What should I do when checking my tires?
Tire checks should include:
- Checking the tread depth meets vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Checking the tire pressure meets the legal minimum depth.
- Checking the overall condition
At the same time as checking your tire pressure and tread depth, examine the tires for any cuts or bulges, which must be assessed by a professional if found. A bulge in a tire indicates internal structural damage and must be replaced.
The tire must also be replaced if you find any cuts deep enough to reveal the internal structure of the tire.
When should I check my tires?
Tire checks should be made every month as well as before making any long journeys by using a reliable and accurate tire pressure gauge.
Always measure tire pressure when tires are “cold”. Tires are cold if they have not been driven for more than 2 miles at low speed or have been stationary for a least two hours.
Why is correct tire pressure important?
Correct tire pressure is important for several reasons;
Tire life – under or over inflated tires increase wear
Fuel economy – under inflated tires increase fuel consumption
Safety – under or over inflated tires will affect grip and braking performance
Ride comfort – over inflated tires can result in a harsh and uncomfortable ride
Why is it important to check your pressures regularly?
Correct tire pressure is vital to your safety on the road. Under-inflated tires affect handling and grip, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior. They are also much more likely to suffer from a dangerous sudden rapid deflation, especially on high-speed motorway journeys.
By keeping your tires at their optimum pressure, your running costs are also reduced. Under-inflated tires require a bigger force to make them turn, so your car uses more fuel. Additionally, tires which are not set to their correct pressure wear out more quickly.
So, to benefit from lower fuel bills, longer tire life, increased safety, and reduced CO2 emissions, make sure you check your tire pressures at least once a month and before a long journey.
Why is tread depth important?
Tread depth is highly important for road safety and provides a good grip on wet surfaces. The tread pattern is used to remove water from between the tire and the road surface. Drivers run the risk of reduced grip and a longer stopping distance if the tread depth is incorrect.
Drivers can be fined and given three penalty points for each tire which does not comply with the regulations.
How do I determine the correct tire pressure for my vehicle?
Tire pressures are quoted for cold tires and will be specified in your vehicle handbook and may be on a sticker inside the fuel flat, on the drivers (or passengers) door or even inside the glove box.
Normally there are two tire pressures quoted; one for “normal use” and a higher tire pressure for when the vehicle is underload. Make sure you adjust your tire pressures accordingly.
If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, refer to the manufacturer’s customer service department. Many tire retailers will also be able to provide this information. Alternatively, you can obtain the correct tire pressure for your car by visiting the tire pressure checker on TyreSafe’s website and entering your vehicle’s details.
Never use the tire pressure quoted on the tire sidewall. This pressure refers to the maximum inflation pressure a tire can contain under maximum load.
What is the minimum legal tread depth?
The current law for the tread depth for cars, vans and LCV is to have a minimum depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tire and around the entire circumference.
It is recommended to increase the safety of the car to replace the tires before the 1.6mm limit is reached. Many vehicle manufactures’ suggest replacing the tires when they reach 3mm.
For any vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes the current law states that the tread should be a minimum of 1mm across the central three-quarters of the tire and around the entire circumference.
Motorcycles over 50cc the minimum tread is 1mm across three-quarters of the width of the tread pattern and a visible tread on the remaining quarter. Motorcycles up to 50cc are required to have all grooves of the original tire pattern clearly visible.
How do I know if my tires need inflating or deflating?
The only accurate way to know if your tires need to be inflated (or deflated) is by measuring the pressure with a reliable and accurate tire pressure gauge.
A common misconception is that a visual check is sufficient to assess tire pressure. Tires can be significantly under or over-inflated by up to 20% and you may not be able to tell just by looking at them.
By using an accurate and reliable tire pressure gauge you need to check the tire pressure matches with the vehicles manufactures’ recommendations.