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Winter Checks - Tyres

Large numbers of cars fail their MOT each year due to the condition of their tyres. They fail because of perished and cracked sidewalls, cuts, slow punctures and bulges. They also fail because they are simply worn out.


The condition of your car tyres is vital to yours and others safety on the road. It is extremely important that regular checks are made on their condition and state of wear. This is important throughout the year but especially so during the oncoming

winter months.


New tyres will have a tread depth of 7mm and the minimum legal depth is 1.6 mm. Most tyres have tread wear indicators which are usually a coloured raised bar at the bottom of the tyre grooves. When the tread reaches these bars, the legal limit has been reached. Uneven tyre wear can make reliance on these indicators unreliable so it is a good idea to carry out your own checks.


The easiest way to check the tread depth is to use a 20 pence coin, the outer edge of which is 1.6 mm thick. Running the coin down the treads will give a good basic idea as the legality of the tread depth.

Notwithstanding the above most tyre trade and motoring organisations recommend that tyres are replaced at 3mm tread depth. Michelin, for one manufacturer, claim that their tyres are designed to provide as new performance down to the 1.6 mm limit. Whilst I will not argue with Michelin I will state that a tyre near to the legal limit will surely not disperse water from its treads as efficiently as one with 3 mm of tread.


So, we should get in the habit of these weekly checks and look at:-

  • Tyre pressures. Check handbook for these or find details inside a car door or the fuel filler cap. The internet is also a resource. Treat yourself to a modern tyre pressure gauge.

  • Check tread depths. Minimum 1.6 mm across the entire tread pattern.

  • Look for sidewall damage, cracks, splits, bulges or blisters. It can be difficult to check the inner sidewalls but it is just as important as the outer.

  • Do not forget the spare, if you have one!


Season’s Greetings, from the

Holmes Chapel Motoring Expert

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