Owner of car wanted a cheap tyre to “tide” her over but ended up smashing into central reservation following blowout.
A £25 part-worn tyre has been identified as a contributing factor which caused a 70mph motorway crash, an independent investigation has found.
The tyre, which has three ‘unsatisfactory’ repairs, was fitted to the Seat Ibiza a few days before it spun out of control and crashed into the central reservation of the M40 in September 2017.
The investigation, carried out by Newlaw Associates, blamed ‘improper repairs’ made to the tyre before it was fitted to the rear near-side wheel before the crash.
It’s been reported that insurers are still waiting to resolve the issue with the company that fitted the tyre – 17 months after the car was written off.
The owner of the car, the passengers which included her five-year-old son, her 11-year-old brother and their mum when the crash happened.
“I wanted a tyre to just tide me over”
She said. “I wanted a tyre to just tide me over for the journey which cost £25. After the accident, my insurance company AXA organised for my car to be taken away for a forensic examination by Newlaw Associates.
We are lucky because we had just passed a lot of traffic and were on a relatively quiet part of the motorway. My young son hit his head on the back of my seat and the boys were really shaken up but our injuries were nothing compared to what potentially could have happened.”
The drivers insurance company is now requesting £18,000 to cover the cost of her car and the repairs to the central reservation.
“Gradual and progressive loss of inflation”
The Newlaw Associates investigation report said: “From the time the tyre was fitted to the drivers vehicle, there would have been a gradual and progressive loss of inflation pressure from at least one of the repaired areas.
On relatively straight roads, a gradual loss of pressure in a rear-fitted tyre can often go unnoticed – until such time the inflation pressure is low enough to cause the bead area to dislodge from its rim-seating and immediately deflate the tyre.
Deflation of the tyre caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle and impact against the crash barrier. The tyre failed in service as a result of a gradual and progressive loss of inflation pressure from within the tyre due to improper repairs to the bead area.”
The tyre company at the centre of the insurance claim has confirmed it is cooperating with trading standards.
A spokesman said: “Trading standards has been out to us and we’re complying with them as we always have been. They’ve never had an issue with us and we’ll take any of its advice on board.”