How To Keep Your Tyres In Good Condition
Tyre checks can go a long way in helping you take better care of your car while maximising safety. Whilst tyre care is one of the most important aspects of owning a vehicle, many drivers neglect to do even the most basic tyre checks.
Poor tyre maintenance not only lowers your car’s performance but could result in expensive repairs; not to mention endangering you and other road users. To ensure your car is safe and remains roadworthy for longer, maintain your tyres at all times. In this guide, we share some valuable tips on how to properly look after your tyres.
1. Perform Regular Tyre Pressure Checks
Incorrect tyre pressure can have a detrimental effect on the handling, braking, and fuel efficiency of your car. Both under-inflated and over-inflated tyres can impact how your vehicle performs.
In many cases, low tyre pressure can wear out your tyres faster, resulting in increased rolling resistance, poor fuel efficiency and higher emissions. Although it may be a worst-case scenario, incorrect tyre pressure could result in a tyre blowout which can be extremely dangerous.
To avoid these risks, check your tyre pressure at least once a month and don’t forget about the spare. You should especially perform tyre checks before embarking on long journeys or if you are transporting heavier loads.
Recommended: How To Check Tyre Pressure
2. Tyre Checks To Determine Damage And Unusual Wear
It’s critical for motorists to inspect their tyres for any signs of abnormal wear or damage. This includes cuts, bulges, and anything that has pierced the tyre. If you notice any of these issues, get it seen to by a professional as soon as possible. In some cases where the damage is on the sidewall, for example, you may need to replace the tyre.
If you get a puncture while driving, replace it with the spare if possible and try to reach a garage as soon as you can. Keep in mind that spare tyres are only intended to be used temporarily and should be replaced with a normal tyre.
3. Check Your Tyre Tread Depth
Like tyre pressure, tyre tread can also impact not just the performance of your vehicle but also its overall safety. Whilst the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, many experts believe you should change your tyres when they reach 3mm.
Driving a vehicle with tyres below the tread limit is both unlawful and highly dangerous; it will also result in an MOT failure. If the tread is 1.6mm or less, it’s time to buy new tyres.
In the UK, getting caught driving on worn tyres can result in a £2,500 fine along with three points on your licence. If all four tyres are below the minimum legal tyre tread depth, you could lose your licence and face a £10,000 fine.
4. Keep To Vehicle Load Limits
Don’t overload your vehicle as it could cause serious damage and even a tyre blowout. The extra weight puts more pressure on the tyres which causes excessive heat and severe tyre wear. In some cases, this might result in a tyre explosion and a higher probability of being in a road accident.
Fortunately, most tyres today have a label with the tyre load index so make sure you do not exceed the recommended amount. You should also be able to find the load index in your vehicle’s handbook or on the inside of the driver’s door frame.
5. Tyre Checks And Wheel Alignment
Wheel misalignment can also cause problems as incorrectly aligned tyres may result in uneven wear. Over time, they could become weaker which makes them more prone to damage. Other symptoms of wheel misalignment are increased fuel consumption and handling. When you visit a garage for tyre checks or to fit new tyres, make sure the alignment is verified and adjusted as needed.
6. Avoid Hitting The Kerb
Whether you are trying to park on a busy street or go around an obstacle in the road, sometimes you can’t avoid hitting the kerb. When this happens, take care when manoeuvring to avoid damaging your tyres.
Hitting the kerb too hard or too fast can pinch the sidewall of the tyre between the kerb and the wheel which can weaken the structure and possibly result in a tyre blow-out.
While you should ideally avoid mounting the kerb, if it’s unavoidable, take it slow and do so at an acute angle. This will help to ensure you don’t scrape the side of the pavement.
7. Practice Good Driving habits
In addition to basic maintenance, you should also practice good driving habits to ensure your tyres remain in good condition. Excessive braking and accelerating too fast, or sitting in stop-start traffic can damage your tyres and they may wear out more quickly.
- Try to drive as smoothly and consistently as possible
- Avoid excessive speeds
- Don’t slam on your brakes
- Where possible, avoid any uneven road surfaces and hazards such as potholes
- Slow down when going over speed bumps since it could knock your tyres out of alignment
Tyre Checks And Tyre Replacement
While many believe it is better to replace all four tyres at once, it is not always possible since they may not wear at the same rate. There is no rule as to how long a tyre will last as it depends on tyre design, driving habits, climate, road conditions and how well you maintain your vehicle.
Regular tyre checks should take place at least once a year and according to Michelin: “Tyres older than 10 years after their date of manufacture should be replaced as a precaution”. This also applies especially to tyres that may seem usable and not worn down to the tread wear indicator.
Related: ‘6 Things To Know About Your Tyre Tread’
Tyre Checks At Elite Garages
For added safety, always buy quality tyres and never use part-worn tyres. Choose Elite Garages as we are one of the UK’s leading fast-fit retailers and forecourt operators. We’re also a member of Group Tyre and represent more than 15% of the total tyres sold in the UK.
All of our service centres have friendly, professional and expertly-trained technicians who will make sure your tyres meet your driving requirements. Whether you need all-season tyres, general-use tyres or performance tyres, we have over 1 million tyres in stock across the Elite group.
For your convenience, all of our branches provide free tyre checks where our technicians will perform a thorough inspection. For more information or advice on tyre maintenance and what tyre checks at Elite Garages involve, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest branch.