These are pictures of tyres that were taken off cars in the past week. You can clearly see how bad they all are yet they were still on the road.

Not only are they completely bald, they’re so worn down that the carcass is showing through, demonstrating that the tyres have been worn out for some time and yet hadn’t been replaced. For up to several months, there would be no grip in the wet as bald tyres can’t disperse water.

In one case, the tyre completely destroyed itself while the car it was fitted to was driving. Judging by its condition, this wasn’t a random blowout but the result of total neglect.

The legal limit for tyre tread in this country is 1.6mm, a pitifully low figure it must be said. Studies have shown that wet weather performance falls off dramatically once a tyre reaches 4mm of tread so realistically, for safety, tyres should be replaced once the tread reaches around 3mm.

It’s a real mistake to buy tyres solely on price, as many seem to do. Yes, you can get cheap tyres but they’re cheap for a reason and they won’t perform properly in an emergency situation.

I’ve tested cheap tyres against more recognised brands on test tracks and the difference is night and day. A cheap tyre can take up to several car lengths longer to stop in the wet and that’s a crucial factor in any potential accident.

There’s a huge selection of good, mid-range tyres available on the market that aren’t that much more expensive than the cheap stuff and it’s a small price to pay for safety for yourself and your family.

Part-worn tyres are also available at some tyre outlets but they are always a bad idea. Not only do you have no idea where the tyre came from, it may have come from a crashed car and have been subjected to untold stresses.

More prosaically, the economics don’t add up. If you look at the useful life of a part-worn tyre versus that of a new one, the cost per km of the new tyre is actually cheaper and you won’t have the hassle of changing your tyres so often.

Make it a point, particularly this National Road Safety Week to go out now and check your tyres and see if they need to be replaced.


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