Tyres what if - primus 1

So I took my works van for its mot on monday , booked into the ford main dealers, ( transit connect), it passed but the tester said the two front tyres were 3mm but the fleet management company won't change until 2mm, fair enough ,Tuesday I noticed one of the rear tyres was low, and found a nail in the tyre, so off I go to Kwik fit to get, as it turned out a new tyre, but the fitter said the front tyres were at 2mm and was authorised, by the fleet company to change them, so that got me thinking, if the dealers technician had said the tyres were 2mm but were actually worn so they were illegal, what would happen if I were stopped by the police who then checked the tyres and found them to be illegal and issued me with a notice, how would I stand if the van had passed its mot and I had the documentation saying everything was OK inc the tyres, or would I be expected to check the tread depth immediately after having an mot?

Tyres what if - bazza

The driver is responsible, no one else, so you will have ended up with the points. Same with hire cars, pool cars, anything you're driving. Always worth checking visually before driving off, I've had hire cars before with bald tyres.

Tyres what if - SkodaIan

I suspect the actual tread depth on the tyres was something like 2.9mm. It's not really possible to measure tyre tread depth to a 0.1mm accuracy, so the MOT tester will have marked as 3mm with the advisory as it looked pretty much like 3mm. If the tyre had been closer to the 1.6mm minimum, I expect the MOT tester would also have checked more carefully - after all they are only looking for whether or not it will pass the minimum standard.

The Kwik Fit technician may have seen a measurement somewhere between 2mm and 3mm, and reported it as 2mm because it's in both your and their interest for it to be reported as 2mm. You because it saves the agro of having to go there again in a few thousand miles time and them because they get to sell you the tyres.

In any case, it is the driver's responsibility to check, the MOT certificate has some words along the lines of "this test doesn't prove your car is safe to drive" on the certificate! My company has a 'tick list' I have to sign every morning before setting off, which includes amongst many other things the tyre depth. If you were stopped by the police even 1 day after the MOT, from their perspective you could either have taken it on a track day immediately after passing the MOT, or have done a dodgy minicab firm "MOT Wheels" swap and changed back to bald tyres straight after the test.

Tyres what if - Stanb Sevento

Your MOT tester has 10 times more credability than Kwik Fit, they ar notorious for selling things that are not needed. They have been on Watchdog more than omce. For a simple puncture they told my wife she needed a new tyre and her wheel alignment checked.I had checked the tyre and it was one of the most repairable punctures you can get. I went round the next day and demanded to see the tyre and they tried to show be a different tyre then they could not find the right tyre. I know my tyres and had a feal stand up argument with them and left with a 50% refund if i did not take it further.

Avoid avoid avoid.

Tyres what if - SLO76
Kwik Fit are notorious for telling customers their cars need work that doesn't need done. I had one punter a while back return to me outraged that they'd told her her (immaculate low mileage Astra) needed 4 new shock absorbers! Quick check and a drive revealed nothing amiss at all and off she went with a new understanding of why you should avoid this firm at all costs. I've seen cars that've been condemned by them fly through Mot's elsewhere. I could list loads of cases I've encountered over the years but you get the idea. Their staff are on a commission based pay structure so it's in their interests to upsell you or outright con you into parting with your money. Avoid them like the plague!
Tyres what if - primus 1

Can't do much about going to Kwik fit, its a company vehicle and I have to go where they tell me, we have 2 branches of Kwik fit where I live and they are totally different, one seems a bit apathetic, and the other are very helpful,

Tyres what if - badbusdriver

I think my main concern is the notion of your company not changing the tyres till they are at 2mm. Firstly because of how close this is to the legal limit and the huge increase in risk that because of this, you, the driver, get done by the police. You must really need to check them daily once below 2.5mm?. Second point is how drastically reduced the grip from your tyres will be in wet or wintery weather conditions. I have read articles in magazines where tyres with 2.5mm have been compared to the same tyre but new, and the difference in performance is truly alarming. If I were you, I would try and find an article like this and show it to your boss. I also run a transit connect, but I'm self employed. I generally change the tyres when I feel the grip starting to go (more wheel spin on wet road, etc).

