The AA has launched its first professional mobile tyre fitting service, AA Tyres.
New AA research shows that tens of thousands of drivers are potentially putting lives at risk because they rarely check the pressure, tread depth and condition of their tyres and rely on a garage to tell them when their tyres need changing.
The new mobile tyre service is a collaboration with mobile tyre fitting firm Event Tyres. AA-liveried vehicles are being rolled out, each equipped to change tyres, carry out puncture repairs and wheel balancing at a location convenient to the driver. Both retail and commercial contracts are offered.
According to the AA-Populus research among 18,806 AA members, fewer than half of drivers (43%) check their tyre pressures at a recommended two-weekly interval, while a quarter (25%) leave a tyre pressure check for two months or more. And 3% said they never check their tyres.
The research also showed that two-thirds of women (65%) and a third of men (36%) rely on their garage to warn them that their tyres need changing – when the vehicle is being serviced or having an MOT.
Drivers check the tread depth or the condition of their tyres less frequently. Just 28% said they hadn’t done so for two months or more, and 4% said they'd never checked.
David Bruce, director of AA Tyres, said that many drivers take tyres for granted.
“Tyres aren’t ‘optional extras’ – the four small patches or rubber, each the size of your hand, are the only parts of the car that touch the road. If they’re worn, poorly inflated or damaged then you really are dicing with death.
“The latest Department for Transport statistics show that there are over 650 injury accidents per year directly attributable to defective tyres. And according to Ministry of Justice figures, a whopping 170 drivers a week are prosecuted for defective tyres.
Those figures exclude possibly thousands of collisions where stopping distances might have been compromised by poorly inflated or worn tyres or cornering control has been lost for the same reason.
“Tyres are the second most costly vehicle consumable expense after fuel, yet our research suggests that drivers just don’t pay the attention to them that they should.”
Bruce suggested that attention to tyres is often neglected simply because drivers can’t afford an hour or more off work or spare time to drive to a tyre depot and wait for the work to be carried out, so they put off the visit – sometimes until it’s too late.
He added: “AA Tyres brings the depot to the driver and at a place of their choosing.
“It cuts an hour or more to just a few minutes. Payment is taken securely online at the time of booking using the very latest SSL encryption.
Mark Shankland, managing director of Event Tyres said: “We’re certain that this is the future for tyre repair and replacement.
“Event Tyres has gradually expanded across England since it was formed in 2003 and this new and creative relationship from the AA will see more investment in expanding the business.
“People are increasingly used to buying things online, thanks to the likes of Amazon and online grocery retailers. The concept works particularly well with tyres because it has such huge potential in terms of convenience saving drivers’ time.
"Customers place their order with AA Tyres online, arranging a time and place for the work to be carried out. It’s quick, convenient, and thanks to the absence of costly premises overheads, prices are extremely competitive."