Kwik Fit | Monday 7th September 2015 11:38am
Regular checks could save drivers time and money from MOT checks. Make sure you're maintaining and changing your vehicle tyres beforehand. Find out more.
Research from Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, reveals that 3.6 million motorists wait until an MOT failure before changing their tyres.1
Kwik Fit warns that not only can illegal tyres leave motorists risking three penalty points and £2,500 in fines but, even more importantly, can seriously compromise their vehicle’s safety and handling. With the end of summer approaching and the weather turning colder and wetter, drivers should think carefully about their tyre health and not leave it until the MOT test for them to be checked.
The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on car tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre. However, tyre performance deteriorates well before reaching this limit. At 1.6 millimetres in wet weather it takes almost 40 per cent further to stop at 50 mph than it does at 7mm. This is equivalent to 8 car lengths of reduced stopping distance.
Roger Griggs, Communications Director at Kwik Fit said: “With vehicles being increasingly sophisticated in monitoring their own maintenance intervals, drivers are often leaving it to their cars to warn them of potential issues. Motorists should realise that responsibility for vehicle health and safety lies directly in their hands. Without proper care, motorists could land themselves either in legal trouble or in an incident on the road.
Prioritise tyre maintenance
“Tyres should be the number one priority for drivers – after all, they are the only part of a car which keeps it on the road. Even though a tyre is legal at 1.6 millimetres of tread, it will not have much grip on the road and travelling in adverse weather conditions can be treacherous. That’s why leading tyre manufacturers recommend that drivers change their tyres at 3mm of tread depth to maintain optimum performance. It’s very worrying that so many drivers let their tread depth drop so low and leave it to the MOT to check – after all that could be up to a year away.”
Why you shouldn’t wait until you reach the minimum tread depth
The tread in your tyres is what allows water to be channeled away from them when you’re driving in wet conditions. This allows the raised parts of the tyre to be in contact with the floor at all times. However, when you consider that many puddles on the road are likely to be deeper than 1.6mm, having this tread depth means that your tyres won’t be able to channel water away – so your tyres can only be in contact with the top of the puddle.
This leads to ‘aquaplaning’ – where you essentially skid across the top of the puddle and completely lose control of the vehicle while doing so. This can be very dangerous.
And even when not aquaplaning, the reduced contact with the ground at 1.6mm tread depth actually increases the stopping distance in wet conditions significantly – by around 8 meters at 50mph, and significantly more at faster speeds.
Replacing your tyres at 3mm tread depth effectively halves the chance of aquaplaning. You may be legally allowed to leave it until lower, but you’re putting yourself and others at risk.
Kwik Fit will check your tyres as a free service so you have the best chance of passing your vehicle MOT check.
MOT testing is not a vehicle health check
While you can assess some aspects of a vehicle’s health through MOT testing, it’s not really a vehicle health check – it’s a vehicle safety check. Essentially, it checks that your vehicle meets the bare minimum requirements for road safety.
However, just because a tyre passed an MOT check doesn’t mean that it’s roadworthy 6 months later – and it’s entirely up to you to make sure that it is.
What do we do with old tyres?
When you have your tyres replaced at Kwik Fit, we actually recycle all of them through a partnership with Murfitts Industries Ltd. This is an environmentally healthy way to repurpose unuseable road tyres into raw material for things such as rubber sports pitches or playground surfaces.
Book a tyre replacement today
If you’re unsure about the depth of tyre tread, you can try the 20p test. To do this, place a 20p coin into the treads of your tyres – if you can see the outer band of the coin then you should have your tyres replaced.
And if you need your tyres replaced, have the work done with people you can trust.
Note to editors
1. Research carried out by ICM amongst 2,003 UK adults. 79% of UK adult population has at least one car. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria based on a UK adult population of 50,502,000 adults
About Kwik Fit
Established in 1971, the Kwik Fit Group is one of the largest independent automotive parts, repair and replacement specialists in the world. Kwik Fit has over 600 service centres across the UK and more than 200 mobile tyre fitting vehicles, making it the UK's leading tyre, exhaust, brake and MOT specialist.
For further information please contact:
Amrit Nijjer / Antonia Green
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 020 7282 2803 / 020 7282 2967