I used to drive a bus for Stagecoach and believe it or not, the legal limit for a bus or truck is actually only 1mm!. Fortunately, company policy was to change them at 5mm. But the thought of some cowboy outfit running trucks or buses in winter with tyres like that scares me!

Tyres what if - RT

Sadly, it's not uncommon for lease cars to be required to be below 2mm before replacement tyres are authorised - the sooner the legal limit is raised to 3mm the better but it's an international global limit that takes forever to get all countries to agree

Tyres what if - skidpan

I think my main concern is the notion of your company not changing the tyres till they are at 2mm.

Well one company I worked for would not change tyres until they were at 1.6mm. That included winter months when the road conditions required good tyres but the fleet manager would not change policy. One poor chap was off on a 1000 mile holiday road trip with his family and it was obvious his tyres would be below 1.6mm before he returned but they refused to change them or give him a different vehicle for the 2 weeks. He had to have new tyres fitted when he arrived at the destination and then go through to the trouble of claiming back the money form the campany which they initially refused since he had not used the local tyre shop. When he produced a note from the tyre shop confirming they were at or just below 1.6mm and told them he would take them to court to reclaim the money if necessary and then report them to the VOSA they paid up. He left soon after, he already had a job offer before he went on holiday.

Tyres what if - John F
Kwik Fit are notorious for telling customers their cars need work that doesn't need done. .........................Avoid them like the plague!

Reminds me of their attempts to fleece my then impoverished son out of several hundred pounds for an unnecessary overpriced new cat converter after they cleverly failed the emissions test. Drove it one mile to my usual MoT tester where it easily passed. Apparently the trick was to warm up the engine, then leave it for 15mins or so to cool the cat down, then test it. The machine would show the engine was warm enough.

Tyres what if - brum

www.honestjohn.co.uk/news/products/2017-05/micheli.../

Edited by brum on 14/07/2017 at 13:53

Tyres what if - SLO76
"Reminds me of their attempts to fleece my then impoverished son out of several hundred pounds for an unnecessary overpriced new cat converter after they cleverly failed the emissions test. Drove it one mile to my usual MoT tester where it easily passed. Apparently the trick was to warm up the engine, then leave it for 15mins or so to cool the cat down, then test it. The machine would show the engine was warm enough."

Local Merc dealer tried the same with my then retired dad with his C180 Elegance. Failed the test on emissions and a fat quote of the guts of £1,200 was presented to him for a new cat. I nipped up, took the car a 5min run down the road to my testing station who passed it without a single advisory. Emissions were fine.

The motor trade is full of thieving scumbags and the more people visit this excellent website and forum to become better informed the better. Good work to all involved, even if we do enjoy a wee spat from time to time.
Tyres what if - John F
"Reminds me of their attempts to fleece my then impoverished son out of several hundred pounds for an unnecessary overpriced new cat converter after they cleverly failed the emissions test. Drove it one mile to my usual MoT tester where it easily passed. Apparently the trick was to warm up the engine, then leave it for 15mins or so to cool the cat down, then test it. The machine would show the engine was warm enough."
..........
Local Merc dealer tried the same with my then retired dad with his C180 Elegance. Failed the test on emissions and a fat quote of the guts of £1,200 was presented to him for a new cat. I nipped up, took the car a 5min run down the road to my testing station who passed it without a single advisory. Emissions were fine. The motor trade is full of thieving scumbags and the more people visit this excellent website and forum to become better informed the better. Good work to all involved, even if we do enjoy a wee spat from time to time.

Nice one, SL076. Hope you got your MoT test money back. I did, after I made a formal complaint to their head office, cc Tradings Standards Office...

Tyres what if - Smileyman

winter tyres have two sets of tread wear indicators, one for snow and a second presumably for legality. It would be interesting to know what would happen if the tyre's tread were to be below the snow (4mm) depth and the driver had an accident in snowy conditions... not fit for purpose. As for fleet management companies, it's about time some driver tested their resolve - or are the vehicles meant to be parked up if the conditions are inclement?

