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According to Michelin, 62 per cent of cars on the road are running on incorrectly inflated tyres, with 37 per cent so underinflated they are classed as ‘dangerous’ or ‘very dangerous’.
The tyre manufacturer analysed results from more than 23,000 cars in the UK. The figures were derived from 8 years of Michelin-run events and suggest that attitudes to tyre safety are not improving.
Further findings showed that 5 per cent of vehicles had a tyre with a puncture and one per cent had tread depths below the legal minimum of 1.6mm.
Jamie McWhir, car, van and 4×4 technical manager for Michelin in the UK, 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.
“That’s pretty depressing when you consider the volume of vehicles and the implications. 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.”
Dangerously underinflated tyres are classed by Michelin as being between 7psi and 14psi below the manufacturer’s recommendation – anything above 14psi is classed as very dangerous.
Driving a car with tyres that are underinflated by 7psi decreases fuel efficiency by approximately one mile per gallon, which equates to an average of 18.2 litres of fuel per year. With diesel and unleaded priced at an average cost of £1.18 per litre, this means 11.84 million of the UK’s 32 million cars are wasting a total of more than £254 million a year. In addition, more than 538,000 tonnes of excess CO2 are being emitted by those cars.
Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “It’s a question of educating motorists to take responsibility for their safety and that of others on the road.
“As vehicles have become increasingly reliable, owners have become less used to performing what were once considered basic precautionary checks before setting off on a journey. Tyres too are much more technologically advanced but they do wear and can get damaged so it is down to the driver to regularly check they’re safe
“Awareness among Britain’s motorists of the importance of tyre safety urgently needs to improve.”
For further information on servicing and maintaining your tyres, click here.