Checking your tyres regularly – including for tread wear, tyre pressure and any obvious damage sounds simple, but it is a big part of “Safety 101” on the road!
You’ve probably heard this advice many times before, but the truth is that when it comes to the nitty gritty (quite literally!), your tyre really is all that’s between your vehicle and the road. It therefore stands to reason that ensuring your tyres are in the best possible condition, that they are correctly inflated and free from nails or other damage, is going to make a big difference to both your vehicle’s performance and your safety.
So, when it comes to doing those very important checks, here are some important tips and reminders:
Your tyre pressure… The recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle and tyres is usually found on the inside of the driver’s door and/or in the owner’s manual. Tyre pressures should be checked when the tyres are cool, so always do this at the start of a day or trip! Over- or under-inflated tyres can impact on their grip and possibly result in aquaplaning or other issues that interfere with their contact with the road and your ability to brake and control the vehicle safely. Tyres inflated to the correct pressure will ensure more even tread wear, less likelihood of wheel rim damage and the best possible fuel efficiency.
Your tread… That word again — Grip, grip, grip!
Where tread is worn or uneven, it will impact on your tyre’s ability to grip the road – which in turn, impacts on its ability to provide a safe ride! In the UK, the minimum legal requirement for roadworthiness of passenger vehicles is 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre, however it is recommended you have at least 3mm tread on your tyres. Although sometimes you may need a tyre expert using specialised tools to do an exact measurement of your tyre’s tread, you can use the tread indicators (small rubber blocks at intervals across your tyres), to do regular checks yourself. When the blocks are level with the rest of the tyre, your tyres will need to be replaced.
Your tyre’s overall age and condition… Check regularly for any cuts and damage or sharp objects (such as nails) which may be embedded in the rubber, which could cause a flat or other problem. Noticing this type of issue quickly will help ensure you don’t cause further damage by driving unnecessarily on a damaged tyre. Keeping your tyres in good condition and replacing aging tyres is not only important for safety and performance, but these factors can also have a great effect on your fuel economy.
Lastly, but most importantly, doing these checks regularly is the best way to stay on top of your tyres’ condition. It is also is extra vital to do this at the start of a long road trip or when your vehicle is carrying an extra load.