Tyres what if - RT

winter tyres have two sets of tread wear indicators, one for snow and a second presumably for legality. It would be interesting to know what would happen if the tyre's tread were to be below the snow (4mm) depth and the driver had an accident in snowy conditions... not fit for purpose. As for fleet management companies, it's about time some driver tested their resolve - or are the vehicles meant to be parked up if the conditions are inclement?

The 4mm indicator is because that's the legal limit in parts of Germany in winter.

There's no requirement to fit winter or snow tyres (they're different) in the UK, just the 1.6mm global limit.

Tyres what if - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}

And it is well documented that the wet grip drops dramatically , by 80% iirc, when the tread depth is below 4mm. I tend to agree from experience on my usual commute. Wet roundabouts became tricky when the tread got to 3/4 mm.

The 2mm limit is plain unsafe.

Tyres what if - RT

And it is well documented that the wet grip drops dramatically , by 80% iirc, when the tread depth is below 4mm. I tend to agree from experience on my usual commute. Wet roundabouts became tricky when the tread got to 3/4 mm.

The 2mm limit is plain unsafe.

Being pedantic, it's 1.6mm, so even worse.

Tyres what if - skidpan

the sooner the legal limit is raised to 3mm the better

Its not just tread depth, the age of the tyre is also important.

Went to a club meeting last Sunday and met up with a chap I had not seen since the early 90's. Still has the same car and its still on the Goodyear NCT's it was delivered on in the late 80's. they are 30 years old and even if they are not cracked (did not look at them closely) the rubber will be like concrete with zero wet grip.

IMHO a max of 10 years should be allowed and should be an MOT failure if they are older. Having said that I have had tyres younger than that with cracks severe enogh for Michelin to refund me 60% of the tyres value. When I showed them to the local MOT tester for his opinion he said he would be hapy to pass them. Fortunately Michelin did not agree.

Tyres what if - Smileyman

So if 10 years is a sensible age limit, then would a car with an older tyre in the boot as a spare be failed on the basis it's there with the intention to use it, or no point having it in the boot at all? (MOT test wise)

Tyres what if - yokel38

The Spare wheel and tyre are not checked during an MOT, no legal requirement to have one fitted.

Tyres what if - RT

the sooner the legal limit is raised to 3mm the better

Its not just tread depth, the age of the tyre is also important.

Went to a club meeting last Sunday and met up with a chap I had not seen since the early 90's. Still has the same car and its still on the Goodyear NCT's it was delivered on in the late 80's. they are 30 years old and even if they are not cracked (did not look at them closely) the rubber will be like concrete with zero wet grip.

IMHO a max of 10 years should be allowed and should be an MOT failure if they are older. Having said that I have had tyres younger than that with cracks severe enogh for Michelin to refund me 60% of the tyres value. When I showed them to the local MOT tester for his opinion he said he would be hapy to pass them. Fortunately Michelin did not agree.

The rate of deterioration from UV and oxidation depends whether the tyre is in the dark or not - an unused spare kept in the boot will last much longer than a road tyre.

Given that tyres can fail on examination well under 5 years old, then age is a poor way to limit life - the MoT examination is the best we have at the moment

Tyres what if - Engineer Andy

the sooner the legal limit is raised to 3mm the better

Its not just tread depth, the age of the tyre is also important.

Went to a club meeting last Sunday and met up with a chap I had not seen since the early 90's. Still has the same car and its still on the Goodyear NCT's it was delivered on in the late 80's. they are 30 years old and even if they are not cracked (did not look at them closely) the rubber will be like concrete with zero wet grip.

IMHO a max of 10 years should be allowed and should be an MOT failure if they are older. Having said that I have had tyres younger than that with cracks severe enogh for Michelin to refund me 60% of the tyres value. When I showed them to the local MOT tester for his opinion he said he would be hapy to pass them. Fortunately Michelin did not agree.

If I recall correctly, HJ himself (I think about 3-5 years ago) said that 6-7 years was the maximum he would recommend for the useful life of a car tyre, although this would vary due to the amount of direct sunlight that helps make the tyres hard and brittle.

