Tyre safety tips for classic cars

Even if your cherished classic only does a few hundred miles a year and even if you store it lovingly, covered up inside a lockup, you must keep a regular eye on the condition of the car’s tyres.

Not only can the tyres be potentially lethal but owners can end up with a large fine and penalty points if the tyres on their classic vehicle are not up to scratch.

Because classic cars are often left idle for long periods, or because they’re only taken on occasional short runs, the rubber can harden and crack or the tyres can become dangerously under-inflated.

As the tyres are the only part of a car which touches the road, keeping them in good condition is an essential safety feature.

Take a closer look

At first sight, the tyres on your vehicle can look completely fine. But a closer look will often reveal dangerously degraded tyres.

It can even sometimes be the case that a vehicle can pass an MOT test because the tread on the tyres is above the minimum required but that the dangerous condition of the tyre is hidden within the depths of the rubber.

As rubber ages, it can crack and tear as it becomes brittle. When the cracking becomes extensive, the tread layer can physically separate from the carcass. If a vehicle with tyres like this is driven then the result could be catastrophic.

Check your classic car tyres regularly

It is important to remember that just because a tyre is not being used it doesn’t mean that the condition hasn’t deteriorated.

It’s crucial that owners of classic cars do more than a quick visual inspection and tread depth check. A regular examination of the tyre’s inner and outer walls are essential. Any sign of damage or degradation should be an instant cue to replace the tyres on your cherished car.

The danger for classic car owners has only been exacerbated following the 2018 decision by the Department for Transport that vehicles aged over 40 years are no longer subject to an MOT test. Without a professional giving the rubber on these cars an annual once-over, it’s imperative that owners keep a close eye on the condition of their tyres.

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