Tyre troubles top cause of breakdowns

Nearly half of all breakdowns on motorways and A-roads in the UK over the last three years were caused by tyre issues.

This is according to data revealed in a Freedom of Information request to National Highways by motor insurance loss adjuster Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA).

The data also revealed that tyres accounted for more than double the next breakdown issue, which was loss of power (18.6%).

There were 5,934 tyre-related incidents in the UK in 2021. This rose to 7,095 in 2022 and 7,762 in 2023.


Philip Swift, technical director at the CMA, said:

“From a fleet and insurance perspective, this new data gives a great insight into highway claims costs. The first thing we noted was that the cause of many incidents was not specified. Stripping these out, the true scale of the tyre problem became shockingly obvious – they have increased year-on-year since 2021 and now cause roughly half of all highway breakdowns.

“Carriageway closures cause huge disruption and can also lead to sizeable insurance claims involving infrastructure repair costs. Unlike out of fuel, for tyre issues you have to ask: Who was negligent? If an incident was caused by debris that should have been cleared, far from accepting blame, there could well be a case for making a claim.

“A further factor to consider is the high number of vehicles now fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). These days, there’s often hard evidence with which to either refute a claim against a driver or pursue the relevant authority if appropriate. This is an underappreciated area of motor insurance that drivers, fleet operators and insurers would be wise to gen up on.”