New study suggests one in five cars in the UK driving around with ‘dangerous’ tyres

What about yours? Why not try the 20p coin test today and find out!

According to new research conducted by, one in five cars on UK roads have ‘dangerous’ tyres fitted to them – this equates to over 8 million cars!

The comparison website company carried out 1,000 vehicle spot checks throughout the country and discovered that 21% had at least one tyre that was ready to be replaced, whilst another 3% (1.4 million) were found to be driving with illegal tyres which if caught could see them issued with a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.

As part of the study a team from visited 10 major UK cities, examining car tyres, in particular the tread depth left on the rubber.  The fifth classed as ‘dangerous’ were found to have tyre tread below 3mm – this is the point where most major manufacturers advise motorists to have it replaced. The ones classed as illegal were found to have less tread depth than the legal limit which is 1.6mm.

What’s rather worrying, is that three out of five said they had no idea if their tyres were illegal or not.

The comparison website surveyed 2,000 motorists and found that 61% hadn’t got a clue what the minimum tread depth was in the UK that’s required by law. And from those who did know that their tyres were classed as legally unfit to be on the road, 55% of them admitted they had no idea how to check whether they were roadworthy or not.

Whilst these results show a lack of knowledge amongst drivers which could pose a huge safety risk, it also shows how many motorists in the UK are risking being fined up to £2,500 PER TYRE if caught and could also be issued with three penalty points for EACH illegal tyre which could lead to a possible loss of your driving licence.

You may even risk invalidating your insurance policy if you’re involved in an accident and later on it’s found that your vehicle had bald tyres at the time of the incident – your car would be classed as unroadworthy.

Recent data found that tyre issues were the fourth most common reason for vehicles failing their MoT, with 7.7% of all vehicles in 2017 failing the test because of illegal tread depth or rubber that was classed as not fit for use.

The research found that vehicles in Edinburgh had the highest number of cars with tread depth below the recommended 3mm (27%), whereas drivers in Ipswich and Newcastle had the highest rate of illegal tyres (5% for both).

It seems that motorists in London are the most attentive, as only 16% of vehicles had dangerous rubber fitted to them but it’s the drivers of Birmingham who must be praised the most, as could find no cars in the city with illegal tyres.

Motoring editor at, Amanda Stretton, said it was ‘worrying’ to find so many vehicles fitted with potentially lethal tyres, adding: “Tyre tread ignorance could land offenders with fines of up to £2,500 per tyre, invalidate their insurance or lead to an accident.” Drivers can conduct a few simple checks every month to ensure the roads are kept safe for all users and the 20p coin test is one that all motorists can do – place a 20p coin into your tyre’s main tread grooves. If you can see the outer band this means that the tread is too low and could cost you a fine and penalty points if caught.

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