Many motorists could unknowingly be driving around with faulty tyres, Birmingham's coroner warned yesterday.

Aidan Cotter made his comments after hearing how a pre-existing tyre defect caused a vehicle to swerve off a motorway and crash into a concrete pillar, causing the death of the driver.

He said: "I confess I had not realised tyres could have a perfectly valid and sensible tread and look absolutely okay and yet, because they are six or ten years old, could have inherent defects which could lead to the tread peeling off.

"It seemed to me there must be many people who are either driving a car which they have owned for many years or have done very little mileage and whose tyre treads are perfectly valid but whose tyres need replacing for other reasons. It seems to me the message ought to be sent home.

"It also seems to me that people who buy second-hand tyres ought to make sure they deal with reputable dealers."

The inquest heard that Charalambos Constantinou had been driving on the M6 northbound near Junctions 4 and 4A on June 11 last year with his young son when the accident happened.

Mr Constantinou, aged 47, of Bromford Lane, Erdington, died from multiple injuries but his son survived the crash. Pc Michael Corrigan said the accident had been caused by the tread coming off the rear offside tyre of the Astra.