• Two thirds of drivers don’t know minimum legal tyre tread depth

  • Two thirds of drivers don’t know minimum legal tyre tread depth

    New research has revealed that 69% of company car and van drivers don’t know the correct legal tyre tread depth limit.

    According to the study, by Venson Automotive Solutions, drivers aged 25 to 54 were most likely to be aware of the correct tread depth.  However, 31% said they didn’t bother to check for themselves and relied on their annual MOT to uncover any cause for concern.  Women (38%) were more likely to rely on the MOT than men (25%).  A further 31% said they checked their tyres every six months or so, but 7% only checked their tyre tread before a long car journey.  The conscientious were in the minority, with just 4% of people surveyed saying they checked their tyres once a week.

    Tyre pressure checks were equally overlooked, with 44% saying they only checked before going on a long journey.  Encouragingly, nearly one in four said they did check tyre pressures roughly once a month, but 12% said they rely on their vehicle being serviced to have the pressure checked.

    • Carry out a tyre pressure check at least once a month, before all trips and when the vehicle’s usual load varies.
    • Tread depth must be above the legal minimum of 1.6mm.  Use a 20p coin to measure the depth – if you can see the outer rim, the tyre may need changing.
    • Find the correct pressure for your vehicle in the manual, on the inside ledge of the driver’s door and inside the fuel cap.
    • Know the weight of your load, as this will affect the tyre pressure needed.
    • Tyres must be cold when carrying out a check.
    • Don’t forget to check towed vehicles.
    • During a pressure check, also check the tread and do a visual check for bulges and splits.
    • Check more frequently in the summer, as tyre pressure falls faster in warmer weather.
    • Worn or damaged tyres can affect the safety and handling of a vehicle. If they don’t meet the legal requirements, motorists could face a fine and penalty points on their licence.

    “As well as checking tyre tread and pressure, it’s also important to ensure the correct tyres are fitted for every type of vehicle and use,” Gil Kelly, Operations Director at Venson Automotive Solutions, said.  “For example, a manufacturer may sell a vehicle equipped with a standard road tyre, but if it is being used in a specific environment, such as off road, the tyre will need to be changed.

    “Crucially, drivers need to be aware of the need to inspect their tyres on a regular basis, including the spare.  Not only will this reduce vehicle downtime, but it minimises the risk of breakdowns and even fines if a tyre tread drops below the legal limits.  With a few simple checks, drivers can avoid the risks and businesses can maintain a safer, more efficient fleet.  Firms need to encourage standard inspections, conducted weekly, to reduce the risk of breakdowns and accidents – as well as fines if they go below the legal tread depth of 1.6mm.”