A recent English e.commerce tyre website poll asked guests “Do you replace your tyres well in advance of the tread reaching 1.5 mm?” 62% of respondents answered Yes and 38% No.
While no similar poll has been conducted in New Zealand, feedback from tyre retailers indicates many Kiwis try to eek every last kilometer out of their tyres. Probably our situation is in reverse to England with a large number of motorists running their tyres down to 1.5 mm. Of course the situation is worse than that as many Kiwi’s run at least one of their tyres down below 1.5 mm. Bettertyres recommends that tyres are replaced when the tread falls below 3 mm; the legal minimum of 1.5 mm is not sufficiently effective in heavy rain.
And the cavalier attitude of many New Zealanders to tyre tread depth and tyre safety in general is exacerbated by the new WOF rules which extend WOF’s from 6 to 12 months. Many of us are wedded to the notion that worn out tyres should continue in use till the next WOF; that was bad enough with 6 monthly WOF checks but is simply dangerous with the new 12 monthly frequency.
This situation is one of many unintended, albeit highly predictable, consequences of 12 monthly WOF’s which are reducing our road safety.