Your car tyres are, arguably, one of the most important components of your car: they can make all the difference between a smooth ride and a potentially lethal one. Indeed, on average 159 people are killed or are seriously injured as a direct consequence of defective tyres every year, yet 1 in 5 drivers have never checked the health of their tyres. And that’s not all: neglected tyres lead to costly garage repairs and are more likely to need a full replacement.
The entire weight of your car is supported by the air pressure in its tyres. As such, tyres generally lose air every month – and in summer, will lose even more due to the warm atmosphere.
While under-inflated tyres are more likely to suffer damages to its tread, over-inflated tyres can similarly lose traction and impact your braking distance. Either way, tyres which are not kept at the right pressure are going to impact the way you drive, brake and turn corners. It will also more than likely hike your fuel costs, too.
Finding the best optimal tyre pressure largely depends on the vehicle and tyre type itself. Fortunately, there are plenty of online ways to check – and you only need a trip to your local petrol station to use their pressure gauge to fix the problem.
The tread is another important area to check frequently when it comes to your tyres. Not only are you legally obliged to ensure the tread depth sits at 1.6mm at a minimum as the owner, but tyres with worn out tread are dangerous on the road.
If your tread falls below the legally required 1.6mm, your car is unfit to drive and you will need to replace your tyres immediately as a matter of urgency.
Despite this, the tread remains one of the most common reasons why cars fail their MOT tests. An estimated 1 in 4 vehicles are estimated to operate on our roads with these illegal tyres – so make sure you’re not one of them!
Tyre valves are equally important when it comes to safety, but are frequently missed when drivers assess their tyres.
A worn-out tyre valve can turn into a very dangerous hazard since its main role is to shield the tyre from dust, dirt and water. A broken tyre valve or missing cap will fail to protect the tyre from these elements and will cause the tyre to lose pressure. Equally, if your tyre pressure is beginning to drop, this may be a sign your valve is distorted.
Make sure to check that they are all in-tact. If your dust cap shows any signs of wear and tear, make sure to replace it immediately.
Signs of wear and tear
Any cuts, bulges or punctures in your tyre is a cause for concern. Debris in the tyre will affect your handling, may cause your steering wheel to vibrate and make the appearance of your tyre look misshapen.
Depending on the severity of the damage, you will probably need an expert to help you – and you might even need a brand-new tyre. Still, it is best to check with a professional at any signs of wear and tear, cuts or slow punctures – no matter how small – as you may underestimate the damage yourself.
The best way to mitigate damages is to be mindful of your driving style and be sure not to overload your car.
Carrying excessive weight in your boot can wear down your tyres and could even cause your tyre to burst or explode. Kerbs, potholes and speed bumps can also compromise the health of your tyres if you frequently mount them at speed, or could knock your wheels out of alignment.
It’s also best to avoid braking and accelerating excessively too, as this constant stopping and starting motion eventually wears down tyres.
Finally, the best way to ensure your tyres are in good health is to book inspection checks in-between your MOT’s. A professional can check all of these for you, putting your wheels back into alignment if needed or advising you on whether you need to replace a tyre.
Follow these tips and your tyres should last their full lifespan.