Given that your tyres are such an important feature of your vehicle, it’s crucial to look after them to ensure your safety and that of other road users. There are a few simple checks that you should carry out regularly to make sure your tyres are safe and meet the legal requirements.
To help you, here’s a brief guide to tyre care.
Checking your tyre wear and tread depth regularly is a key element of tyre safety and will help ensure that you avoid accidents on the roads. We recommend checking for wear at least once a month and before all long journeys. As well as reducing the risk of accidents, keeping tabs on your tyre wear will also help you to stay on the right side of the law. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, and for each tyre that doesn’t meet this standard, you could receive three penalty points on your licence and a £2,500 fine.
You can check if your tyres have this level of tread yourself with the 20p test. Simply place the coin in the main grooves of the tyre. If the outer rim is visible, then the tyre is close to the legal limit and will need replacing soon.
Although a tread depth of 1.6mm and above is permissible by law, it’s worth noting that safety experts advise drivers to change their tyres once the tread gets to 3mm or below.
To prolong their lifespan, we recommend rotating your front and rear tyres - as long as they are all the same size. If you have a front wheel drive car, your front tyres will wear out more quickly. To make the wear more even across your tyres, we advise motorists to rotate them every 10,000 miles.
As well as checking the tread depth, it’s important to assess general wear. You can do this easily by running your hand over the surface of the tyre. If it doesn’t feel smooth, you may have a problem with incorrect tyre pressure or with the alignment of your wheels.
If you notice uneven wear on your tyres and suspect that your wheels aren’t aligned correctly, you can book a free alignment checkonline.
Another important safety check is tyre pressure. You can test this either with your own pressure gauge or at your local petrol station or Tyre Pros centre. Don’t forget to check your spare too just in case you need to use it. If you’re unsure what pressure your tyres should be inflated to, you can find this information in the manufacturer’s handbook or on the inside of the driver’s door.
The whole weight of your car is supported by the pressure in your tyres, and so it’s not surprising that they typically lose a small amount of air on an ongoing basis. This means it’s essential to monitor the pressure regularly.
Problems with under and over inflation
Tyre pressure has an effect on your car’s performance in a number of important safety and handling areas, including how well your vehicle takes corners, how quickly you can slow down or come to a stop and the overall comfort of your drive. It also impacts on your fuel consumption. An improperly inflated tyre can create more rolling resistance, meaning your car has to work harder and is therefore less fuel efficient. Also, both over and under-inflated tyres can lead to misalignment and uneven tread wear, meaning you need to replace your tyres more frequently.
In addition, under-inflated tyres are more likely to overheat, increasing the risk of blowouts.
Spotting signs of visual damage early on can ensure that the problems don’t continue to get worse. We recommend that you check your tyres for objects that may have become embedded in the tread, such as nails or screws. You should also check for signs of sidewall damage such as lumps, bulges or cuts. Visual damage can lead to a tyre blowout, so it’s important to spot it early.
Causes of tyre damage include:
- Foreign objects
- Emergency braking
Talk To The Tyre Pros
“Looking after your tyres is important for your safety and ensuring that your tyres last. We recommend completing these checks at least once a month and before any long journeys. If you have any concerns about your tyres, we are here to help. Simply find your nearest Tyre Pros centre and our experts will take a look at your vehicle to offer their assessment and recommendations.