Irrespective of how old, expensive, infuriating or reliable your new and used car might be, there’s something every vehicle owner should do. Take two minutes out of your weekly routine to ensure you’re not making this one crucial driving error, because not only could your insurance policy be voided, but you could also be putting your and others’ lives in danger!
We’re talking tyres… It can be all too easy to overlook an overworked tyre tread, because it’s not as immediately obvious as a brake light blowing or a fan belt slipping. So you need to make a point get up close and check that your tyres aren’t letting you down! There’s a real reason that this is part of the annual MOT.
Those four black tyres support the entire weight of your car and everything inside it. They bear the brunt of your 3-point turns (6 point turns in trickier spots), your motorway missions and your emergency stops. It’s no wonder they can get worn out more quickly than you might expect. It’s crucial to make sure they are in full working order, or those emergency stops and general grip to the road will become more and more dangerous.
There is a legal requirement for any driver to make sure that their tyres are fit for purpose. That means that (1) they must be suitable for the vehicle and free from any damage or faults that might affect their safety, and (2) they must be maintained at the pressure dictated by the vehicle manufacturer and tyre manufacturer.
To be crystal clear, any of the following problems would immediately contravene the first requirement:
– Tyres which are incompatible with each other, and/or of different sizes on the same axle
– Any exposed cord or ply
– Any tear, rip, bulge or lump which has come about from partial failure or separation of the structure
– Any tear, rip or cut greater than 25mm, deep enough to access the cord or ply (or 10% of the tyre’s sectional width – whichever measurement is larger)
– Tread depth which is below the legal minimum for the type of vehicle
If you are looking for a quote on a motor trade insurance policy, you could save up to 67.5% with Unicom. Click here to get a quote that could save you £££’s
Most of the above criteria can be checked with a simple visual inspection, but you’ll need to be more precise when checking the tread depth. An easy trick is to use a 20p coin, as the border around the image on the coin is 3mm wide – close to the minimum requirement for tyre tread. Just insert the coin into the gaps in the tread at a few different points around each tyre, and if the border of the coin is still visible, then you need to get new tyres. For a more accurate way to check, you can buy an inexpensive tread depth gauge. Many tyres also have wear indicators built into the ridges, so make it a habit to check on them. If they become flush with the tyre surface, then they are ready to be replaced.
Drivers should be clear on who’s responsible for vehicle maintenance, so check with your employer if you’re uncertain. As with anything in the motor trade, it always helps to have a reliable garage or mechanic. If you have any doubts about your tyres, ask a trusted professional to take a look for you. It could be the most important thing you do today.