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Drivers delaying car tyre purchases to save money – survey

Driving on tyres with less than 1.6mm of tread risks three penalty points and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre.

Checking tyres

Many drivers are travelling on worn tyres or delaying replacing them entirely in order to save money, a new survey has found.

A study by breakdown assistance provider Green Flag found that 42 per cent of people are postponing their tyre purchases as a way to cut back on spending. However, driving with tyres that have under 1.6mm of tread – the legal limit – risks three licence penalty points and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre.

Green Flag’s study of 2,000 people also found that three-quarters of respondents did not know the UK’s legal minimum tyre tread depth.

Katie Lomas, Head of Green Flag Breakdown, said: “Around 20% per cent of call outs attended by our mechanics relate to car tyres. By undertaking straightforward tyre maintenance, drivers can reduce the likelihood they’ll need a mechanic to fix their tyres.

“It’s a good idea to replace your tyres as soon as the tread reaches 3mm, and certainly before the tread reaches the legal minimum of 1.6mm.

“To quickly check you’re within the legal minimum, you could insert a 20 pence piece into the tread. You are likely to be within the law if the outer band of the coin is obscured.”

Recent Department of Transport (DfT) data shows that illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributing factor in 5,320 collisions in Great Britain in the ten years up to 2021.

The study by Green Flag also found that almost one in three drivers do not know how to change a tyre, while a third would always get a professional to change a tyre – even if they knew how to fix it themselves.

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