PCL warns: Unroadworthy tyres are still illegal and dangerous

PCL warns: Unroadworthy tyres are still illegal and dangerous

Tyre inflation firm PCL is warning motorists they could still face penalties for driving on dangerous tyres tyres following the government MOT extensions.

While MOTs due on or after 30 March, have been delayed for six months, drivers must still ensure all vehicles are safe to drive or they could receive a £2,500 fine, three penalty points and a ban for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition. The fine and points can be applied per tyre, which would mean 12 points and disqualification.

More importantly, driving with unroadworthy tyres can cost lives, therefore making sure the tyres on your car have the correct pressure and tread depth is vital.

PCL advises drivers to:

  • Check tyres every month, or before each journey if during lockdown your car isn’t driven very often.
  • Check tyre pressure using a reliable and accurate tyre pressure gauge. This will be specified in your vehicle handbook and may be on a sticker inside the fuel door, on the driver or passenger door, or even inside the glove box.
  • Measure tyres when they are “cold”, i.e. if they have not been driven for more than two miles at speed or have been stationary for at least two hours.
  • Check the tread depth meets the legal minimum across the middle three quarters and entire circumference using a tyre tread depth gauge. For cars, light vans and light trailers the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm (although the RAC and many manufacturers recommend 3mm). For vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes it’s 1mm, and for motorcycles over 50cc it’s 1mm across three-quarters of the width of the tread pattern and a visible tread on the remaining quarter. Motorcycles up to 50cc are required to have all grooves of the original tyre pattern clearly visible.
  • If you don’t have a tyre tread depth gauge, place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If you can’t see the raised edge of the coin then the tread is most likely above the legal limit.

– Check the overall condition of the tyres. If you see any cuts that reveal the internal structure, or any bulges, take the car to a garage. A bulge indicates internal structural damage and the tyre must be replaced.


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Tread depth is essential to keep a vehicle in contact with the road in wet conditions and it remains a legal requirement, despite the introduction of a six-month exemption on MoT for Britain’s motorists. TyreSafe is reminding motorists that a tyre being driven below 1.6mm is illegal and if found by the police could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and three-points being added to a driver’s licence – per tyre.
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