When should I change my tyres?

The tyres on your car are easy to take for granted; they do the job and rarely give you any reason to think about them unless you’ve been unlucky enough to have a puncture.

But just because your tyres are dependable doesn’t mean they don’t need attention once in a while.

Regularly Check Your Tyres

Knowing how to check your tyres is essential knowledge for any car owner; however, with so much information available, it can be hard to know how to go about it and where to start.

With that in mind we’ve put together a handy guide that will help you work out what you need to know about checking your tyres.

The dangers of not checking your tyres

The chances are your tyres haven’t given you any problems up to now, however, there’s no such thing as a tyre that lasts forever and, worryingly, not checking your tyres can, in some extreme cases, lead to accidents.

By checking your tyres regularly you can reduce the risk of problems, but knowing what you’re looking for can be a challenge.

Basic car maintenance

As a car owner, you should perform regular (around once a fortnight) basic check ups to ensure your car is in good working condition.

A basic check up starts with a quick walk around your car. First of all, check your tyres with a tyre pressure gauge to ensure they are inflated properly and equally. When you check the tyre pressure, you should also make sure the valves all have dust caps and replace any that are missing as they prevent dirt and grit getting caught in the valve and causing air leaks.

Next, check the tyre tread depth and look for signs of wear and tear on the tyre wall. As you walk around your car you can also check the body and bumpers for any signs of damage and can look under the car for spots or patches of fluid, as this could be a sign of a leak.

You should also regularly check your oil, water, lights and brakes.

How to check your tyres for wear and tear

It’s important that the tread on your tyres is intact and not worn away as this is the part of the tyre that grips the road. Worn down tread is unsafe as it reduces grip, especially in poor conditions, and increase the likelihood of getting a puncture.

There are laws governing the amount of wear on the tread of your tyres and failing to maintain a safe amount of tread can also lead to a fine. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference.

Fortunately, checking the tread on your tyres is easy and will only take a few minutes. It’s important not to simply guess whether your tread is OK so normal practise is to  buy a tread depth gauge to easily and accurately monitor your tyres.

If you notice the tread is worn down or the sides of your tyres are cracked, it’s probably time to change them.

Part-worn and second-hand tyres – what to be careful about

Part-worn and second-hand tyres are usually cheaper than brand new tyres, but that doesn’t always mean they are better value for money.

The problem with part worn and second hand tyres is the fact that they are used tyres and you can’t know how well they were treated or who had them before you. They may look OK, but you can’t really tell how good they are until its too late.