I can vouch for that, as I replaced my Mazda 3's OEM Bridgestone ER30 tyres (awful after a year or so) after the car was 6.5 years old (and 40k miles approx), whereby the ride quality was very harsh and noisy, even though they had 4-5mm of tread left, and I had a couple of vary hairy moments on wet roundbouts. The difference between them and the Dunlop replacements was enormous (they were a more highly regarded tyre anyway), but the handling in the wet (my main concern) was back to what it was when the car was new.

Fortunately as these replacements were better generally, this good performance has barely changed in the 5 years since then (though significantly less mileage under its belt [about 22k]). It'll be interesting to see if problems with noise and wet handling start to occur again in the next few years - perhaps the tyre technology has improved the useful life to nearer 10 years that some BRs have thought as the max. Personally speaking, I always go on how the tyre performs rather than tread depth alone.

Tyres what if - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}

Being pedantic, it's 1.6mm, so even worse.

I was referring to the policy in the original post.

Today's Guardian has an article about tread depths and premium v budget tyres .

Tyres what if - Stanb Sevento

Today's Guardian has an article about tread depths and premium v budget tyres .

I would be interested to read that. In my poinion some tyres even on their last legs have better wet grip than other brand new tyres.

Tyres what if - badbusdriver

Today's Guardian has an article about tread depths and premium v budget tyres .

I would be interested to read that. In my poinion some tyres even on their last legs have better wet grip than other brand new tyres.

I doubt that very much Stanb, given that the main factor in wet weather grip is the ability to disperse the water. Which in turn means that the main factor in that, is tread depth. Maybe a part worn 'quality' tyre will be more effective than a new one, due to better design, but not one on its last legs, which will be much more likely to aquaplane.

Tyres what if - SLO76
"I doubt that very much Stanb, given that the main factor in wet weather grip is the ability to disperse the water. Which in turn means that the main factor in that, is tread depth. Maybe a part worn 'quality' tyre will be more effective than a new one, due to better design, but not one on its last legs, which will be much more likely to aquaplane."

Try any car on cheap Chinese tyres and you'll see it's true. I bought an Astra recently on cheap rubber. It's fine in the dry but slides everywhere in the wet despite all being nearly new tyres. A quality brand at minimum tread can be better than a cheap brand at double the depth.
Tyres what if - Terry W

A set of tyres should last 20-40k depending on driviing style, type of car, wheel alignment.

A good quality replacement set of tyres is typically in the range £2-400. Cheaper for small ditch finders, more for premium high performance. Last set on my Octavia (Michelins) were about £220.

Taking a simple average - 30k and £300 works out at about a penny a mile.

I willingly replace tyres when they are down to about 3mm. It probably costs an average of about £20pa compared to running them to the minimum. Irrespective of driving style it is better to be confident that one of the three (steering, brakes) most important components on the car is up to scratch.

Tyres what if - badbusdriver
"I doubt that very much Stanb, given that the main factor in wet weather grip is the ability to disperse the water. Which in turn means that the main factor in that, is tread depth. Maybe a part worn 'quality' tyre will be more effective than a new one, due to better design, but not one on its last legs, which will be much more likely to aquaplane." Try any car on cheap Chinese tyres and you'll see it's true. I bought an Astra recently on cheap rubber. It's fine in the dry but slides everywhere in the wet despite all being nearly new tyres. A quality brand at minimum tread can be better than a cheap brand at double the depth.

Ok, i may concede that on a road which is just wet, that may be the case, but standing water?.

But also, you are talking about a quality tyre at minimum tread, i.e, 1.6mm, versus a cheap brand at double the depth, so 3.2mm. Stanb was talking about a new 'cheap' tyre (which will have around 8mm tread) versus a quality tyre on its last legs. I still think that with that comparison, on standing water, the cheap tyre will give more grip?.

But i could be wrong, wouldnt be the 1st time!

Just to point out though, i wouldnt use cheapo tyres anyway. When my van tyres need replaced, i buy a quality set off ebay (most recently michelin all weather) and get the garage i use to fit them.

