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.