Hundreds of accidents per year on British roads are caused by defective tyres, plus you could be fined several thousand pounds for overly worn rubber
The vast majority of classic cars live as pampered pets and receive all of the necessary tender loving care an ageing vehicle deserves. However, even if your pride and joy is tucked-up in a heated garage, that doesn’t mean it can be left for lengthy periods of time without needing maintenance. Degrading tyres on classics could land you in hot water if they aren’t checked regularly.
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The current fine for driving on unsafe tyres is £2,500 per tyre — not a small sum, especially if the offender is caught with four sub-par examples. It’s not just the financial penalty that’s chilling, ClassicLine insurance warns that 384 reported accidents in 2017 were due to defective tyres.
When a classic is left standing, or only taken for short trips, the rubber tyres can degrade due to hardening and eventual cracking. The signs can be subtle at first, but if left unattended deflation or a blow-out is likely.
Ian Fray, managing director at ClassicLine Insurance, said: “It’s important to remember that just because a tyre is not being used, doesn’t necessarily mean the tyre’s condition hasn’t deteriorated.” He continues; “Even if the vehicle hasn’t moved, it is still essential to give each tyre a thorough inspection to check its condition, whether it is a classic car or more modern vehicle.”
Generally speaking, most cars tyres are inspected at least once a year via an MOT (you should check your tyres yourself more frequently than this), but classics over 40 years old no long need to pass such a test. With this backstop of tyre safety now removed, it leaves inattentive classic car owners liable to large fines.
Tyre safety is essential, with those four rubber contact patches the only physical connection between car and road. Make a point of checking your classic’s tyres regularly, it could save more than just money.