Tyres what if - Engineer Andy

Today's Guardian has an article about tread depths and premium v budget tyres .

I would be interested to read that. In my poinion some tyres even on their last legs have better wet grip than other brand new tyres.

I doubt that very much Stanb, given that the main factor in wet weather grip is the ability to disperse the water. Which in turn means that the main factor in that, is tread depth. Maybe a part worn 'quality' tyre will be more effective than a new one, due to better design, but not one on its last legs, which will be much more likely to aquaplane.

Perhaps, though the tyre compund will also have a large impact, given that harder tyres are a lot worse in the wet than softer ones, so if an expensive one has a softer, but higher quality makeup (including tread pattern), it will perform better even when the tread depth is lower than a lower quality tyre. Michellin's cross climate is a good example of this (HJ wouldn't recommend it if it wasn't) where its well worth paying a premium to get a longer 'sweet spot' in the life of the tyre than the cheaper end of the market.

I'd personally never go for the really budget makes (otherwise known as ditch-finders) given they are either a much harder compound (great on life, very poor on handling, especially in the wet etc) or very soft (very short lifespan, not economic), even if (as I am at the moment) I was doing low annual mileages. My reasoning is that why spend several £000s on a good car, then scrimp on the only point of contact with the road surface?

Buying expensive tryes isn't necessarily guaranteeing a good ride and handling, hence why the tyre reviews by both tests AND owners' real-world experiences are worth reading (especially when they pertain to our own cars) before choosing. Again, I always go by the way the tyres work/feel/look before changing - no sense in changing them just because they are X years old, but will do so if the handling and/or ride quality has diminished sufficiently to become an issue, as well as their visual condition.

Tyres what if - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}

My Passat diesel and my Octavia diesel both only got around 14000 miles per set of tyres. Yes, the front and rear wore almost at the same rate and wore evenly across the tread with no signs of misalignment.I changed them when the fronts got to 3mm or so.

Latterly I used several sets of Barum Bravuris (made by Continental) after I found that the OE Michelin replacements did not wear well.

Tyres what if - RobJP

My Passat diesel and my Octavia diesel both only got around 14000 miles per set of tyres. Yes, the front and rear wore almost at the same rate and wore evenly across the tread with no signs of misalignment.I changed them when the fronts got to 3mm or so.

Latterly I used several sets of Barum Bravuris (made by Continental) after I found that the OE Michelin replacements did not wear well.

That seems a very high wear rate.

My BMW 325d (RWD) fitted with big Msport wheels goes through rear tyres roughly every 18k miles (that's changng at 3mm, and running premium tyres). The first set of fronts lasted 35k miles.

Only getting 14k from the rears on a FWD car seems extraordinary.

Tyres what if - RT

Does tyre compound make a difference in the wet?

Tread depth, tread pattern and sipes make the difference - remember Michelin X tyres, best in the wet and hard compound so lasted for "ever".

Tyre compound makes a huge difference in the dry, or cold in the case of winter tyres.

Tyres what if - gordonbennet

Does tyre compound make a difference in the wet?

Tread depth, tread pattern and sipes make the difference - remember Michelin X tyres, best in the wet and hard compound so lasted for "ever".

Tyre compound makes a huge difference in the dry, or cold in the case of winter tyres.

I remember Mich X tyres well, but because they were most appalling tyre in the wet i've ever had the misfortune to drive on, and the ZX that followed it no better.

My '69 Vauxhall Ventora was on MichelinZX's and in the wet it could only be described as terrifying, that was the first time i ever scrapped a set of tyres still with deep tread, many times since various makes, and Mich's have featured as late as 8 years ago in being removed before time.

Replaced with a set of the then new Goodyear Unisteel, whch transformed the car and enabled the use of its quite reasonable power.

I've had some really frightening experiences years ago on Michelin lorry tyres, especially when getting to recut compound, ironically i had a new tractor unit issued to me once, and i got most aggrieved because my then boss had the new Mich drive axle tyres removed (to use for steer axles) and a set of Kenprest remoulds fitted, talk about egg on face though, those Kenprests to this day are the best wet grip lorry tyres i have ever driven on.

