It’s easy to believe that once you take your vehicle to the road for the first time, you’re pretty much good to go. After all, providing you’re insured to the fullest extent and have all your safety features working as expected within your car itself, you’re well within the remit of the law – right? Maybe not – as knowing what makes your tyres illegal can make or break your ability to drive freely!
Yes – believe it or not, your tyres could be breaking the law and you may not even know it. Providing your MOT’s up to date, you’re unlikely to come across any issues – but in case you do fall foul of the law, it’s worth knowing what to look out for from drive to drive. Here’s what can make your tyres illegal – and when you need to get them sorted.
Weirdly enough, there’s a specific UK law in place that dictates how deep your car’s tyre treads should be. This isn’t so easy to monitor and manage on your own – but there’s still a limit you need to adhere to. When driving in the UK, you’ll need to ensure your tyre treads are no shallower than 1.6mm.
Let your treads sink lower than this, and you may face hefty fines. You’ll normally know long before your treads get to this state, however – as around 3mm – 4mm depth indicates you’re in need of a replacement. Wear down your treads too much, and your tyres will go bald – and that’s likely to cause a major accident.
It’s really important to make sure that the tyres you have fitted to your car are suitable for that vehicle. If you’re using 4WD tyres on a Ford Fiesta, for example, you’re likely to both break the law and cause yourself a serious incident. Therefore, always follow the advice of your MOT specialist and/or local garage – fit tyres that are built for your car. There’s simply no excuse otherwise.
Determining whether or not tyres are illegal for your vehicle normally comes down to load bearing and speed ratings. If these don’t match with the car itself, then you could – again – face some serious fines. It’s just not worth it!
Yes, your tyres will wear down over time, it’s to be expected – but excessive wear can lead to accidents unless you take care of them efficiently. Leaving your tyres to wear down excessively may result in unevenness, which may lead to serious imbalance when driving. You may even be at risk of blowing your tyres out completely.
As you can imagine, continuing to drive on tyres likely to blow out or grow uneven will land you in serious legal trouble, too. Luckily, this is something you can check for yourself if you think there’s a problem.
Crucially, you should be looking for unevenness, sidewall damage and cracks. Any signs that your tyres are starting to look less than sturdy means you’ll need to take your car into your service centre just to be safe.
As much as using the wrong tyres can be a major issue for road legality, so can mixing up types. That means mixing up tyres made for different vehicles or models of car, as much as it does mixing up tyres built for different seasons. For example, blending your winter and summer tyres is a no-no.
The reason for this is that seasonal tyres are – perhaps unsurprisingly – built for their specific time periods. For example, winter tyres are designed and built with extra grip to stay on slippery roads easier. Essentially, mixing these tyres together is likely to create a sort of imbalance – your car’s performance is going to struggle.
That, again, is why it’s illegal to mix up your tyres. Critically, most rules regarding tyres revolve around your safety – and, naturally, that of others on the road.
It’s just as dangerous to mix tyres on the same axle – and just as illegal. Trust us, don’t try it – stick to the same type car-wide.
Improper tyre pressure isn’t just dangerous, again, it’s illegal. That is, if you are pulled over and your tyres are found to be improperly inflated on balance. An overinflated tyre is going to cause less friction and therefore potentially lead your vehicle to skid off the road. An under inflated tyre, meanwhile, is going to overdo the grip. That means it’s going to make your vehicle less responsive.
Getting your tyre pressure checked regularly is a must. This is something you can easily fix at petrol stations, but again, your local garage or service centre will help you fix the issue if it’s causing you serious grief.
No one likes rules – but when it comes to UK road law, we all have to obey. For one thing, these laws are in place to ensure that you, your passengers and other road users are kept as safe as possible while you’re en route. It’s surprising, therefore, just how many laws revolve around your tyres.
That said, tyres give and remove a lot when it comes to the stability of your vehicle. Inflate them improperly, or use the wrong type, and your vehicle is at risk of losing a lot of control. That, naturally, is going to potentially lead to accidents. Therefore, don’t risk it – make sure you check your tyres regularly, and where possible, head to a service centre local to you for advice and guidance.
Auto Inspire is a local service centre set up to help motorists across the region make the most of their vehicles. To avoid much of what makes your tyres illegal, it’s important to have MOT checks when you’re due – that way, we can keep you safe and road legal no matter when or where you wish to drive!
Call us now to book in an appointment, or head to our service centre in downtown Chesterfield – let us inspire your auto!