With the fallout of the COVID pandemic widening, motorists are being urged to check, check then check again to ensure their vehicle remains tyre safe.
Of course, that means checking the tyres themselves but motorists should also be certain their MoT is valid. Not only that, if money is tight and they’re considering buying part worns, have they checked the options to buy new tyres instead and are they are aware of the potential dangers and false economy buying used tyres represents?
Check – your MoT
During Lockdown One, the government allowed motorists to defer their MoT for six months, resulting in over 5 million MoTs being postponed by vehicle owners. The concern raised by TyreSafe was that 27% of MoT failures on cars are due to defective tyres. With so many MoTs missed, and some of this backlog only due for a retest as late as January 2021, there are potentially millions more unroadworthy vehicles using the roads than usual.
The government has not announced an MoT exemption for Lockdown Two and testing stations are currently taking bookings for those millions missed in addition to those now due. That means motorists need to check when they need to take the mandatory safety test and plan ahead to ensure they can secure an appointment before their vehicle’s MoT expires.
• When is your MoT due?
• Have you confirmed a booking with your testing station?
• Have you checked your tyres?
Check – tyre care
Equally, there are some maintenance checks owners should carry out if they are parking up their vehicle for longer than usual during the Lockdown. If tyre pressures are low on a vehicle left standing for a prolonged period, it can cause internal damage to the tyre due to the weight pressing down on it. To avoid that, simply ensure tyre pressures are at the setting recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
While checking pressures, it’s a good time to check the condition of the tyre. Is there anything unusual about the tyre, for example, lumps, cracks or objects embedded in them?
It’s also advisable to prepare tyres on a vehicle which is not going to be used for a prolonged period. Tyres deteriorate faster when they are left unused as exposure to UV rays and particles in the atmosphere, such as salt, accelerate the ageing process, making the tyres harden. To avoid these pitfalls, wash the tyres and cover them if at all possible.
Checklist – tyre care
• Air pressure: are all tyres at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings?
• Condition: is there any physical damage to your tyres?
• Tread depth: are all tyres above the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm?
• Parking up: do you need to wash and cover your tyres?
Check – part worns?
If tyres do need to be replaced but money is tight and you’re considering buying part worn (or used tyres) check to ensure you are fully informed of their dangers and the false economy they represent. Investigations by TyreSafe and Trading Standards across the UK have revealed 94% of retailers inspected are selling tyres illegally. Nails, sockets and dangerous repairs are also discovered in the tyres sold far too frequently, with nearly two-thirds of tyres inspected by TyreSafe during these investigations being unsafe to return to the road network.
Even part worns sold in compliance with the regulations are typically a false economy as part of their usable lifespan has passed. Based on average tyre costs, a part worn is estimated to cost £6.33 per millimetre, while a new tyre is £5.32 per millimetre and it will need replacing sooner than a new tyre.
Many tyre retailers have put financial packages and offers in place to help those with limited disposable income purchase new tyres. An online check will identify those closest to you.
Checklist – part worns
• Safety: are you aware of all the facts around part worn tyres’ poor safety record?
• False Economy: compare the lifetime value of part worns not just their price tag
• Finance: have you checked for the options of buying new tyres?
Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “With more vehicles being parked up due to Lockdown Two it might seem odd to be paying particular attention to tyre safety on our cars but, in fact, now is the right time. Motorists have legal obligations to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy and has a valid MoT – now is the time to check yours is valid. With money becoming increasingly tight for many households they should check they’re getting the most from their tyres’ with regular maintenance. If tyres do need replacing, check the options available before turning to part worns.
“In short, to stay tyre safe during the pandemic, check, check then check again.”