How dodgy tyres could cost you £10,000 and see you banned from driving

How dodgy tyres could cost you £10,000 and see you banned from driving
How dodgy tyres could cost you £10,000 and see you banned from driving

October is Tyre Safety month and drivers around the country are being urged to stay on top of car maintenance to stay safe and avoid a potentially huge penalty.

Tyre makers and safety campaigners are emphasising the importance of checking tyres for wear, damage and even under-inflation to staying safe and keeping your licence.

Driving with an unroadworthy tyre carries a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre. So, if all four of your car’s tyres fall below the legal standard you could end up forking out £10,000.

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The 12 penalty points that could accompany such a fine are enough to trigger an automatic driving ban as well.

As if that’s not enough bad news, should you be involved in an accident while driving on defective tyres your insurer may refuse to pay out on any claim.

Legal minimum

For a car, the legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the width of the tyre. However, most motoring experts, including the RAC, recommend that tyres should be replaced once the tread drops to 3mm.

As tyres reach the end of their lives the level of grip they offer reduces, affecting steering and lengthening stopping distances.

They are the only part of the car in direct contact with the road so a dodgy tyre can make losing control more likely and put you and your passengers at serious risk. According to government data, tyre failure was the most common reason for crashes in 2016.

illegal tyres
Driving with a bald tyre carries a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points as well as being dangerous

Checks

If you don’t have tread gauge at home, the RAC recommends using a 20p piece to check your tread depth at least once a month. Insert the coin into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band of the coin face, your tyres are above the legal limit. If you can see the band, your tyres could be unsafe and you should get them replaced.

As well as tread depth, any cuts or bulges in the tyre could be deemed unsafe and see you penalised so it’s worth following this guide to checking your tyres regularly.

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