Motokiki, the UK’s newest independent tyre comparison website has published the results of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Ministry of Transport relating to the number of failed MOT tests around the UK.

The FOI data highlighted that in 2018 a shocking 2,001,600 cars vans and passenger vehicles failed their MOT test due to faulty or worn tyres.  But the problems don’t simply lie with cars not being roadworthy; Government statistics show that in 2017, the most prevalent vehicle defect that contributed to those killed or seriously injured on the roads was tyres that were illegal, defective or underinflated.  The figures show that 37% of these casualties were tyre-related, making this more prevalent than defective brakes, steering or suspension.

A recent investigation conducted by Tyre Safe into the part-worn tyre industry highlights that a staggering 90% of tyre sellers were fitting illegal and unsafe tyres. This study demonstrates how large of an industry illegal tyre sales really are, and the extent to which this leads to casualties on the road.

Dr Debra Williams, CEO and co-founder of Motokiki said:

“The number of tyre-related accidents across the UK is a serious concern, surpassing even casualties linked to phone usage while driving.  It is time for UK drivers to take a look at the statistics and realise how crucial the condition of tyres are when it comes to road safety.

“Vehicle owners must take responsibility for the state of their vehicles to ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers and other drivers on the road.“

“The figures show that more than 11.4% of all cars, vans and passenger vehicles MOT tests are failed due to the dangerous conditions of tyres. People often forget that their tyres are the only parts of the car in constant contact with the road and that their safety and that of their family depends on an extremely small area of road contact – usually the size of a modern smartphone.” she added.

2018 MOT Statistics of vehicles (cars, vans and passenger vehicles with up to 12 seats) that have failed an MOT test

Dangerous and/or Major
Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment 4,402,887
Suspension 3,119,129
Brakes 2,584,925
Tyres 2,015,043
Visibility 1,789,342
Body, chassis, structure 1,375,433
Noise, emissions and leaks 1,147,699
Steering 644,497
Seat belts and supplementary restraint systems 437,633
Identification of the vehicle 152,299

According to MOT guidelines, tyres must have the required speed and load rating for the vehicle. Tyres must also be in general good road condition, meaning they can to have cuts in excess of 25mm, have no lumps, bumps, tears or exposure of the underlying cord.

A quick and easy way to see if the tread on your tyres our tyre exceeds the minimum legal tread depth is to take the 20p test. Simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit, if not then your tyres are not roadworthy and your car won’t pass its MOT.