British drivers are risking £27m in fines over this minor fault

A freedom of information investigation has revealed that 2.5 million vehicles failed their MOTs for illegal tyres last year – while police hit almost 9,000 drivers with fines for defective rubber.

If you’re caught driving with less than 1.6mm of tread, you could face a penalty of up to £2,500 and three points on your licence – per tyre.

The Confused.com investigation found that 10,766 endorsements were handed out for defective tyres in 2016. Multiplying this by the maximum £2,500 penalty, motorists could be risking nearly £27 million in fines for not checking their tyres.

While driving with bald tyres can have a dangerous effect on a car’s handling and stopping distance, especially in the wet, the research also revealed that drivers often aren’t in a rush to get their tyres changed.

Out of those who were found to have illegal tyres, more than a third (34%) did not get their tyres replaced straight away because they didn’t have the time, while almost a quarter (24%) said they couldn’t afford new tyres.

A further quarter (23%) admitted to driving with dangerous tyres because the garage could not fit them in sooner.

Confused.com’s motoring editor, Amanda Stretton, said: “It’s pretty shocking to find out that 2.5 million drivers have failed their MOTs as a result of not checking their tyres regularly.

“We understand that arranging to have your tyres changed seems like a hassle, and we know some drivers are concerned about how big a hole it’s going to burn in their pockets. But motorists need to ask themselves if it’s really worth risking three points on their license and enormous fines of up to £2,500 per tyre.”

The website has launched a new tyre tool that lets drivers compare the cost of tyres.

“Confused.com’s tyre tool helps to lower the cost of buying new tyres by allowing you to compare prices in advance,” added Stretton, “so there are no nasty surprises once you get to the garage. Plus, you can pay on the day and the cost of fitting and disposal of your old tyres is completely included in the price.”