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Published by MOT Llandudno, this must-read guide takes you through easy to follow steps to ensure your tyres perform as they should and keep you safe on the road.

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must read guide to tyre safety measures

MUST READ GUIDE TO

TYRE SAFETY

MEASURES

Published by MOT Llandudno

the majority of us understand the basics of tyre

The majority of us understand the basics of tyre safety, so why do we

wait until our MOT to be told we need new tyres? According to the

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), between April 2015 and

March 2016, over 2 million class 3 and 4 vehicles (cars and light vans up

to 3,000 kg) failed their MOT due to defective tyres.

Dangerous and illegal tyres account for one in four MOT failures.

As the only point of contact with the road, it is important to understand

how the condition of your tyres can affect your vehicles safety and its

performance.

having over or under inflated tyres even

Having over or under inflated tyres, even by one bar, can reduce a cars

fuel efficiency and it is estimated that British motorists may be

unnecessarily spending up to £600 million on fuel because of incorrect

tyre pressures. In addition to reduced fuel efficiency, having incorrect

tyre pressure may reduce the longevity of your tyres. It can also affect

your cars road handling, increase the vehicles stopping distance and

consequentially, the likelihood of being involved in a road traffic accident

is greater.

stopping distances

STOPPING

DISTANCES

the distance your vehicle takes to stop will

The distance your vehicle takes to stop will depend on your attention,

weather conditions, the road surface, your vehicle and the condition

of its tyres. Typical stopping distances, as published by the Highway

Code are as follows:

in wet weather stopping distances are doubled

In wet weather, stopping distances are doubled, in icy conditions they are

multiplied by 10. If your tyres are worn to their legal limit of 1.6mm, your

vehicles stopping distance can be increased by as much as 60%.

Shockingly, statistics compiled by The Department for Transport (2014)

reveal that, where vehicle defects were a contributory factor to reported

fatal road accidents, 56% were due to illegal, defective or under inflated

tyres.

If these statistics alone aren’t enough to get you running outside to check

your tyres, then we don’t know what is but, if you’re unsure of what to

check for, we’ve devised this useful tyre safety guide, so you don’t have to

become statistic!

the legal requirement for a tyre tread depth

The legal requirement for a tyre tread depth is a minimum of 1.6mm

across the central three-quarters of the tyre. The tread must meet this

requirement around the tyres’ entire circumference.

Checking your tyre tread depth is a task you should perform regularly.

Follow our simple techniques for a quick and pain free solution:

tyre tread wear indicators

TYRE TREAD

WEAR

INDICATORS

Most tyre manufacturers now produce

tyres with tread wear indicators. These are

small, raised ‘nodes’ that are evenly spaced

around the circumference of the tyre,

within the main tread grooves. If the tyre

has worn to a point that the ‘node’ is flush

with the outer tread, it means the tyre is

below its legal limit and needs replacing.

as you can imagine this test involves using

As you can imagine, this test involves using

a 20p coin. Simply place the coin in the

main tread grooves of the tyre. If the tyre is

above the legal limit, the outer band of the

20p will be hidden from view, within the

tread of the tyre. If the outer band is

visible, the tread depth may be illegal and

the tyre may need replacing. It is important

to check several locations on each tyre as

they can wear unevenly, particularly if the

pressure is incorrect.

THE 20P TEST

Source: https://www.tyresafe.org/tyre-safety/tread-depth/

tyre depth gauges offer a quick and simple method

Tyre depth gauges offer a quick and simple

method of checking the thread depth of

your tyres. There are variations in price

depending on the sophistication of the

model you choose. A manual gauge can be

picked-up for under £1 or, if you’re a gadget

type of person, a digital gauge (many

include a tyre pressure checker) can set

you back about £10. Either device will give

you a good indication as to how legal the

tread depth is on your tyres.

BUY A

GADGET

how the tread pattern of your tyre is wearing

How the tread pattern of your tyre is wearing is a good indication as to

the overall health of your vehicles suspension components, the

alignment of your wheels and if the tyres are under or over inflated.

Abnormal tyre wear can occur for a number of different reasons, below

are examples of the most common problems to look out for:

tyres with insufficient air will wear more

Tyres with insufficient air will wear more

quickly on the outer edges compared to

the central area of the tyre. Under inflation

causes a dip in the centre of the tyre

meaning the outer edge, and potentially the

wheel rim, are more susceptible to damage.

UNDERINFLATED

TYRES

the centre of the tyre tread will appear more

The centre of the tyre tread will appear

more worn if your tyres have too much air.

Overinflating causes the tyre to bulge in

the middle, meaning there is less surface

area in contact with the road, which not

only makes for an uncomfortable ride but

also reduces grip.

