Your vehicle’s tyres serve as the point of contact with the road and so it is crucial that they are kept in good condition and are capable of keeping you and other road users safe.
A study conducted by Tyresafe revealed that 57% of vehicles on UK roads are travelling with tyres inflated below the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure. The study also found that because of the inefficiency caused by underinflated tyres, over £600 million a year is wasted on fuel.
Not only can unsafe tyres increase the risk of your vehicle being involved in an accident, but should your tyres be defective or not meet the legal requirements, you could be fined up to £2,500 and receive three penalty points on your license (per tyre!)
In order to avoid these fines, and most importantly, keep you and others safe, our latest blog discusses the various checks you should regularly carry out to keep your tyres in check.
Check Your Tyre Tread Depth
Worn tyres are highly susceptible to punctures and other external damage which could, in turn, result in the loss of vehicle control and a serious accident.
UK law stipulates that cars should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. This should remain consistent across the tyre’s complete circumference and the same rules apply to goods vehicles such as vans, trailers and caravans which do not exceed 3500kg.
How to Check Tyre Tread Depth
Tyre wear can be increased by a number of factors including driving at high speeds, braking aggressively, overloading the vehicle, driving on underinflated tyres and driving with uneven wheel alignment. It is therefore important to regularly check your tyre tread depth to ensure it is within the legal limit.
The most accurate way of checking your tyre’s tread depth is with a tyre tread depth gauge. This is what expert technicians will use to measure the depth of an individual tyre groove and these tools can be purchased online.
If you have a tyre tread depth gauge to hand, simply insert the probe bar into the groove and push the shoulders flush with the tread.
If you do not have a tyre tread depth gauge, you can still quickly and easily check your tread depth using a 20p coin.
- Insert the coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre.
- If you cannot see the raised edge around the coin, your tyre’s tread depth is likely to be greater than 1.6mm.
- If the outer band of the coin is visible when inserted into the groove, your tyres could be unsafe and require professional inspection.
- Remember to take multiple measurements across the central three-quarters of the tyre as driving around corners and wheel alignment can cause your tread to wear at different rates.
For other car safety checks you can do at home, you can read our blog here.
Check Your Tyre Pressure
Both overinflated and underinflated tyres are problematic and can cause damage to your tyres, as well as increasing the risk of accidents on the road.
Underinflated tyres mean that a larger surface area of the tyre makes contact with the road , leading to a tyre which is flat at the base. This means that your tyre tread will erode more quickly, causing a reduction in grip. Underinflated tyres are also at greater risk of external damage as objects such as nails and glass are more likely to become lodged in the softer tyre, increasing your chances of a puncture.
Overinflated tyres are often too rigid and are therefore likely to suffer from a tyre blowout caused from a sudden impact such as from potholes or other road debris. Overinflated tyres can also suffer from excessive wear, causing the tyre tread to decrease at a faster rate.
To check your tyre pressure:
- First, check your vehicle handbook for your vehicle’s optimum tyre pressure measurement.
- Check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold.
- Remove the dust cap and tighten the pressure gauge on and note the pressure of each tyre.
- Compare your tyre pressure measurement to the optimum measurement and adjust accordingly using an air pump machine found at most garages and service stations across the UK.
Check for Tyre Damage
External damage to the tyres, such as cuts, cracks, or bulges is an indication that your tyres may be unsafe. A visual inspection should therefore be carried out regularly to ensure that your tyres have not been compromised in any way.
Inspect your sidewall for any slashes, cuts or tears as these are dangerous and, in most situations, need to be replaced. Bulges in a tyre can be caused from hitting potholes and are equally as serious as a tear.
Cracks in a tyre can be the result of the tyre compound hardening either due to age or excessive levels of heat. This usually indicates that the tyres are unsafe and professional inspection is recommended. Both cracks and bulges in a tyre can be the reason your vehicle fails its MOT and so it is essential you inspect your tyres regularly to ensure they are safe.
Check the Age of Your Tyres
As the rubber compound degrades over time, old tyres can be dangerous.
Luckily, tyres have a date stamp system so that you are able to see just how old your tyres are. The date stamp should be a four-digit number and can be found on the sidewall of your tyre. The first two digits relate to the week of manufacture and the second two digits indicate the year the tyre was made.
For example, if the code was 4818, this would mean the tyre had been made in the 48th week of 2018.
Keep Your Tyres In Excellent Condition with Autocare Centre Chepstow
If you have any damage to your tyre or have noticed a drop in the pressure of your tyres, we can offer a cost-effective and practical tyre fitting service.
Using the latest technology and expertly trained technicians, we can repair punctures and other damage to tyres quickly and efficiently.
Should repair not be possible and a replacement tyre is needed, we will help to choose a tyre that matches your requirements and budget.
For more information, or to book an appointment, get in touch with a member of our team today or call us on 01291 627 137.