Tyre health checks are an essential part of car maintenance and servicing.
Your tyres are essential to keeping your car on the road and keeping you safe. Neglecting them can be costly and dangerous.
There are many checks that should be carried out but the most important one is ensuring you have the legal tyre tread depth.
Tyre Tread Depth
Tyre tread is an important safety feature. It’s so important that, if your tread is less than the minimum depth, you could be fined and get penalty points.
Think about it like this: your tyre tread is like the grip on your shoes. You wouldn’t go out on the ice in a pair of shiny soled sliders. It's the same with tyres. The grooves give you more grip, especially on wet roads. If the tread is worn, your tyre is much less effective.
The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. If yours is below this, you’re in trouble – on the road and also with the law.
You can also be penalised for EACH BALD TYRE. So if you have four of them, you’re really in hot water.
How to Check Your Tyres Tread Depth
Got 20p? Check this easy way to check your tyre tread: Simply place a 20p coin in the main grooves of your tyre. If you can’t see the outer band of the coin, that means that the car tyre has more than 1.6mm of tread.
Not only can the wrong tyre pressure be dangerous, but it can also be costly.
Did you know if your tyres are under-inflated by 20%, they lose a fifth of their life span because they wear down quicker?
Check your tyre pressure every couple of weeks. And yes, your tyres can increase or decrease in air pressure. Here’s how this can affect your car’s performance:
How to check for overinflation:
May affect braking
Create uneven tyre tread – tyres will wear more in the centre
Can give you a real sense of a “bumpy ride” as the tyres are unable to minimise the shock of bumps.
How to check for underinflation:
Increases fuel consumption
Tyres will flex more and get hotter
Tyres will wear more at the edges
Increases stopping distance and your vehicles steering and handling
Underinflation is themost common cause of tyre blowouts. The tyre is essentially bulging out under the weight of the car. On high-speed roads, this can burst a tyre and is very dangerous.
How to check your tyre pressure?
Check your car tyres when they’re cool. It's best to do this before you start your journey.
Find your recommended PSI – you’ll find it inside the driver’s door or in the car’s manual handbook.
If you have a pressure gauge at home, use it. Or most service garages will have one that’s free to use.
There is no set rule when it comes to the tyre age limit. However, manufacturers often recommend that you should be checking your car tyres more regularly once they reach 6 or 7 years. This is because they may be more worn compared to when they’re new.
The most common sign of ageing is cracked tyres. It’s also suggested to change a tyre if it’s more than 10 years old, regardless of tread depth or pressure.
Remember that if you’re using a spare tyre, you should never travel long distances and you should go to the nearest mechanic as soon as possible.
Handy Tip - Some autocentres like Halfords and Kwik Fit will book you in for a FREE tyre check.
Remember, tyres are VITAL to road safety. Making sure yours are in good condition will also help with fuel efficiency and make sure you get more out of them for longer.