The Campaign for Better Tyres is fully supportive of the MTA’s (Motor Trade Association) campaign against out Governments proposed changes to WOF test frequency. Its getting hard to ignore this issue, you have probably heard Greg Murphy’s radio campaign on behalf of the MTA and there has been a lot of comment in the media too.
All of us are aware that times are hard and that there is a need to streamline regulations and reduce costs for the consumer and busineness, but the proposed changes to WOF test frequency will cost lives.
So lets focus on the Campaign for Better Tyres prime concern, Tyres!
The detection of unsafe and dangerous tyres is not as simple as many people think. Many consumers will walk around their vehicle looking at each tyre and pronounce them road worthy. Ok, that may be effective in checking the first few inches of visible tread and the state of the tyres side wall, but it does nothing to reveal the state of the inner sidewall and tread on the other side of the tyre where dangerous, uneven wear is most likely.
The only reliable procedure to check tyre safety is to raise the vehicle on a hoist with all 4 wheels free and rotate each wheel by hand while examining the tyre with a high powered light. Then the horrors of unsafe tyres are revealed. Wear on the inside tread with smooth rubber, canvas showing or even steel belts hanging out of the tyre, old perished rubber cracking, sidewall bulges, cuts in the tread and sidewall, chunks of rubber ripped off the sidewall, dangerous illegal puncture repairs, wheels with nuts missing, flat spots on the tread from panic braking, tyres out of shape due to “separation” where the tyres tread is starting to fall off, mis matched tyre types and sizes which guarantee the vehicle will behave unpredictably and dangerously on corners and in the event of emergency braking. The road worthiness of tyres can change very quickly and this applies to even new vehicles; brand new tyres can be quickly rendered dangerous by driving into curbs or over potholes etc.
The WOF tester is checking for all these defects every time he checks a vehicle; none of these defects is an extreme one in a million fault, many vehicles in New Zealand are failing WOF tests everyday due to dangerous tyre defects.
So are these tyre defects really dangerous? Yes! A tyre blowing out at 100 kph, or even 50 kph, can cause the driver to loose control of the vehicle. Ok, some confident Kiwi drivers have quite a cavalier attitude to this sort of thing, but many drivers would have no show of controlling a vehicle after a blowout; and there is no guarantee even the most experienced driver could either. And dangerously matched tyres, i.e. not conforming to WOF requirements, can result in loss of vehicle control on corners and high speeds. Loss of life situations can arise very quickly from these serious defects.
So you say you can check your own tyres? Maybe you can, maybe you will jack each tyre up and rotate it to check it thoroughly, but you would be one in 100,000! Most people presenting their vehicles for a WOF test have no clues as to the true state of their tyres. And then there are many drivers who have a hopelessly optimistic opinion of their tyres condition. Maybe you think this is an extreme viewpoint, but Motortrade people in Tyre shops and WOF Test Station are faced with dangerous tyres every day.
And the simple and salient point here is that many drivers only replace dangerous tyres when they are forced to by WOF test failure.
Bettertyres urges our Government to reconsider this matter, save lives and leave the current WOF test frequncy unchanged.