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Tyre safety

Whatever you’re driving, the condition of your tyres is critical for your safety as they’re the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road.

Motorcycles

  • Check your tyre pressures from cold at least once a week using an accurate gauge.
  • Inflate tyres to the pressure recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook.
  • Inspect tyres for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded in the tread.
  • Check that your tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc)
  • If your rims are cracked or bent they should be replaced immediately.
  • Replace old or damaged valve stems.
  • Select the correct type of tyre for your machine and riding style.
  • Check that both tyres fitted to the bike are made by the same manufacturer and have the same tread pattern.
  • Make sure that your tyre has been fitted the right way round by checking the directional arrows on the sidewall.
  • When replacing tube type tyres always use a new inner tube.
  • Make sure your tyre/wheel assembly is balanced correctly.
  • Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal.
  • Keep oil and grease off your tyres using detergent if necessary.
  • If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your motorcycle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified professional.

Cars

Whatever you’re driving, the condition of your tyres is critical for your safety as they’re the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road.  Because your tyres play such a vital role, there are some very important and specific legal requirements relating to their condition and maintenance:

  • Tyres must be fit for purpose and be free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person.
  • Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle and tyre manufacturer's recommended pressure.
  • Be compatible with the types of tyres fitted to the other wheels
  • Not have any lumps, bulges or tears 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.
  • Not have any part of the ply or cord exposed.
  • Car tyres should have a minimum of 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference, however we recommend you have at least 3mm.

Vans

  • Use a reliable and accurate pressure gauge to check the pressure of van tyres at least once a month or before a long trip.
  • Check the pressure in all tyres not forgetting to check any spare tyre(s) as well.
  • Tyre pressure should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended operating pressures for the load being carried.
  • Check the pressure when tyres are cold or when the vehicle has travelled less than two miles.
  • When checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a thorough visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any cuts, lumps or bulges.
  • If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.

Lorries

Safety

When a tyre is under-inflated, heat builds up inside the tyre, which may eventually lead to a sudden tyre deflation. Tyre failure may cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, which is particularly dangerous on motorway carriageways.

Vehicle handling

The tyre is a complex component of a vehicle that has been engineered to work in harmony with the vehicle's sophisticated brake, steering and suspension systems. When a tyre is under-inflated, the tyre contains insufficient air to support the weight of the vehicle properly, which adversely affects acceleration, braking and cornering.

Fuel economy

By keeping tyres at their correct pressure, drivers can travel further on each tank of fuel and help to reduce CO2 emissions.

Premature tyre wear

Keeping tyres inflated to the recommended tyre pressure level for the vehicle ensures even tyre pressure distribution, optimum handling, and consequently a more even wear rate, keeping the tyres in service for longer.

Tread Depth

Current tread depth legislation requires that truck tyres must have a minimum of 1mm of tread in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width and over the whole circumference of the tyre. The same regulation applies to regrooved tyres. The driver of the vehicle is responsible for making sure his/her tyres are legal and in a roadworthy condition. The penalty for driving with an illegal tyre is 2,500 and three penalty points per tyre.

When driving in wet weather, the tread pattern of the tyre helps to evacuate surface water from the road. As the tread begins to wear down, the tyre gradually loses the ability to evacuate all the water from the road surface, which increases stopping distances in the wet. The lower the tread depth, the greater the risk of aquaplaning.