Tyre Safety

By Lewis on 27th October 2013 - View Comments

Car tyres. Ok so perhaps not the most exciting subject but knowing how to check your car tyres is so important. Why? Because driving on worn out, battered tyres could cost you your life.

Loosing control of your car can be seriously scary and can have serious consequences. But one simple way to drive more safely is by checking your tyres regularly.

These 3 simple tyre checks will take you about 30 seconds to do and they could just save your life.

 

Petrol station tyre inflator

You can check your tyre pressure at most petrol stations.

1. Check the Air Pressure – Do this at least every two weeks and before you go on a long journey. You can check it at a petrol station with an air machine or do it at home with a simple tyre pressure gauge or portable tyre inflator. Ideally check your air pressure before you drive the car when the tyres are still cold.

Portable tyre inflator

Small tyre inflators like this are great for checking and inflating your tyres at home.

If you need to check them at a petrol station drive straight there before you drive anywhere else. This is because your tyres warm up as you drive which in turn increases the air pressure preventing you getting an accurate air pressure reading.

Your car manual will tell you what your tyre pressure should be and some cars have a sticker or plaque on the inside of your door, door jam or in your glove box with this information.

2. Check for Tyre Damage – Have a quick look at each tyre to make sure there is no sign of damage to the side of the tyre (tyre wall). Check for bulging, cracks, splits or holes. Also look at the treads of the tyres and if you see any stones or other objects embedded in the tread flick them out with a key.

If you spot any damage get the tyre checked out by a professional tyre fitting shop. It may be fine, but they will tell you if it needs replacing.

3. Check Tyre Tread Depth – It’s really important to ensure your tyres have enough tread on them. If they are worn out they wont grip the road properly and your car is more likely to skid. It’s really easy to check tread depth. Each tyre has long grooves that run along the length of it. At regular intervals along these grooves you will find wear bars (see image).

Tyre wear marker

Once tyre tread is level with the tyre wear bar the tyre must be changed.

When these wear bars are level with the tread on the tyre you must replace it by law. The grip of your tyres will deteriorate as they near the minimum level, especially in wet conditions so it is best to get your tyres changed before they reach the minimum legal level.

Every few weeks it is also a good idea to turn your wheels on full lock in each direction and check the tyre wear to the inner edge of the front tyres as this can sometimes wear faster than the outer edge especially if your tyres are not balanced correctly or the tracking is out, and can be hard to see when the wheel is straight.

 

Correct Air Pressure

Tyre pressure infographic

It is important to inflate your tyres to the correct level. If your tryres are over-inflated you will feel the bumps in the road more and there will be less contact between your tyre and the road. The inner part of your tyre will wear more rapidly which means your tyre wont last as long. Similarly, If your tyre is under-inflated it will wear more at the edges with less contact  on the road, giving you less control over your car.

 

Are you Breaking the Law?

If you drive a car with damaged tyres or tread below the minimum legal limit you could be fined up to £2500 and get three penalty points on your licence. During the winter the police are on the lookout for drivers who have illegal cars and frequently set up random checkpoints where they will pull drivers over and inspect their tyres. Don’t get caught out. Check your tyres regularly and get them changed when necessary.

 

Taking Your Life in Your Hands

Checking your car tyres is quick and easy. Make a note in your diary every couple of weeks, put a reminder on your phone, whatever, but just remember to do it! Before long it will just become a habit, and it really is a good habit to form. Every time you get into your car you are literally taking your life in your hands. If you loose control of your car for just a split second you or someone else could be seriously injured or even killed.

Making sure your tyres are safe is just one simple way you can ensure you reach your destination safely.

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Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balance

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