Tread depth critical to safe driving
Every day Peter Howland sees tyres that are treading a fine line between illegal and downright dangerous.
The Beaurepairs Matamata owner has worked with tyres for more than three decades and supports a push for safer tyres on New Zealand roads.
The inaugural Tyre Awareness Week started on Monday with a focus this year on tread depth and tyre pressure.
Organisers – including AA, the Ministry of Transport, the police and industry leaders – say the intro- duction of less frequent warrant of fitness checks meant car owners needed to show more interest.
‘‘ People rely on the warrant of fitness every six months to check the tyres and make sure they’re legal but realistically they should be checking their tyres at least once a month,’’ Howland said.
‘‘ I think the big thing is to make sure you have the correct depth of tread and the tyre is wearing correctly, not only for legality but for safety.’’
A lot of people were unaware that tread must have a depth of at least 1.5mm for a tyre to be legal, he said.
‘‘ We see some very, very bald tyres come in here. Way below the legal depth.
‘‘ If you were cruising along at 100kmh in the wet then they would become very, very slip- pery. Tyres need tread to shed the water away so you keep adhesion to the road.’’
Checking the tread on four tyres only takes a few minutes and most brands even have moulded treaddepth indicators.
Tyre pressure could also be checked easily at any service station or tyre outlet.
‘‘ Another thing people need to think about is wheel alignment which should be done every six months or 10,000km.
‘‘ The simple reason is we have quite adverse roads in New Zealand.
‘‘ Corners, pot holes, rough edges ... all those things take their toll on wheel alignment and tyres.
‘‘ It doesn’t take very much to put a modern car out.’’
Stopping distance, handling around corners and fuel efficiency are all affected by the condition of tyres.
Go to tyresafety. org. nz for more information.
Treading a fine line: Beaurepairs Matamata owner Peter Howland compares a new tyre with an unsafe tyre he took off a customer’s car.