20 per cent of Tyres Illegal
Data from the NTDA’s TyreCheck survey shows that just under 20 per cent of tyres are not replaced until the tread depth is worn to below 1.6mm. Members of the association inspected over 10,000 cars brought into their premises during the period of the TyreCheck. All the tyres, including the spare, were checked for tread depth, visual condition and pressure.
As well as 20 per cent of the tyres being illegal, a further 31 per cent of the tyres were below 2mm, which means that over 50 per cent of tyres are borderline illegal and below the association’s recommended minimum of 3mm. The position of each tyre on the car was also noted and, predictably, the front tyres were more likely to be illegal than the rear, with the percentage increasing to 23 per cent.
7 per cent of the tyres removed from cars were also illegal because the tyres were damaged, although the good news was that nearly 80 per cent of tyres removed were in good condition, without any visual damage.
When it came to tyre pressures, around 65 per cent of the tyres were inflated to the correct pressure. Around 22 per cent were under-inflated by at least 3psi, 9 points higher than the percentage which proved to be over-inflated. 40 per cent of spares tested were under inflated.
Association chairman, John Tarbox commented: “This is the first time the association has organised a nationwide TyreCheck programme since 2001 and it is very disappointing to see that the number of illegal tyres uncovered by the survey has doubled in just four years. Considering the valid safety message contained within the association’s recommendation to change tyres at 3mm, it is worrying to discover that the majority of tyres are replaced when well beyond this limit. Tyre pressures are also a matter of concern, with many motorists unwilling or perhaps unable to inflate their tyres correctly. Wrongly inflated tyres will wear out more quickly, affect the handling of the vehicle and possibly increase fuel bills.”