OVERINFLATED

TYRES

you should check your tyre pressures regularly

You should check your tyre pressures regularly to ensure they meet the

manufacturers guidelines. The correct tyre pressures for your car can be

found in your vehicle handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or on the

driver’s door sill. Alternatively, TyreSafe have devised a useful tyre

pressure checker on their website, all you need is your car make and

model. It’s also worth noting, when shifting heavy loads, your tyre

pressure will need increasing, recommended settings can be found in

your vehicle handbook.

these are the angles of the wheels camber

These are the angles of the wheels; camber

is the lean of the wheel away from the

vehicle when viewed from the front, toe is

the direction the tyres point relative to the

centre of the vehicle. If the tyres are

excessively worn on the outer edge,

positive camber and/or toe-in are the likely

suspects. If the tread is worn on the inside

edge of the tyre then negative camber and/

or toe-out is the issue. With toe-in and

toe-out you may also feel a feathered effect

when running your hand along the tread.

CAMBER

AND TOE

if you suspect your car is suffering from

If you suspect your car is suffering from a camber and/or toe problem,

don’t panic, a simple wheel alignment by a reputable garage should fix

the issue. Misalignment can happen when we accidently hit a kerb, drive

through a pothole, or it could be the result of worn suspension

components, whatever the reason, it’s definitely worth getting it checked

out.

if you notice cups or dips around the edge

If you notice cups or dips around the edge

of the tread, or if you experience a tyre

wobble or vibration when driving over

40-50 mph, one or more of your tyres

could be out of balance with the others.

BALANCE

wheel balancing is a straightforward

Wheel balancing is a straightforward job for any reputable garage. The

technician will place small weights at specific points around the edge of

the wheel to ensure that the weight of the wheel and tyre is even

around the axis. If a re-balance doesn’t fix the issue, then the problem

could be more serious, such as weakened struts or shock-absorbers,

your garage will be able to advise.

stones and grit can be troublesome for tyres

Stones and grit can be troublesome for

tyres. If debris becomes embedded in the

tread, it can work its way into the casing of

the tyre and result in a puncture. Remove

all debris and if you suspect any damage, no

matter how small, it’s advisable to get the

tyre checked by a specialist.

DEBRIS

potholes speed bumps and kerbs can damage

Potholes, speed bumps and kerbs can

damage the structural integrity of the tyre

sidewall. If the sidewall becomes weakened,

air leaks from inside the tyre through to

the carcass creating a visible lump or bulge.

If you find a lump or bulge in your tyre

sidewall, it is unlikely that it will be

repairable so expect to have to replace the

tyre.

LUMPS

AND BULGES

a tear cut or crack in your tyre doesn

A tear, cut or crack in your tyre doesn’t

necessarily mean it has to be replaced. In

some cases, depending on the severity, a

repair can be carried out. This type of

damage is often caused by that pesky

debris, or it may be just plain old age

weakening the rubber. When inspecting for

tears, cuts and cracks make sure to check

between the tread grooves. If you discover

nylon cords poking through any damage on

the tyre, the internal structure may have

been compromised so DO NOT drive the

vehicle without first changing the tyre.

TEARS, CUTS AND

CRACKS

the lifespan of a tyre cannot be determined

The lifespan of a tyre cannot be determined by a single factor. Heat,

storage and the conditions of use all influence how tyres age but if your

tyres are approaching five years old, it’s advisable to keep close eye on

their condition and consider replacing them. To identify the date your

tyre was manufactured, and establish its age, a four-digit code is

imprinted on the tyre sidewall. Sometimes proceeded by ‘DOT’, the first

two digits of the date stamp represent the week of manufacture and the

second two digits signify the year of production. The tyre below was

made in the 6th week of 2013.

date of tyre manufacture

DATE OF TYRE

MANUFACTURE

Source: https://aston1936.com/2016/01/15/inspecting-the-tires-on-an-aston-martin-db9/

signs of damage to a tyre such as lumps bulges

Signs of damage to a tyre, such as lumps, bulges, tears, cuts or cracks can

be extremely dangerous and may put you at risk from a tyre blowout. If

you are in any doubt contact a tyre specialist.

the size of your tyres must be in accordance

The size of your tyres must be in accordance to your vehicle

manufacturers handbook. The handbook may specify a different size for

the front and rear, but tyres fitted to the same axel must be of the same

size. Once you know the correct tyre size for your vehicle, check this

matches the size currently fitted, the tyre size will be printed on the

sidewall of your tyres.

Fitting an incorrect tyre size can result in an MOT failure!


this is displayed in millimetres so for our tyre

This is displayed in millimetres so for our

tyre above marked 195, the measurement

across the tread from sidewall to sidewall

will be 195mm.

WIDTH

also known as the aspect ratio this is the height

Also known as the aspect ratio, this is the

height of the tyre sidewall, expressed as a

percentage of the tyre width. For our tyre

above its 55, meaning that the profile height

of the tyre is 55% of its width.

PROFILE

these two digits represent the size of the wheel

These two digits represent the size of the

wheel rim that a tyre can be fitted to. For

our example, the rim diameter is 16, so this

tyre will fit on a 16-inch wheel rim.

