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TyreSafe: Check tyres when taking vehicles out of storage

As the winter months come to an end and spring brings warmer weather, TyreSafe, the UK’s tyre safety charity, is issuing a critical reminder to vehicle owners.

With many vehicles emerging from winter storage, there is a heightened risk of tyre degradation that could lead to hazardous situations on the road.

The transition from colder to warmer temperatures can impact tyre conditions, particularly for vehicles such as trailers, motorcycles, caravans, and motorhomes. Tyres that have been stored for an extended period can develop cracks, bulges, or other signs of wear, making them unsafe for road use.

TyreSafe advises owners to begin their visual checks by looking for any signs of damage on the tyres. Damage can include things such as lumps, bumps or cuts, as well as general deterioration, most commonly seen as cracking in the tyre’ sidewall.

Also look for any objects which might be caught in the tread pattern, which should be removed with a blunt tool if possible. It’s important to remember, a tyre can be damaged even when brand new, so these checks should be carried out regularly, and certainly if you suspect you’ve run over a pothole or through road debris.

Over time, tyres will also slowly deflate so it’s essential their pressures are checked. Check the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook, a plaque on the bodywork, the fuel filler cap or door shut to find the correct settings.

Measure the tread depth using a depth gauge or the simple €1 coin test. In Ireland, the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. Note that the legal minimum tread for motorcycles is different.

Motorcycles over 50cc must have a tread depth that’s at least 1mm around the entire circumference. For under 50cc machines, the grooves from the original tread must remain visible around the whole tyre.

Stuart Lovatt, Chair of TyreSafe, emphasised the importance of proactive tyre maintenance, stating: “As we welcome the arrival of spring, it is crucial for all motorists to ensure their tyres are in optimal condition before embarking on their journeys. Neglected tyres can pose serious safety risks, especially for vehicles that have been in storage during the winter months.”