Compound is important for wet grip, as a rule the softer and faster wearing are going to grip better, one of the best current tyres for wet grip are Uniroyal Rain Expert and Rainsport (lower profiles), they don't wear particularly well but they stick like the proverbial and i usually get some sent in time for daughter's tyre replacements.

As for the country of origin, i have always avoided far eastern tyres (and to be honest not that impressed with Japanese either) but the new set of Nankangs that were fitted on my Landcruiser when i bought it continue to surprise with just how good they are on the road in the wet, snow grip i don't yet know about.

Edited by gordonbennet on 16/07/2017 at 14:08

Tyres what if - Stanb Sevento

There are two factors at play here. The tread depth will effect the tyres resistance to aquaplaning but its near impassible to aquaplane below 50mph, wide tyres are worse than skinny tyres. On plain wet roads that have minimal depth of standing watter its the tread compound that decomes the dominant factor. The micro structure of the rubber grips the road surface. The newer silica compounds allow softer rubber that drapes over the surface texture of the asphalt to grip better in the wet. These newer compounds also have good wear resistance because they conduct heat better than the traditional carbon dust blended into the rubber. Another factor is the ratio of rubber to void, some wide tyres have only 50% of the tread area as rubber and 50% void to increase its capacity to disperse watter at low tread depths.

The early Chinese tyres that SLO mentioned were strange things, they had a high persentage of natural rubber, very expencive stuff and very tough but its wet grip is very poor. Last forever though.

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 16/07/2017 at 14:49

Tyres what if - SteveLee

I had cheap Chinese ditchfinders on my C5, when winter arrived I spent a couple of hours towing dozens of colleagues' stuck cars out of the company car park, including a 4WD Audi S4 shod with worn premium rubber.

I fitted the same ditchfinders (Nankang N607s) to the missis's C3, which I was driving on the motorway in torrential rain, I had (coincidentally) another Audi up my chuff even though I was overtaking, not lane hogging. Well, I spotted a huge puddle ahead and lifted off gently, the little light C3 didn't budge an inch despite hitting the puddle at 70+ mph, Mr Audi spun into the central reservation - missing me by inches.

Tyres what if - Engineer Andy

I had cheap Chinese ditchfinders on my C5, when winter arrived I spent a couple of hours towing dozens of colleagues' stuck cars out of the company car park, including a 4WD Audi S4 shod with worn premium rubber.

I fitted the same ditchfinders (Nankang N607s) to the missis's C3, which I was driving on the motorway in torrential rain, I had (coincidentally) another Audi up my chuff even though I was overtaking, not lane hogging. Well, I spotted a huge puddle ahead and lifted off gently, the little light C3 didn't budge an inch despite hitting the puddle at 70+ mph, Mr Audi spun into the central reservation - missing me by inches.

What often happens is that certain tyres, even if the 'same' brand and model, can react significantly differently if they are of different sizes, age/condition and on different cars. Mr. Audi may well have had tyres that were very low profile and worn, neither of which are great for handling in poor weather as we see on F1. Its also how the cars are driven as well - I suspect the hard braking (as opposed to you backing off only) by the Audi contributed to their spin, given that's what happens in icy conditions. Sudden braking/manouvres in poor road conditions are dangerous.

I've seen many tyres on premium make cars over 3yo that have almost no tread left - either because the [latest] owner spent all their money on buying and not running the car (maintenance, a common theme on older premium cars) or because they are boy racers and forgot to notice the state of the tyres until its too late. I know quite a few people who've failed MOTs due to tyres worn down to the 'carcass'.

I would suspect that the cheapo tyres will hold the road less well than using an equivalent premium tyre of the same size and (resonable) life on the same car in the same conditions/road. Occasionally a cheaper brand tyre does better than expected or premium worse in tests, but in the main you get what you pay for, all other things being equal., the same goes for new tyres vs. old (I mean 15-20 years old) ones, even if they've been stored out of the sun and in moderate temperatures - the technology moves on enough within a 10 year period to make a meaningful difference.

 

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