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One of the most important things to remember when it comes to safety, your vehicle and driving on the road, is the condition of your tyres.

When it comes to driving a lease vehicle, many drivers ask the question: Whose responsibility is it to replace the tyres on a lease vehicle?

To help explain the rules around tyre replacement, we have put together a short guide to explain whose responsibility is it to replace the tyres on a lease vehicle and what tyre brands are permitted.

Tyre Maintenance

For drivers who take out a lease contract with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, you have the option to include a maintenance package in the contract for a fixed monthly fee so you can rest assured that you have complete cover during the term of your contract.

Full details of the Maintenance Package can be found here, and it includes all routine servicing, replacement tyres (depending on funder) and other repair costs that might be required during the length of the leasing contract. This is addition to the to full UK Manufacturers warranty and at least 12 months roadside assistance and recovery that come with all new vehicles as standard.

When it comes to tyres, a maintenance contract may also include:

  • Unlimited Premium Branded tyre replacements including valve and balance
  • Free mobile tyre fitting service at a convenient location for you by appointment
  • No recharges for punctures or damaged tyres (dependent upon finance provider)

It doesn't include:

  • Repairs or replacements due to driver error or driver induced faults
  • Vandalised and Stolen Wheels and/or Tyres

If you don't have a maintenance contract, replacement of tyres is down to you and it is advisable for you to ensure that the correct standard and make of tyres is fitted to the vehicle, as fitting part-worn tyres - even if you may be unaware that they are part-worn - can be dangerous. The state and condition of the tyres is also taken into consideration when the car is returned at the end of the lease too.

Changing a tyre

If you need advice on how to change a tyre, check out our Tyre Maintenance Guide for help and advice including a tyre classification guide to help you decide the correct tyre for your vehicle.

Garage changing a tyre

Obviously, driving with worn or damaged tyres is dangerous - to you, your passengers, other road users and pedestrians - but it is also illegal. You run the risk of not only being involved in an accident but also invalidating your car insurance policy.

If you are caught driving with illegal tyres, you may be:

  • Issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to £100 for each defective tyre
  • Summoned to court for prosecution where you can be fined up to £2,500 and get three penalty points for each illegal tyre (£5,000 in the case of a goods vehicle or a vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than eight passengers)
  • Summoned to court for prosecution where you can be disqualified from driving in certain circumstances

When does a tyre need changing?

So when should a tyre be changed? The obvious answer is: "before it becomes illegal!"

According to the AA, any tyre that is fitted to a motor vehicle must be "fit for purpose and be free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person", as well as being correctly inflated to the pressure required for the vehicle and its load as directed by the manufacturer.

'Fit for Purpose' means that a tyre must fit in with the other tyres on the vehicle, not have any bumps, tears or bulges and not have any part of the ply or cord showing, including any tears or cuts above 25mm across.

Tread depth is also equally important. According to Tyresafe "Current UK law requires car, van and LCV drivers to have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of the tyre, around its entire circumference." 

As the tread is the part of the tyre that is in contact with the road, it is important that it is at least the legal minimum to cope with UK roads and weather conditions for safety reasons and legal reasons.

What tyre brands are permitted?

If you need to replace the tyres on your lease vehicle during the course of your contract, please ensure you use a premium brand such as Pirelli, Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear or Dunlop.

Photo courtesy of Tyresafe.

So, in answer to the 'question' at the top of the page, for lease car drivers, replacing tyres if you have a maintenance contract is as cheap as 'free' chips; if you don't, then it is all down to you.

Whichever it is, make sure that you are driving with safe tyres; because it's easier to replace a tyre than it is a life.