11% of all MOTs fail due to faulty tyres. Will your’s pass?
With a whopping 11% of all MOT fails caused by faulty tyres, it’s worth taking a moment to understand why, and how you can help prevent this from happening to you. In our latest tyre safety article, we go through what you should look out for, so as to avoid an MOT tyre fail. We start with worn tyre treads:
What are worn tyre treads?
Tyre treads are the grooves in the rubber compound which help to remove water from between the tyre itself and the road, enabling traction. It’s this grip that allows motorists to brake, steer and accelerate – all the things you need to keep the car under control, and the people in and around it safe and sound. If the treads are too worn, the tyres are actively dangerous, which is why there’s a legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in the UK.
Avoiding a tyre tread wear fail
A shallow, shiny tyre surface is sure-fire indication that your tyre treads are too worn. You may also be driving on illegal tyres (which if discovered by the police will result in a £2,500 fine, and 3 penalty points PER TYRE). To ensure you’re tyres are UK road legal, simply place a 20p piece inside the tyre treads (along different places across the tyre’s width) and if you can see any part of the coin’s outer rim, it’s not only time to think about a new set of tyres, it’s time to act – now – because they’re not only illegal, they’re incredibly dangerous for you, your passengers, and other road users.
1. Regularly check your tyre pressures
How to prolong the life of your tyres
If they’ve been inflated at the correct level, your tyres will wear evenly, and as a result they’ll be safer and more fuel efficient too.
2. Don’t go near part-worn tyres
Council Trading Standards teams have increasingly reported discovering part-worn tyres that are being sold with both unsafe repairs and incorrect labelling. This imperils motorists, and frankly they’re just not worth risking your life for. And because they’re second hand, they’ll wear down faster than new premium brand tyres, like Continentals
, because virtualy all of the tread will have already been used by the original owner.
3. All good things must come to an end
Ultimately, no matter how safely you drive, all tyres – even if they’re correctly inflated – will wear down gradually over time. The trick is to make sure they don’t wear unevenly, and that you regularly check them. This should ensure you have sufficient tread, and that your tyres are always road legal.
Tyre sidewall bulges and cuts – what are they?
Sidewalls are vital for vehicle stability and driver safety – they take all the strain and energy that’s created when you drive – and keep your vehicle stable. That’s why – as with tyre treads – it’s important to regularly check your tyre sidewalls. If you notice a slight tear, a small nick, bubbles or bulges on the sidewall, the alarm bells should be ringing, since it’s usually a sign of serious damage to your tyre’s structure. You’re at risk of a blowout or serious accident if you ignore sidewall damage, and if an MOT inspector sees damage like this it will result in an immediate fail.
Tyre sidewall in excellent condition
Tyre sidewall with a visible nick in the rubber
Tyre sidewall showing dangerous bulging
1. Try not to bump into kerbs
How to best avoid tyre sidewall damage
A significant amount of sidewall damage begins with rough bangs against a kerb or pavement. If this happens too often – resulting in you regularly scuffing the tyres when, for instance, parking – this may well lead to long-term sidewall problems. Best avoided.
2. Stear clear of potholes in the road
Sure, this is often easier said than done, but any bangs and scrapes from collisions with potholes will ultimately damage your tyre sidewalls. Avoid them at all costs.
3. Ensure that you maintain the right tyre pressures
When there isn’t sufficient air in your tyres – or too much – the sidewalls are exposed to even more pressure, because they’re having to compensate to keep your car stable. Over time, this can cause premature wear to the tyre structure, endangering the tyre’s integrity. Regularly check your tyre pressures, and ensure they are correct.
4. Oil – the enemy of safe tyres
If you find that you’ve spill petrol on your tyres, or discover that you’ve driven through some really nasty water, it’s vital that you clean off whatever’s left on the tyres. Water and washing up liquid should do the trick. If you don’t do this, prolonged exposure to solvents and oils will soften the rubber compound, and will eventually damage the structure of the sidewall. Clean them.
5. Clear away any objects or debris
While undertaking your MOT, inspectors will be on the lookout for any damage caused by debris – particularly sharp objects. If you don’t remove these, and they’re left to linger, they can cause lasting damage, such as punctures and sidewall failures. The sooner you prise them out, the less chance there’ll be of any lasting damage. Inspect your tyres regularly.
Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) work by using sensors that are embeded into your tyres to measure their pressures. If your tyre pressure drops, or is too high, a warning light appears on the dashboard, bring this to your attention. And while all modern vehicles have TPMS fitted as standard, what the majority of drivers aren’t aware of is that these systems are also inspected as part of the MOT, and – if found malfunctioning – will result in an MOT fail. To avoid this, be sure you get your TPMS checked during your next vehicle service, and whenever you change your tyres.
Ask an expert – talk to Protyre
Carrying out regular visual checks and maintenance will help you to prevent an MOT tyre fail. A little care and attention will also help to prolong the life of your tyres, and as a result save you fuel and – most importantly of all – keep you and those around you safer on the road.
If you’re in any doubt as to whether your tyres are damaged, or are at risk of failing an MOT, speak with your local Protyre professionals. They‘ll provide you with impartial, expert advice about tyre safety, expert fitting services and solutions.
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