Sunday Times highlights need to check your tyres before MOT test

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We regularly stress the importance of giving your tyres a thorough inspection ahead of your vehicle’s MOT, because by spotting a bald or damaged tyre in time it could save you the aggravation and expense of a failed test.

As well as making sure your tyres have at least the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm and are the right type and size for your vehicle, it is also vital to make sure your tyres are fitted the right way round – as highlighted in a letter on the Car Clinic page of the Sunday Times weekly Driving section.

SH, from Bourne, Lincolnshire, asked the panel of experts: “My Citroen C5 recently failed its MOT because two months earlier the Michelin Primacy tyre I’d had fitted to the nearside front wheel had been put on the wrong way round. The testing station rectified this, but just how dangerous could it have been?”

Car Clinic expert Dave Pollard replied: “As many modern tyres, the Primacy is asymmetric, which means the tread patter is not the same across the width of the tyre. This is because each side of the tyre has a different job to do: the outer part of the tyre tread is designed to take the strain when the car is cornering or steering, while the inner part is designed to expel water to lessen the chance of a skid.

“Michelin therefore gives the outside of the tyre a denser, zigzag-type tread pattern to provide extra grip and durability, while the inner section will usually have a more widely spaced grooved tread patter around the rim to help channel water away, particularly under braking.

“According to a spokesman for Michelin, it probably would not be unsafe to use the tyre the wrong way round, but it certainly wouldn’t perform as well as it should.

“In your case, because the fitting error was spotted so soon, it’s not likely any harm has been done to the tyre. But to be sure, inspect both front tyres, looking for any obvious difference in the way they are wearing. If you find obvious unevenness, you might want to contact the firm that fitted with the tyre with a view to being compensated.”

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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