectly inflated tyres also waste money because they can increase fuel consumption and tyres will wear out more quickly.
To find out the correct pressure for your tyres, you should refer to your car’s manual. This should tell you the pounds per square inch (PSI) in relation to your vehicle’s tyres – this is the number your tyres should be inflated to. Checking your tyres’ pressure is quick and simple, and you can do this by using a digital tyre pressure gauge. You can pick one of these devices up from a garage and keep it in your car or at home.
3. Wear & Tear
To keep your tyres in good condition, you should into the habit of inspecting them regularly. If you notice anything unusual, get it looked at by a professional and replace if needed. When you’re checking them over, make sure you look at the surface of the tyre and use your hand to feel for anything that might be stuck in the rubber. You should also inspect them for cuts, bulges, and signs of cracking.