A staggering 3.5 million motorists wait until suffering an MOT failure before changing their tyres, according to research by Kwik Fit.

Driving with illegal tyres could lead to three penalty points and £2,500 in fines, and automotive servicing and repair company, Kwik Fit, warn that it could also seriously compromise vehicle safety and handling.

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The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on car tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central 3/4 of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre. However, tyre performance deteriorate well before reaching this limit.

At a measurement of 1.6 millimetres in wet weather it takes almost 40 per cent further to stop at 50 mph than it doest at 7mm, and with Winter approaching, and the weather turning colder and wetter, Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit is advising motorists to take responsibility when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

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"With vehicles being increasingly sophisticated in monitoring their own maintenance intervals, drivers are often leaving it to their cars to warn them of potential issues" said Roger Griggs.

"Motorists should realise the responsibility for vehicle health and safety lies directly in their hands. Without proper care, motorists could land themselves either in legal trouble or in an incident on the road.

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"Tyres should be the number one priority for drivers - after all, they are the only part of a car which keeps it on the road. Even though at 1.6 millimetres of tread a tyre is legal, it will not have much grip on the road and travelling in adverse weather conditions can be treacherous."

Motorists should change their tyres at 3mm of tread depth to maintain optimum performance as this will avoid any risk of letting their tread depth drop so low.

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