Why regular tyre checks matter

Female hand holding tyre-gauge against tyre to measure its pressure.

Published 26 February 2024
Last updated 26 February 2024

Regular tyre checks play a crucial part in safe driving. Your tyres are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road, making their condition important for performance and safety.

For example, did you know that:

  • The Department for Transport’s Reported Road Casualties GB annual report shows tyre defects are as likely to lead to a death or serious injury as distraction owing to mobile phone use?*
  • More than 1 in 5 breakdowns on the motorway and over 2 million MOT failures in the UK are attributed to tyre-related issues?

Scary stuff isn’t it - and it’s not just serious incidents that you need to worry about either. Driving on illegal tyres could see you hit with fines of up to £2500 and three penalty points on your licence for each tyre that falls short of the legal requirements.

Now, you might be wondering whether anyone can afford to forget about tyre safety…but plenty of people do. TyreSafe’s Tread Depth Survey at the Point of Replacement, in partnership with National Highways and in association with Imperial College London, revealed that every year there are potentially more than six million tyres on the UK’s roads with tread depth below the legal limit.**

What can I do?

To avoid a whole lot of bother, it’s essential to make tyre checks a regular part of your vehicle maintenance routine.

To help you out, we’ve developed a handy little acronym to learn and repeat:

A: Air,

C: Condition

T: Tread

Checking your A.C.T

So now you know what A.C.T is…but tyre safety is not just about remembering what you should be looking at: it’s also about knowing what to do.

Right then, let’s dive in!

Air: You should make sure your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. Use a reliable pressure gauge to check and adjust accordingly. If you’re not sure which pressure is correct for your tyres, you can find this information in the drivers’ door sill [MOU1] or use TyreSafe’s handy pressure look-up tool.

Condition: Inspect your tyres for any signs of damage, such as cuts, bulges, or foreign objects[MOU2] . Check the sidewalls and the tread surface for irregularities.

Tread: A convenient way of measuring your tread depth is to use a tyre tread gauge.

For cars the legal minimum is 1.6mm right the way across the central three quarters of the tyre, but for extra safety, it is advisable to replace tyres when the tread depth falls below 3mm.

Getting your A.C.T together

Using A.C.T to remind you of what to look for should help you keep your tyres in tip-top condition. But, if you’re unsure, or suspect your tyres may be defective, it’s important to get a professional to check them, as compromising on tyre safety will almost certainly cost you more money in the long run. Many garages offer free tyre checks, so pop along and talk to a professional if you have any concerns.

And if you want to learn more about tyre safety (and loads of other important driving tips and techniques) wing over to the Safe Driving for Life shop and pick up a copy of The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – The Essential Skills.

TyreSafe: Advocating for Your Safety

TyreSafe is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of tyre safety. They work tirelessly to educate drivers on proper tyre maintenance practices, providing valuable resources and campaigns to promote safer driving habits.

By incorporating regular tyre checks into your routine, you play a crucial role in making our roads safer for everyone. Remember, a few minutes spent on tyre maintenance each month can go a long way in preventing accidents, breakdowns, and unnecessary expenses.

*DfT’s RRCGB Report, over a five year average. Mobile phones 153 KSIs per annum; tyres 152

** TyreSafe Tread Depth Survey 2023 | TyreSafe

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