RIM DIAMETER

load per tyre kg

Load

Per

Tyre

(KG)

Load

Per

Tyre

(KG)

Load

Per

Tyre

(KG)

Load

Per

Tyre

(KG)

Load

Per

Tyre

(KG)

Load

Index

Load

Index

Load

Index

Load

Index

Load

Index

 

 

 

 

62

265

 

75

387

 

88

560

 

101

825

 

114

1180

LOAD INDEX

63

272

 

76

400

 

89

580

 

102

850

 

115

1215

64

280

 

77

412

 

90

600

 

103

875

 

116

1250

65

290

 

78

425

 

91

615

 

104

900

 

117

1285

66

300

 

79

437

 

92

630

 

105

925

 

118

1320

67

307

 

80

450

 

93

650

 

106

950

 

119

1360

68

315

 

81

462

 

94

670

 

107

975

 

120

1400

69

325

 

82

475

 

95

690

 

108

1000

 

121

1450

70

335

 

83

487

 

96

710

 

109

1030

 

122

1500

71

345

 

84

500

 

97

730

 

110

1060

 

123

1550

72

355

 

85

515

 

98

750

 

111

1090

 

124

1600

73

365

 

86

530

 

99

775

 

112

1120

 

125

1650

74

375

 

87

545

 

100

800

 

113

1150

 

126

1700

speed rating

Speed Rating

Miles Per Hour

Kilometres Per Hour

TYRE SPEED

RATING

N

87

140

P

93

150

Q

99

160

R

106

170

S

112

180

T

118

190

U

124

200

H

130

210

V

149

240

Z

150+

240+

W

168

270

Y

186

300

legally tyres of the same construction must

Legally, tyres of the same construction must be fitted to the same axel.

There are two basic types of tyre construction; radial and cross-ply, each

has its own unique set of characteristics:

invented by michelin in 1946 the construction

Invented by Michelin in 1946, the

construction of a radial tyre allows the

tread and sidewall to act independently,

giving flexibility, strength and greater

control over the direction of travel. The

majority of tyres manufactured today are of

radial construction.

RADIAL

generally cross ply tyres are only used

Generally, cross-ply tyres are only used on

vehicles that work in extreme terrain as

they have a rigid sidewall construction

which protects against sidewall punctures

from tree stumps or sharp rocks. A cross-

ply tyre has a relatively low speed rating,

meaning if you are travelling at motorway

speeds over a period of time, you could

experience a blow-out.

CROSS-PLY

the construction of your tyres can be determined

The construction of your tyres can be determined by the printing on

the sidewall. If there is an ‘R’ between the profile and rim diameter (as

shown in the diagram above), the tyre will be of radial construction, if

there is a – between these two elements, the tyre will be of cross-ply

construction.

during an mot tyres and wheels will be inspected

During an MOT, tyres and wheels will be inspected to check for the type

of structure, the overall condition of the tyre, the size and the tread –

pattern, breadth and depth. Spare wheels and tyres are not checked

during the MOT process unless they are fitted to the vehicle. If, at the

time of MOT, for some reason you have a ‘temporary use’ wheel fitted

to your vehicle, the MOT test will be failed.

Vehicles first used on or after 1st January 2012 will also have their Tyre

Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) checked during the MOT to make

sure it is still working. Your vehicle will fail its MOT if a TPMS warning

light is displayed on the dashboard at the time of testing.

tyre pressure monitoring system

TYRE PRESSURE

MONITORING

SYSTEM

the tpms is a safety feature that automatically

The TPMS is a safety feature that automatically measures the

pressure and, in some cases, the temperature of your tyres.

There are two types of TPMS:

this type does not have physical air pressure

This type does not have physical air pressure

sensors but detects low tyre pressure through

the wheel speed sensors of the vehicles Anti-

lock Braking System. When a tyre is low on

pressure, its rotational speed increases and it is

this difference between the rotational speed of

each individual tyre that the indirect TPMS

system recognises. If your tyres are all equally

deflated, the indirect TPMS will not detect any

difference between each tyres rate of

revolution so you will not be alerted to an

under-inflation problem. An indirect TPMS also

requires the vehicle to be driven before an

issue can be detected.

INDIRECT TPMS

within each tyre is a pressure monitoring sensor

Within each tyre is a pressure monitoring

sensor that is able to detect any changes in

individual tyre pressure levels. A direct

TPMS may also provide tyre temperature

readings. This type of system tends to be

more accurate than an indirect TPMS as it

collects data straight from the tyre valves.

Cars manufactured after 2014 will generally

have a direct TPMS fitted.

DIRECT TPMS

the legal stuff

THE


LEGAL STUFF

if caught with defective tyres you could face

If caught with defective tyres you could face a fine of up to £2,500 per

tyre. If all four tyres contravene regulations, you could be slapped with

an enormous £10,000 bill. You will also be rewarded for your defective

tyres with 3 penalty points that will stay on your driving record for 4

years from the date of offence.

Now you know how important tyre safety

is, please don’t leave it to chance or until

your MOT, get out there and get checking.