Recent statistics released by Applus, the company that oversees the National Car Test (NCT) in Ireland, show that poor tyre condition is now the leading cause of vehicles failing the test.
According to German tyre manufacturer Continental Tyres, the alarming surge in tyre-related NCT failure is down to a high level of disregard among motorists to tyre care and tyre safety.
“The statistics about NCT failure causes are worrying on a number of levels,” says Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres (Ireland).
“Firstly, it suggests that Irish motorists are simply not looking after their tyres; not checking them regularly and not having them fixed or replaced when they need to be.
“These statistics also raise serious questions about the quality of tyre testing in so-called ‘pre-NCT’ checks,” Mr Dennigan goes on.
“Are these pre-checks focusing solely on the mechanical performance of the car and not paying enough attention to the condition of the tyres?
Are the garage staff carrying out the checks properly qualified to do so?
“Our advice to motorists is to always, always get their tyres checked at a reputable tyre dealership where specially trained staff will identify any problems before it’s too late.
“By all means book your pre-NCT test but never leave your tyre safety in the hands of someone not properly qualified. It could save you more than just time and money in the long run…
“Most reputable tyre outlets will happily provide you with a free tyre check,” Mr Dennigan adds.
Since it was introduced in 2000, the NCT has played a huge part in improving road safety in Ireland by ensuring the roadworthiness of all vehicles on Irish roads.
Figures from NCT test centres show that tyre-related test failures fall into three main categories:
· Tyre tread depth below the legal 1.6mm limit (in some cases on all four tyres)
· Dangerous level of damage (e.g. cuts or bulges) to a tyre
· Mis-matched tyres on the same axle: tyres fitted are not of the same size, aspect ratio* or type (e.g. a ‘summer’ tyre on the same axle as a ‘winter’ tyre will be deemed a failure)
The date of manufacture of the tyres will also be checked (every tyre carries a manufactured date stamp).
Most tyre manufacturers and road safety bodies say that tyres should be replaced when they are six years or older.
In the NCT, tyres that are more than six years old will not be automatically failed.
Rather, a ‘pass advisory’ note highlighting the age of the tyres will appear on the test report, advising the motorist to be aware of the potential danger of the ageing tyres.
Continental Tyre Group is providing this advice to Irish drivers as part of its Vision Zero strategy.