When To Change Tyres
Once you get out on the road, your tires are the only thing separating you from the road surface - so in order to drive safely, taking care of them is imperative. Sufficiently inflated tyres with enough friction to grip the road safely can make the difference between a car that is safe to drive and one that is likely to cause an accident.
Knowing when to change tyres is important as much for your own safety as for your passengers and for any pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers on the road. Additionally, if you are found with illegal tyres on your car (i.e. if they have insufficient tread depth or inflation), you could lose 3 points on your licence per tyre - and potentially lose your licence altogether if all four tyres are below the legal limit.
The tread pattern of tyres is intended to direct water on the road away from your tyres so that they are able to grip the road effectively. The depth of the grooves on the tyre tread have a direct impact on this function - so when it becomes too shallow it can increase the risk of aquaplaning and poor brake performance .
Aquaplaning typically occurs when a car is moving at speed. When tyres roll through a pool of water which is too deep for water to be displaced, this causes the vehicle to skid across the top of the water. This can be dangerous, leading to loss of control of the vehicle.
Because of this, it’s important to check your tyre depth. Most tyres have tread wear indicators, but you can also check the tread depth using the “20p trick”, where you place a twenty-pence piece in the grooves of the tyre (all around the circumference of each tyre) If you can see the border of the coin, this means that your tyre may be either below or close to the legal limit (1.6.mm).
The inflation levels of your tyres can affect wear as well as how effectively your car handles. Correct pressure levels for the tyres on your vehicle can be found either in the owner's manual or the fuel filler flap of the car.
Tyre pressure usually appears as being measured in bars or “PSI”. Both measurements differ, so ensure you keep these consistent when checking your tyre pressure and use the same figures for each tyre. You can either inflate tyres yourself or by taking them to a professional garage or fitters.
Can Tyres be Out of Date?
Usually, tyres are safe to use for up to a decade after production. Once your tyres are between 6-7 years old it is generally a good idea to keep a closer eye on their condition as there may have been considerable wear and tear (the age of your tyre is usually found printed on the sidewall).
On the other hand, even if the tyres have not been used in some time, they may need replacing anyway. Tyres left to stand in a static position for an extended period tend to dry up and split due to natural changes in temperature due to the weather.
That said, if stored in the correct conditions, a tyre may still be considered usable if sold for up to five years after it was made. Preventing premature wear on your tyres can help to preserve the environment and save money - although once the signs of wear begin to show it may be time to consider changing them.
What Should I Look For?
Leaving tyres outside to expand and contract with the changing weather conditions can cause them to split. In addition to this there are a number of key signs to look for when checking to see whether you need to change your tyres (don’t forget to check the spare tyre as well):
? Chunks missing from impacts
? Any sharp objects embedded in the rubber
? Uneven tyre wear
? Cracks, blisters or bulges in the tyre wall
Other factors which can affect wear include usage factors such as speed, pressure, load, and driving style or habits, such as driving over potholes or kerbs (which can cause shocks affecting wheel alignment), over inflating your tyres (which can lead to premature wear) or under inflating them, which can cause your vehicle to use up more fuel.
Can Punctures be Fixed at Home?
If punctures are too close to the sidewall then the car should be taken to a professional fitter for changing. In some cases punctures can be fixed if they’re close to the middle of the face of the tyre - but usually fixing punctures yourself is generally a temporary measure until you can take them to a professional tyre specialist to be changed.
Besides this, the true extent of tyre damage can only be examined properly using a ramp - and a professional tyre specialist may also be able to point out flaws in the tyres you might have missed. They will then be able to offer advice on whether the tyres are still fit for purpose while on the road.
Seasonal and Run Flat Tyres
It may be that while your tyres are in good condition, they may not necessarily be suitable for seasonal driving conditions. For example, once temperatures begin to dip in autumn, the tread on summer tyres may no longer be enough to grip the road properly.
If you prefer not to switch tyres when the seasons change, all-season tyres may be an option worth considering. These are generally used in warm, dry and mild wet conditions. These differ from all weather tyres, which are suitable for use in mild winter conditions with slush, snow and heavy rain.
Run flat tyres are intended for driving a short distance after damage or a puncture to the existing tyres. While they’re less vulnerable to blowouts (due to their reinforced sidewalls), they still require regular inspection.
Repairs cannot be made to run flat tyres, meaning that if they are damaged, they will have to be replaced. For advice on tyre replacement and fitting, speak with your local tyres Manchester
or tyres Rochdale