The most commons failures for MOT are bulbs, wipers, brakes and tyres. These are all important features of your car but your tyres are what keep your vehicle on the road. If there is no tread left, or adequate tread left, on your tyres then your vehicle is going to find it harder to maintain grip whilst driving at certain speeds, performing manoeuvres and driving on different road surfaces. The legal minimum is 1.6mm. This is hardly anything in measurement standards and it would be advisable to get your tyres changed before they reached this limit. Anything below this measurement will incur 3 points and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre, if you are caught by the police with an illegal tyre on your vehicle. By doing some simple checks could prevent such fines and points.
Visual Check: Before getting into your vehicle, it is advisable to do a visual check of your tyres before driving. Ask yourself, can I easily see the tread? Does it look flatter than the other tyres? Are there any strange marks or cracks on the tyre? Overall, you just want to check the condition of the tyre. If you frequently check over the tyres, you are more likely to notice any new defects in the tyre. Along side your visual check, you should be checking the tyre’s tread depth. Most tyres have wear markers, a small amount of rubber that protrudes within the tyre’s tread indicating the manufacturers recommended minimum. These tend to start around 2.6 to 3mm, where the UK’s legal minimum is 1.6mm. Measuring this depth without a tyre depth gauge is difficult, but by using a twenty pence piece and using the border around the coin (which is 2mm) is a simple and effective way of checking the depth of your tread.
Feel Check: Visually checking a tyre is an easy check, but sometimes there are parts of the tyre you can’t easily see without the vehicle either being on a ramp or being aided by someone who can turn the steering wheel. Feeling the tyre with your hands is an affective way of finding defects. Tyres can wear in a odd ways if the structure of the tyre has become compromised and steps and bumps can form in the tyre. These defects are not easy to see at times, but can be felt through the vehicle or heard, such as a droning noise, whilst driving. It is advised to be careful though, when feeling a tyre, as if the inner edge has worn down to the inners of the tyre, you may prick yourself on a wire that is protruding from the tyre.
Tyre Pressures: An easy but very important check. Low tyre pressures can cause the tyre to wear prematurely, effects fuel consumption, drivability and can also cause the tyre to overheat. Because of these, it is important to check your tyre pressures periodically, but especially check them if you are going on a long trip. Tyre pressures are affected by exterior temperatures, so even in the winter time. it is best to keep an eye on your tyres pressures.
We are all very busy and many things can get overlooked, especially our cars, but these three simple checks will take less than five minutes. If you’re not sure about doing these checks yourself, then by all means pop by to ARC MOT and we’ll be happy to perform these checks for you, ensuring your safety.