All vehicles big and small have one thing in common and that’s their tyres. Tyres are often overlooked but they are one of the most vital parts of keeping your car healthy. They hold your car up and keep it off the road, not to mention carry the weight of your car and its passengers. Over time car tyres can wear down and sometimes even puncture, but what can you do to keep yours in top condition? At R G Motor Services, we’ve rounded up five things you can do to check the health of your car tyres, to help you out.
By law, your tread depth should be at least 1.6mm although experts recommend having a tread depth of at least 3mm. The reason for this is because a car takes around two car times longer to stop when the car’s tyre tread is at least 3mm.
You can check your tread depth by checking the Tread Wear Indicators (TWI) which can be found by running your finger across the main tyre groove. TWIs are small raised notches with a height of 1.6mm, these are a safety precaution to make sure that your car tyres match UK law standards. (It’s also a handy indication to know when you should change your tyres.)
Another way you can check your tread depth is by placing a 20p coin in the tyre groove and setting it between the tread blocks. If the rim around the coin disappears, your tyres have at least 1.6mm tread depth.
Queen wrote the anthem to the pressure check without knowing that if tyres are deflated by 20% they will lose ⅕ of their life span. This is due to an excessive amount of rubber being exposed to the floor meaning that the rubber wears away more quickly. And on the flip side of that, over-inflated tyres are also a big problem because they wear unevenly. The ripple effect of this is that less rubber from the tyre is being exposed to the road, which then results in longer stopping distances. You can find your car’s tyre pressure in the owner’s manual or online.
Simply inspecting your car tyres from time to time can save you a lot of hassle in the long run because you can look out for any gashes or lumps. By spotting anything unusual you can prevent further damage and structural defects in your car tyres. Structural defects can sometimes be caused by potholes, and if unnoticed can mean you have to replace your car tyres sooner.
A dust cap is a small cover used on top of the valve stem of a car tyre to prevent grit, dirt and water from damaging the valve. They can be a nightmare to keep on but it’s important that they’re always securely put on your car tyres – this is to prevent losing pressure in your car tyres. If the dust caps are not kept on you could put your tyres at risk of deflating.
How old are those tyres? Are your car tyres tired or tenacious? It’s recommended that you replace your car tyres every three years if you do between 10,000 and 12,000 miles per year. And if you don’t use your vehicle frequently you put your car tyres at risk of going hard. This is due to the fact that when you drive, anti-oxidising chemicals are released from the car tyres which slows down how quickly they age. However, these chemicals are only released when your car is in motion, so if your car is under-used the tyres will eventually harden.
Another indication of ageing car tyres is the process of crazing, which is seeing if there are any small cracks in the sidewall of the car tyre. It is also an indication that the car tyres are hardening. On the side of the tyre, there should also be a stamp, this is an indication of when your tyre was manufactured. The dates are four digit numbers that are the week and year the tyre was made – for example, 0309 would be the third week in 2009.
RG Motor Services can provide free tyre checks for our customers if you’re still not sure. But it’s always best to check your tyres out before a long journey or if your MOT test is due. Contact us for any advice and guidance on your car’s tyres, and our friendly team will be able to help you.