Motorists who fail to keep their car’s tyres up to the correct legal standard could run into a lot of problems while driving. Drivers who fail to check tyres for signs that they may need changing could put you at risk of a serious crash or even an MOT failure. On top of this, faulty tyres can see you land a £2,500 fine and three points per tyre. If you have held your licence for two years or less and have two dodgy tyres you could be banned. Full licence holders could be banned if all four tyres are faulty.
From tread depth and air pressure to lumps and bumps, cars can fail the test thanks to their tyres for a variety of reasons.
Driving around with affected wheels could also mean that the vehicle is more vulnerable to suffering a puncture, or that a dangerous blow-out is just around the corner
Thankfully, motorists can test all sorts of elements and make a number of checks to help reduce the risk of faults.
A spokesperson LeaseCar.uk said: “Drivers are responsible for the safety of themselves, their passengers and other road users.
“But getting behind the wheel without checking you’re tyres are up to scratch and meet the legal requirements could be very dangerous.
“It’s unacceptable for motorists to take chances with wear and tear on their wheels, so we’ve revealed five ways that vehicle owners can tell if their tyres need changing.”
Here are five tips to stay safe:
1. The 20p check
Tread depth helps cars to break safely and is the main reason many vehicles fail their MOT due to tyres. The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK is a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre.
Any less than this and you can not only face a £2,500 fine per tyre, but also three points on your licence. The best way to test the tread depth at home is to insert a 20p coin in each of the grooves, if the outer band on the coin is no longer visible, the tyre meets the legal requirement.
Cracks on the sidewall are the reason behind tyre blowouts. Over time, cracks can appear when the chemicals within the tyre break down. In the summer months, the heat can speed up this chemical reaction.
Travelling with tyre cracks can seriously put you at risk of having a dangerous blowout whilst driving, so it is advisable to check for cracks every two weeks and make sure your tyre pressure is correct according to your car’s handbook.
3. Bumps and bulges
Bumps and bulges on the tyre can happen by driving with a short distance with a flat tyre or by driving over potholes and kerbs.
Bumps and bulges may indicate that the tyre is weak and could fail at any time, so if you see any it is best to go to the garage and purchase new tyres.
4. Check the date
Depending on how often you travel, most tyres begin to show serious signs of wear and tear after five years. To check how long you have had your tyres, look for a small window with four digits inside of it on your tyre.
The first two of the four digits represents what week of the year it was made in, and the last two digits show what year it was made in. For example, ‘4112’ would mean it was made in the 41st week of 2012.
If you happen to be driving along and feel vibrations through your steering wheel or seat, it could mean your tyres are misaligned or damaged.
Although it might not be tyre related, it is definitely best to go to a garage to see a technician who may advise changing your tyres.