Driving on a damaged tyre is both dangerous and illegal

Find out how to check if your tyres are safe and legal…

The Automobile Association’s latest report urges motorists to maintain safe driving in 2018, and notes that driving on a damaged tyre is not only dangerous, but it is illegal too.

“In terms of the law, the tread on tyres must be at least one mm deep across the tyre’s entire width over the full circumference of the tyre; this is the legal limit, but 1,6 mm is safer. The canvas cord, or steel belting, must not be visible on the tyre’s surface and the sidewalls must be free of deep cuts, lumps or bulges,” says the AA.

According to the AA a vehicle’s braking system can be compromised if a tyre has insufficient treat, a cut, or is damaged in other ways and decreases its ability to hold the road. This also raises the risk of the tyre bursting while the vehicle is in motion.

Also read: AA urges all motorists not to leave children and pets in vehicles 

“Tyres should be inspected often. The AA highlights some of the faults to focus on below:

  • Check tyres regularly for punctures, penetrations, cuts and bulges.
  • Wheel alignment – misaligned wheels will lead to excessive tyre wear.
  • A worn steering mechanism, ball joints and wheel bearings will also reduce tyre life.
  • Consult your vehicle manual for the proper size and speed rating. Some tyres are now marked with letters to indicate their speed ratings. Tyre speed ratings do not imply that vehicles can be driven safely at the maximum speed for which the tyre is rated, particularly under adverse road and weather conditions, or if the vehicle has unusual characteristics.
  • One-sided wear. This takes various forms. A regular smooth band of wear all around the tyre on the inside or the outside of the tread is a sign of incorrect camber. Too much toe-in causes irregular one-sided wear.
  • Tread-centre wear. Regular wear of this kind is normally a sign of high tyre pressure. Driving fast for long distances may cause this on low-profile tyres, because traveling at 120 km/h wears a tyre out twice as fast as travelling at 70 km/h.
  • Inner- and outer-edge wear. If both inner and outer edges are worn, it usually implies the tyres have been run at too low a pressure at normal speeds.
  • Irregular bald spotting. Known as cupping, this is usually caused by worn shock absorbers, worn suspension bushes, or even loose wheel bearings.
  • Missing valve caps should be replaced, since they are there to prevent dirt from clogging the valves, which could cause a loss of air pressure.
  • Torque wheel studs/nuts to correct setting when mounting new tyres – check for loose or missing wheel nuts.
  • Check tread depth on all tyres and replace well before they reach regulatory minimum depth of 1.00 mm to reduce the risk of aquaplaning on wet roads.

Source: The Automobile Association (AA)