Recent figures have shown that some motorists are waiting longer than they should before they replace their worn down tyres. The data which has been produced from the largest tyre fitting cente in the United Kingdom revealed that a lot of people even wait until their tyres are illegal before having them replaced. Between March of this year and March 2012, 57% of 39,676 tyres that were removed had less than 1.6 mm of tread. This means that 21,719 illegal tyres were removed. In 2008, this figure was only 15%, which of course suggests that the recession has caused a lot of motorists to wait that little bit longer before having new tyres fitted.

2,500 penalty and 3 points for illegal tyres

A spokesperson for Micheldever’s wholesale Alan Baldwin explained that it must be a direct result of the current climate, consumers are delaying the purchase of tyres wherever they can. United Kingdom motorists are said to unfortunately not regard tyres with the same importance as drivers in Germany. The Road Vehicles Construction and Use regulations act from 1986 says that there must be a minimum of 1.6mm in a continuing band throughout the central 3/4 of tread width on a tyre. You could face a £2,500 penalty and 3 points on your licence per illegal tyre, so you could be facing a £10,000 bill and 12 points if all four tyres are found to be illegal.

Breaking performance drops on illegal tyres

The breaking performance of a tyre drops significantly when there is less than 3mm remaining, so it is also extremely risky. A test from 2009 found that a car with tyres that were barely legal took from 30-44 metres longer to stop when driving at 70 miles hour, than tyres with 3mm deep tread, that is the length of almost four cars.

A worrying fact also shows that just 3% of tyres that have been removed in the last year had over 2mm of tread remaining. This is a terrifying amount of drivers who are carrying on with illegal tyres. Baldwin said that it is sad that these figures speak for themselves. In 2011 figures showed that the number of deaths from accidents related to tyres had doubled against the figures from the previous year.