Don’t Ignore Your Tyres

With thousands of families expected to take to the roads during the Easter holidays, more than a quarter (27%) could be posing a risk to themselves and others by heading out on potentially underinflated tyres.


A poll for AA Tyres found an estimated 8.1 million UK drivers haven’t checked their tyre pressures in the last two months. This means a large proportion could be driving around on tyres that give them a poor ride and bad fuel economy. Of that group, over two million drivers (7%) haven’t assessed their tyre pressures in the last six months or ever, which means they potentially pose a significant danger to themselves and other road users.


An AA-Populus poll canvassed 20,033 AA members on when they last checked certain parts of their main vehicle. The research found that a much higher proportion of drivers had checked their screenwash levels (56%), windscreen (50%), condition of their bodywork (47%) and lights (43%) than the condition of their tyres – pressures (40%) and tread (36%) – in the last two weeks.


The worst culprits for failing to check tyre pressures were women and Londoners, with more than a third (35%) in both groups not making an assessment in the last two months.


The following regional breakdown shows, in ascending order, the worst offenders when it comes to checking their tyre pressures:

 When did you last change the tyre on your main vehicle?

More than two months ago or never



Northern Ireland


South East




North West


Source: AA Populus online poll


In 2015, almost a third (32.6%) of accidents in the UK in which vehicle defects were a contributory factor were due to underinflated, defective or illegal tyres – including 112 serious accidents and 14 fatalities.


Mark Shankland, of AA Tyres, comments: “It doesn’t take much misuse of brand new tyres to go from safe to dangerous. Checking tyre pressures is the bread and butter of car management, so it’s surprising that over a quarter of UK drivers have failed to do this recently.”


Shankland went on: “Sadly the accident figures bear out just how important it is to keep tyres correctly inflated – and just how quickly failing to do so can result in tragedy. On average, even if they are correctly fitted and undamaged, tyres can lose up to two pounds per square inch (PSI) every month – add in the potential of minor damage going unnoticed and you could be running on dangerously low levels before you know it. Failure to make these checks even after a couple of weeks can have significant knock-on effect to your fuel economy and the comfort of your drive – and not least your safety.”


Shankland added: “It’s important to check your tyres every couple of weeks. Before you do, make sure they’re ‘cold’ and haven’t been driven in the last couple of hours. The pressure inside your tyre naturally increases as they heat up, so making an assessment while they are warm could give a false reading. Also use this opportunity to check tread levels and signs of wear, cuts or bulges in the sidewall – which could be a sign that the tyre has sustained internal damage.”