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Dangerous tyres warning

More than one in three motorists are driving around on tyres that are so under-inflated, they are classed as ‘dangerous’ or ‘very dangerous’.

Two in three cars on the road are running on incorrectly inflated tyres, while 5% of motorists are driving on punctured tyres, according to research from Michelin, based on 23,000 cars in the UK.

Michelin’s Jamie McWhir said: “The proportion of cars with dangerously underinflated tyres has pretty much stayed the same over the eight years we have been running our Fill Up With Air events.

“Seriously underinflated tyres are dangerous, they use more fuel, they wear out quicker and they cause the car to produce more pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

The shocking findings come just days after a Kwik Fit survey indicated that as many as 3.6 million drivers wait until their tyre tread fails the MOT test before replacing them.

Worn tyres require 40% more distance to stop from 50mph in dry conditions, which is equivalent to eight car lengths – and this increases on wet roads.

Michelin’s top tyre safety and maintenance tips


  • Check your tyre pressure every month and before a long journey. Driving a car with the correct tyre pressure increases safety and saves fuel.
  • The recommended tyre pressure levels for front and rear tyres are often different so refer to the vehicle handbook to get these right. Pressures could also be listed on the ledge inside the driver’s door or inside the fuel cap.
  • Don’t forget to check the pressure of the spare tyre if there is one.
  • Buy a pressure gauge so you can take accurate readings.


  • Regularly check the tread depth of your tyres and replace them when they are worn.
  • Change your tyres before the tread depth is worn to the legal minimum of 1.6mm. The more tread you have on your tyres, the more water they can disperse.
  • A simple way of checking the tread is to perform the ‘20p test’
  • Take a 20p piece and place it between the main grooves of the tyre
  • If the outer strip of the coin can be seen then it’s likely your tyre doesn’t have the legal minimum tread depth.
  • Perform the test on at least three locations on each tyre.
  • Drivers whose tyres fail to comply with the minimum tread depth risk a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre


  • Inspect the appearance and condition of your tyres on a regular basis for cracks, lumps, bumps, tears and bulges as this could show damage.
  • If you spot any of these, make sure you get them checked by a qualified tyre expert so that it can be repaired or replaced where appropriate.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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