It is important that every motorist is aware of the various checks that they should perform on their tyres on a regular basis for safe driving, especially during the winter months. Issues with tyres are one of the main reasons for accidents and breakdowns, particularly during the colder months of the year when the conditions can be dangerous. So, what are the checks that should be performed?
Overall Tyre Condition
One of the most important checks to make is to look at the overall condition of each tyre. Motorists should spend some time examining each tyre to look for signs of damage, which will include bulges, splits and cracks. When a tyre is damaged like this it is no longer fit for use, which means that it is time for a replacement(s).
Tread depth is another very important check to make, especially when you consider that if your tread depth is found to be below the legal minimum of 1.3mm then you could be fined as much as £2,500 for each tyre along with receiving 3 points on your license. 1.3mm is the legal minimum, but it is actually recommended that it should be a minimum of 3mm as the difference between wet braking distance between 1.6mm and 3mm is as much as 40%. The 20p test is a quick and easy way to test the tread depth – if you cannot see the outer band on the coin when it is inserted into the groove, then you are good to go.
Tyres that are not inflated to the recommended level could lead to tyre damage as well as negatively affect the performance and efficiency of the entire vehicle. This is why it is smart to check the tyre pressure regularly, especially before setting off on a long journey. You can find the recommended level in your owner’s manual and you can either buy a kit at home or top up the pressure at a petrol station.
When the wheels are not aligned properly, it could cause the vehicle to drift to one side which is obviously incredibly dangerous and could lead to an accident. Therefore, you need to get the wheel alignment checked on a regular basis and have them aligned if necessary – this will improve safety while also prolonging the life of the tyre and improving efficiency.
When to Replace Tyres
Motorists also need to know when they should replace their car tyres. There are times when this will be obvious, such as when the tyre tread depth is approaching the legal limit or if there is a crack, but there are also less obvious signs such as if the tyre keeps losing pressure. Additionally, some manufacturers recommend that tyres are changed once they reach 6 years old (although others claim tyres have a 10-year lifespan).
The information in this post should help you to keep your tyres in good condition and roadworthy, particularly during the winter months when it is so important that you have high-quality tyres.