October is Tyre Safety Month and we thought it would be best to focus on tyres ahead of time. Tyre safety is paramount but unfortunately, many drivers ignore the laws and safety regulations. While some choose to disobey the rules, others are simply unaware which is why the TyreSafe campaign is so important.
The Dangers Of Bald Tyres
Many motorists are unaware of the real risks associated with worn tyres. Not only it does it result in poor handling but fatal accidents are common. Too many drivers neglect tyre safety and fail to understand the significant impact it can have. Worn tyre tread affects acceleration, braking, directional force and fuel consumption as mentioned earlier.
It’s no secret that car tyres wear over time but people must replace them before they get worse. Knowing what to look out for is vital especially with abnormal tyre wear as it could be a sign of more sinister issues. To keep you and your family safe, it is vital that you check your tyres at least once a month and know when to replace them.
Related article: ‘The Real Dangers Of Part-Worn Tyres’
Causes Of Abnormal Tyre Wear
There are various scenarios explaining abnormal tyre wear from problems with suspension or alignment, internal tyre damage or the result of driving on under-inflated or over-inflated tyres. People are not checking their tyres often enough and they really should. Here are a few major factors associated with abnormal tyre wear or balding tyres:
- Incorrect tyre pressure – driving on over-inflated or under-inflated tyres cause uneven tyre tread
- Poor driving habits or styles can quickly lead to tyre damage
- Overloading your vehicle can cause tyres overheating which increases the risk of an accident
- Improper wheel alignment and balancing will lead to uneven tyre wear
- Problems with the suspension
- Internal tyre fault
Types Of Tyre Wear
As our experts will tell you, there are several kinds of tyre wear and while you don’t need to know all the technical details, knowledge is power. Let’s have a look at the five types of tyre wear and the associated causes.
With camber wear, the inside edge, outside edge or shoulder of the tyre will show more wear. Causes of camber wear include suspension misalignment, bent strut, weak or broken spring and bent spindle among others. At Elite Garages, our tyre experts will check the suspension and alignment to determine the exact cause.
Feathered Directional Tyre Wear
Here, the tyre tread will feel smooth when rubbing it with your hand one way and rough the opposite way. Common causes of feathered directional wear patterns include toe misalignment, worn idler arms, bent steering linkage or arms.
Cupped Tyre Wear Patterns
In this instance, you will notice cups or dips around the edge of your tyre tread. An out-of-balance tyre could cause this or weakened struts or shock absorbers. The first thing you should do is wheel balancing at the nearest Elite Garage fitment centre. However, if your shock absorbers or struts have weakened, you should get them replaced as well.
More Wear At The Centre Than The Outside
As the heading suggests, the centre of your tyres will show more wear than on the edges. Overinflating one or more of your tyres will cause them to bulge in the middle. The best solution is to check your tyre pressure against the manufacturer’s guidelines which can be found in your car’s user manual.
Checking Your Tyre Tread
Tyre tread is important and arguably the most vital element to having healthy tyres. They are effectively the grooves on your tyres that remove water from the “contact patch” connecting the tyre to the road. This, of course, enables grip and traction allowing the car to accelerate, steer and brake safely. These are the essentials that keep your vehicle under control, and everyone safe.
Checking both tyre pressure and tread depth should be performed regularly and before setting off on long journeys. At Elite Garages, we offer a free tyre check which only takes around an hour. Our tyre experts will make sure that your tyre pressure and tread depth are where they should be. At the same time, we also look for any signs of damage or underlying problems.
Checking For Sidewall Damage
A tyre’s sidewalls are meant to be robust to withstand driving forces and pressures, keeping your vehicle stable. However, as strong as may be, they are not indestructible and can still get damaged. When doing a visual inspection, it’s important to pay special attention to the sidewall for any tears, cuts, bubbles or bulges.
These are usually signs of serious damage to the structure of your tyre and can be potentially dangerous. If nothing is done about these, you are putting yourself, your passengers and other road users at risk as it can lead to a blowout causing a serious accident.
The team at Elite Garages cannot stress enough the importance of letting the experts inspect any sidewall damage. It should be done the moment you notice something is not right and immediately replace the tyre if necessary.
How To Minimise The Risk Of Sidewall Damage
While it’s not realistic to avoid any tyre damage, there are a few things you can do to at least reduce the risk. For added peace of mind and convenience, we’ve highlighted a few tips below:
- Sidewall damage often begins with knocks against a kerb or pavement so do your best to avoid this
- Potholes are common culprits and while you cannot miss them all, do what you can to avoid them
- Regular tyre tread and pressure checks can go a long way. Under-inflated tyres mean the sidewall is exposed to higher pressures as they must compensate to keep your vehicle stable
- Remove oil, petrol or dirty water from your tyre as prolonged exposure can soften the rubber. This can lead to premature wear and sidewall damage
Legal Consequences Of Driving On Bald Tyres
It is an offence to drive on tyres which are below the minimum tread depth and for good reason. Not only does this risk your safety but it also carries a fine of £2,500, three points on your licence and it invalidates your insurance. If that’s not warning enough, if all your treads are below the legal limit, you could lose your licence and pay a £10,000 fine.
Expert Tyre Services From Elite Garages
If you have any doubts about the condition of your car or tyres, visit Elite Garages for a FREE tyre safety check. Not only does it offer peace of mind but it also identifies issues early on helping to avoid a dangerous situation and potentially expensive repair bill.
Finding the right tyres is easy with Elite Garages as we’ve made the process as streamlined as possible. With over 1 million tyres in stock across the entire group, we offer excellent availability and variety. You can also reserve your tyres online and arrange for same-day fitting.
Contact us today if you need expert advice as our professional, experienced and friendly team is here to help in any way they can. To find out more about the TyreSafe campaign, visit tyresafe.org and follow our weekly blogs.