Is It Time to Replace Your Tyres?


Most drivers never give their tyres a second thought. After all, they’re solid pieces of rubber that last a lifetime. Well, not quite. Your tyres are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle. They take the brunt of damage from the road, absorbing the bumps and cracks. Braking constantly wears them down, and eventually, they will begin to affect your driving performance. Tyres in poor condition will impact your grip on the road. They’ll worsen your ability to take evasive action or make quick steering choices. Simply put, running on worn tyres is dangerous.

So, when is it time to change the old tyres for new? Unfortunately, there’s no set time or date for renewing tyres. It all varies according to your driving style, the performance of the car and even the weather. Plus, the tyres wear down in different ways. If you’re a Formula One driver, for example, you need to change the tyres multiple times in one race! For the average commuter, you’ll probably get at least five years of reliable driving on a set of tyres. But, don’t take our word for it! Tyres are notoriously unpredictable, so you need to check them yourself.

Before we dive into the details, it’s worth learning how and why tyres wear down. Only then can you begin to understand how fast they’ll wear. First of all, the front tyres are usually the first to go. They’re the steering tyres, so the added friction of turning will wear them down faster. Of course, aggressive cornering and braking will also be a big factor here. Finally, the tyre pressure is key to long life. If your pressure is too low, the tyres will generate more friction and heat which will wear them down. So, now you know what to look out for, when exactly should you call the mobile tyre fitters?

Punctures

Some punctures can be repaired, so don’t worry until you’ve had a full inspection by an expert. However, a puncture is often the first warning sign that tyres are showing their age. Although tyres are fairly resilient and built to reduce the chance of punctures, they can (and do) happen. Everything from nails to sharp road debris can penetrate the rubber, and leave you stranded on the side of the road.

The tread depth is below the legal limit

As a driver, you should know that there is a legal minimum requirement when it comes to tyre wear. If the tread depth is below 1.6mm, you can be pulled over and arrested. Not only that, but driving on such a thin tread depth is dangerous to you and the surrounding cars. When the tyres are worn down to this level, your grip on the road is minimal. You’ll struggle to control the car in a crash situation, and you may even have trouble cornering. You’ll find a tread depth indicator inside the groove of the tyre. Use that to measure the current levels. If it’s below 1.6mm, it’s time to visit your local garage.

Signs of aging

Finally, look for the general signs of tyre wear. As we said, tyres do not age in a predictable fashion. Even when not in use, they can deteriorate through any number of factors. Look for cracks, wear, and general fatigue regularly.

Your tyres are more important than you think! They keep you safe and help avoid accidents. Check them, and replace when necessary.

Image source: Kengo / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0
Is It Time to Replace Your Tyres? Is It Time to Replace Your Tyres? Reviewed by Hayley Reeve on Friday, August 21, 2015 Rating: 5

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