Fleet News

"Half of the tyres we remove are illegal", warns ATS Euromaster tyre technician

A technician at a tyre and vehicle maintenance centre in Dorset is urging motorists to check the condition of their tyres ahead of the May half‐term. With many families planning on taking long journies as part of their holidays, the risks are obvious.

Darren Rankin of ATS Euromaster, who has worked in the motor trade for nearly eight years, warns that more than half of the tyres he and his colleagues have replaced in his Kinson depot this year have had less than 1.6mm of tread remaining – meaning they were illegal when customers drove onto the forecourt. He blames a rise in the number of vehicles on the road with low profile and wider tyres, which makes it more difficult for drivers to check the inside edge of the tread.

“At a quick glance the tyres may look ok, but if the tracking is out – a common result of hitting a kerb or pothole – then the tread on the inside may have completely worn away, right down to the steel cords. Often a driver won’t realise until it’s too late.”

A bald tyre, or one with the steel cords visible, is a ticking time bomb which risks losing its structure with every rotation. As the only part of a vehicle in contact with the road’s surface, the impact upon vehicle handling and stopping distances is significant.

Rankin also blames the economic climate for pushing locals to run their tyres for longer. “We frequently see motorists who have tightened their belts and will do pretty much anything to avoid buying a new tyre. Even when we point to rubber which is at or just below the legal limit, they’ll sometimes elect to keep it fitted a little bit longer.

“All we can do is provide honest and expert advice – we’re not the Police, we can’t force them to fit new tyres. But all drivers should know that if they’re involved in an accident, an illegal tyre can void their vehicle insurance policy, potentially leaving them without cover.”

ATS Euromaster reminded motorists that they can visit any ATS Euromaster centre for a free tyre safety check – with no obligation, and no appointment required.

Click here for tyres best practice and procurement insight

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


  • Bob the Engineer - 19/05/2015 08:12

    Until I went from expensed to leased company car my tyres were always changed in good time. Now like many high mileage drivers forced to try and catch that silly zone between 1.9 mm and 1.6 mm and having to run the gauntlet of regular wasted trips to Nitwit tyres only to be told 'nah not low enough yet mate, come back in 500 miles (or every 2 days for many of us!)' so no wonder many go on until they are sure its at the point it will be a one off visit. Meanwhile since they went below 3mm pray for another day without any standing rain and your date with a ditch. If it were offered as an option by lease companies I would gladly pay a little extra for a change at 3mm option on my car.

    • Mike B - 19/05/2015 15:09

      Good point Bob, according to tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers' Association, braking distance in wet weather of a tyre with only 1.6mm of tread depth is almost 12m longer than a new tyre from 50mph. - See more at: http://www.tyresafe.org/tyre-safety/part-worn-tyres/part-worn-tyre-safety#sthash.t9Nri9Zm.dpuf. Is it worth the risk holding out for a few more days?

      • Mike B - 19/05/2015 15:11

        Sorry, correct link is http://www.tyresafe.org/tyre-safety/part-worn-tyres/part-worn-tyre-safety

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee