In a recent article focusing on illegal tyres, Auto Express found that many motorists are leaving it too long before replacing their tyres – in a bid to save money.

This is leading to tyres on our roads with a tread depth lower than that of the UK legal limit. At present a motorist found to be driving with illegal tyres, can face an automatic 3 points on their license, plus a maximum fine of £2,500 per tyre.

The Rise of Illegal Tyres

Based upon data obtained by Auto Express, the automotive magazine found that in 2008, 15% of vehicles were driving on the UK roads with at least one illegal tyre.

As the global economy was rocked and the UK plunged into a deep recession, the data suggests that drivers began to prolong the amount of time they waited before fitting new tyres.

In 2009 the number of illegal tyres on vehicles rose to 26% and since 2011 the average for illegal tyres has hit and remained at 55%

Previously, Tyresafe campaigned for awareness of this issue, with their belief that over 10 million tyres on the roads of the UK had tread depths below that of the the legal limit.

Dangers of Illegal Tyres

As a tyre wears down, the less efficient it will become – especially the level of grip it can provide.

When a tyre’s tread depth is below the UK legal limit of 1.6mm, handling and braking is unreliable and inefficient – leading to an increased chance of a road traffic accident.

Check Your Tyres Regularly

At least once a month give the tyres a slightly more in-depth test – paying close attention to:

  • Overall condition of tyres, including the sidewall.
  • Tread depth.
  • Tyre pressure.
  • Signs of irregular wear.
  • The spare tyre – this is often overlooked.
  • Tread Depth


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