Tyre Care

images: tyre safety

Tytre cut to cords

Checking your car tyres regularly and correctly could save your life.

The best way to check your front tyres would be to turn your steering on full lock, so that you can see fully. Look out for cuts as pictured above. This tyre has 5mm of tyre tread, but as you can see has a 4" cut in the centre of the tyre deep enough to reach the cords, this is the main structure casing of the tyre.  Driving over a large stone or piece of glass could of blown this tyre, causing it to swerve rapidly across the road. Click here for an example of a tyre perrishing so bad that it has split the sidewalls deep enough to reach the cords.

Checking the rear tyres are a little more difficult as you need to get down to the tyres level, you may want a mat or something to kneel down on.

Looking after your tyres is ultimately what is going to keep you safe and on the road. Many factors need to be taken into account before you are fully safe on the road. Pressures, wear, age of tyre and external damage. These all need to be checked weekly or if you feel anything unusual or have an accident causing to skid, hit your tyre or drive over glass.

As the only point of contact between your car and the road, your tyres safety plays a critical role in keeping you safe. Acceleration, steering and cornering all depends on your tyre, making it essential that they are properly cared for and regularly examined.

Poorly maintained tyres reduce performance and compromises safety.

TYRE CONDITION

You should check your tyres condition as often as you check the pressure. If you park with the steering turned on full lock you will see more of your tyres. Tread depth, most new tyres have a tread depth indicator built into them between the main grooves. When the tread gets down to these the tyres need replacing. Damage, look for any deep cuts, bulges, cracks or excessive wear.

It is illegal to drive with badly damaged tyres.

If you’re unsure about damaged tyres call into your local garage they will give you free advice.

Driving on poorly maintained tyres has very serious safety implications

Driving with the incorrect pressures can result in tyre failure. This can be dangerous; at high speeds you can lose control of the vehicle. Incorrect pressure can also dramatically increase your braking/stopping distance.

TREAD DEPTHS

Tyres are a vital part of your car, as it is the only part that has contact with the road. To enable them to grip so well to the road tyres have tread cut into them.

Adequate tread depth is essential for your safety on the roads. In wet weather the tread pattern helps to remove the water from the tyres contact path with the road surface. As the tyre wears down it removes the ability to remove all the water from road. Resulting in longer stopping distances, loss of grip and aquaplaning.

For maximum safety it is advisable to change your tyres before they reach the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm.

Tyre tread wear indicator image


NEW

8mm+

No action required

15% WORN

7mm

No action required

31% WORN

6mm

No action required

47% WORN

5mm

No action required

62% WORN

4mm

No action required

78% WORN

3mm

For Optimum safety recommend changing now

94%WORN

2mm

Seriously effecting braking distance

100%WORN

1.6mm

Tyre at legal limit replace immediately

New tyres usually start at 8mm but some only 7mm, and some budget tyres only start with 6mm so you have already lost 31% wear. This can be false economy when buying budget tyres.

Independent research by MIRA motor industry research association indicate that braking performance in the wet drops significantly when the tyre tread falls below 3mm.

Many tyre safety organisations including tyre safe, the royal society for the prevention of accidents (ROSPA) and the AA motoring trust recommend changing tyres at 3mm.

It can take 44 meters (about 10 car lengths) more for a car to stop at motorway speeds in the wet if its tyres are at the legal limit. Therefore for optimum safety we recommend changing your tyres at 3mm.

If the tread becomes too worn down, it affects its performance, ability to grip to the road. This can cause accidents.

There are several different types of tyres and wheels.


  • Standard, common thick rubber tyres, with a steel wheel.

  • Alloy, now getting more popular, are lighter so helps improve performance.

  • Low Profile, a very thin tyre, lowers the car to the road, they look sporty and they grip better to the road at higher speeds, though not as comfortable for the driver, who feels every bump.

  • RunFlats, reinforced tyres allow you to drive to a garage with a puncture, without having to change the tyre yourself; these are more expensive than standard tyres and cannot be repaired.

Click here for more info on Run Flat Tyres

TYRE PRESSURE

It is recommended that you check your tyre pressures once a week, but, you should definitely check them once a month. Also before a long journey or towing. When towing you will need to increase your tyre pressures, please see your owner's manual.

Tyres need to be cold when checking the pressures, not after a long journey as the reading will be incorrect. If you do need to reinflate the tyres when they are hot add about 4psi to the tyre and recheck them when they have cooled down.

You can find your recommended tyre pressures for your vehicle in your owner’s manual. On some vehicles you can find them inside your petrol cap, glove box or inside the driver’s door.

Also a lot of vehicles have different pressures from front to rear.

Driving with the incorrect pressures can result in tyre failure. This can be dangerous; at high speeds you can lose control of the vehicle. Incorrect pressure can also dramatically increase your braking/stopping distance. More information on tyre pressures.

Having under in-flated tyres means your car has to work harder and shortens the life of your tyres. This means you use more fuel, costs you more money.



image: tyre wear

TYRE WEAR

 

The way your tyres are worn will tell you a lot.

  • The tread should be slightly thicker in the middle than the edges = healthy wear
  • The outer edges are a lot more worn than the centre =under in-flated tyres
  • The centre of the tyre is a lot more worn than the edges = over inflated tyres
  • Your tyres are worn a lot more on one side than the other =you may need a  wheel alignment or aimages: new tyres suspension problem

* Aligning your wheels will maximise the life of your tyres. *


 


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