There are many things that you should be looking for when checking that the tyres on your vehicle are roadworthy. Your tyres are extremely important to the efficiency of your car and also your own health!Under inflated tyres are prone to overheating and if over inflated they can cause real problems when steering and driving your car properly on the road, which could lead to an increased chance of a collision. It’s reported that around 6% of fatal accidents on the UKs roads are caused by under-inflated tyres suddenly failing, and it is such a problem that you could be fined £2,500 per tyre if they are over or under-inflated enough to be considered un-roadworthy.* It is also vital to check the depth of you tyres tread. One sign that your tyres need changing is noticing deterioration in performance. For example, your car does not handle or grip the road as well in poor weather conditions as it normally does, or it takes longer to stop when you apply the brakes. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the tread has not worn beyond the legal minimum limit of 1.6mm. A way to test the tread is to use a 10 pence piece. If you put the coin down into the tread it should cover the dotted rim just around the inside of the coin (see image below).
When Should you Check your tyres?
You should always check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold. Under driving conditions the tyres will warm up and give you a false reading, so if you have driven further than roughly a mile, leave your car for an hour or so for the tyres to cool down.
Common Tyre Issues
- Both edges of the tyre are worn – This could signify under inflation. Check your tyre pressure!
- Centre of the tread is worn – This could signify over inflation. Use a pressure gauge to test and if on checking the pressure, you have found that one or more are over inflated then you should take some air out (See image below. Check your vehicle user manual for exact pressures per wheel).
- Worn on one side only – Your wheels may be poorly aligned.
- Whining, clunking and other noises – Your wheels may be poorly aligned or you have worn shocks or tyres.
- Scuffs on edge of front tyres – You may be driving and cornering too fast! Slow down.
- Treads worn unevenly – Your wheel balancing and/or tracking may be out.
- Unevenly spaced bald spots – Your wheel balancing may be out or your shock absorbers are worn.
If you have found any damage or wear the best advice is to take your car to a garage or tyre centre to repair or replace the tyre as soon as possible.