Fleets and drivers changing tyres earlier than the legal tread limit are wasting money, harming the environment and potentially impacting on the tyre’s safety performance.
Your single point of contact with the road … it stands to reason these need to be well maintained:
- the right type
- tread depth sufficient, lawful
- no cuts, tears, bulges or imbedded objects
- having the correct pressure for the load being carried
A tyre influences how a vehicle handles, brakes and rides so should be inspected as regularly as practical (every 2 weeks at least). The correct pressure – which might vary from front to rear and according to how much weight a vehicle carries – can be confirmed via a sticker on the a-pillar. If not, consult the manual. Also check for punctures, splits, bulges and cracks. To be legal, a tyre must have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central 75% of its width, and around the circumference. Remember to inspect the spare too. Furthermore, front and rear tyres wear at different rates so equalise the degradation by rotating them every (say) 10,000 miles.
24/04/2018 – Tyre-related deaths and injuries preventable say Highways England and Bridgestone, registered users – click here
Further information about tyres:
- Wheels should also be checked for cracks, particularly where the tyre meets the wheel rim.
- It is recommended that tyres should be changed in pairs – that tyres on the same axel are identical.
- 4×4 vehicles may benefit from a change of all 4 tyres at once ; the manufacturer may recommend or insist upon this.
- Replacement tyres are easily come by and the author has found the ASDA tyres service to be simple (input your VRM to be provided a list of potential tyres that fit your make / model) helpful and efficient CLICK HERE to visit the site. Do check your wheel and the tyre size match.
- 05/2017 – Changing tyres at 3mm “unnecessary”, says Michelin – see below – or click here
- How to deal with a tyre blowout – click here
- 10/2016 -First reported UK Bridgestone DriveGuard puncture caused by roadside debris – click here for the article
- A survey of vehicles presented for tyre replacement which revealed approximately 1 in 4 had illegal tyres i.e. with less 1.6mm tread depth tyresafe-tread-depth-survey-report-2015_pdf
- Breakdown Service report 6% of call-outs are due to punctures i.e. almost 1 in 6. This figure does not include those where the driver decided to attend to the replacement themselves. For the Auto Express report click here
Changing tyres at 3mm “unnecessary”, says Michelin
That’s the view of Michelin as it rejects calls from parts of the tyre industry to increase the minimum legal tread depth from 1.6mm to 3mm. Kwik Fit recently highlighted how almost three-quarters (73%) of the UK’s police, fire and ambulance services change their vehicles tyres at a tread depth of 2.6mm to 3mm, and urged drivers to follow suit. Yet Michelin says there is no link between tread depths at 1.6mm and increasing accident rates, and adds that driver safety on dry roads can actually improve as their tyres get worn.
In addition, changing tyres at 3mm would cost the motorist money and increase carbon emissions – especially as a tyre becomes more fuel-efficient as it wears. An Ernst & Young report commissioned by Michelin found that changing tyres at 3mm instead of 1.6mm would cost European Union drivers an extra E6.9 billion a year in unnecessary tyre purchases and additional fuel consumption. Changing tyres too early would result in 128 million additional tyres being used a year in Europe – which would cause nine million tons of additional CO2 emissions every year.
Instead, Michelin is calling for a change to the tyre testing regime to reflect wet braking performance at 1.6mm. Although all tyres legally sold in Europe must meet a minimum standard for wet braking when new, Michelin tests have shown that the wet braking capabilities of some tyres reduce quickly when worn, and may fall below this ‘minimum standard’ requirement. In response, the tyre specialist is calling on industry test bodies and consumer organisations to start comparing and testing tyres when they are worn to the legal limit.