The manager of a tyre and vehicle maintenance centre in Waterloo Road, Manchester, is urging motorists to pay closer attention to their tyres – warning that the number of illegal tyres in circulation on local roads is posing a grave risk to safety.
Paul Duff, a Multi Site Manager for ATS Euromaster, says that nearly 90 per cent of the tyres his team have replaced this year have had less than 1.6mm of tread remaining – meaning they were illegal when customers drove onto the forecourt.
“Tyre safety has got a lot worse in this area over the last five years,” he says. “More vehicles now have low profile tyres and it’s pushing up replacement costs. As a result, some owners stretch to afford the nice car, but then can’t afford to maintain it. Plus you’ve got others who simply never remember to check their tyres.
“Last week a motorist came in with a vibration fault on a family car and we traced the problem to three illegal tyres. The steel cords were showing where the rubber had worn away, but when we pointed it out, she wasn’t interested in replacing them. I wish I could say it was an isolated incident, but it’s become commonplace.”
Paul warns that if the steel cords are visible, a tyre risks losing its structure with every rotation. “As the only part of a vehicle in contact with the road’s surface, it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go off,” he says.
“My team are experts in tyre safety, but all we can do is give honest advice and offer the best deal we can – we’re not the Police, we can’t force drivers to fit new tyres.”
With the May half-term getaway fast approaching, Paul and his team are urging owners to spend a few minutes now, checking their tyres carefully, before making long journeys with their family.
He points out: “A lot of people don’t realise, but if you’re involved in an accident and are found to have an illegal tyre on your car then you risk your insurance policy being declared void, because your vehicle is illegal for road use.”
Paul, 44, has worked at ATS Euromaster since he got a part-time job for the company as a cleaner, aged just 14. Today he manages three ATS Euromaster centres, in Waterloo Road, Rusholme and Stockport – part of a network of 18 centres located within 20 miles of Manchester city centre, and more than 340 nationwide.
ATS Euromaster advises motorists to check their tyre tread depth, condition and pressures at least once a month and before any long journey. Motorists can also call into any ATS Euromaster centre for a free tyre safety check – with no obligation, and no appointment required.
Department for Transport statistics from 2013 show that illegal, defective or underinflated tyres were the most common vehicle defect contributing to accidents in Great Britain where a Police officer attended the scene.
Tyres and the law
If you drive with damaged or extremely worn tyres you risk being fined, receiving points on your driving license, invalidating your vehicle insurance policy and endangering lives.
Car and van tyres must be fit for purpose. This means being compatible with the tyres fitted to the other wheels, not have any lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of the structure, not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the sectional width of the tyre, whichever is the greater, and which is deep enough to reach the ply or cord. Furthermore, no part of the ply or cord can be exposed.
The remaining tread depth must also be at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre three-quarters of the tread and around the entire circumference.
For expert tyre advice visit your local ATS Euromaster centre or www.atseuromaster.co.uk/tyres
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