If you want to keep yourself and your passengers safe when you are on the road, then read on to find out what vital information you need to know in our ultimate guide.
Would you risk a £2,500 fine (per tyre) and 3 penalty points for a worn tyre?
If all four of your tyres are worn below the legal limit, you could be facing up to a £10,000 fine. Not only are you risking your license but you are also putting your life in danger especially when roads are wet and icy.
Step 1 – Check tyre to see if you need a new tyre
One easy way to check your tyre’s tread depth would be the “20p Test”.
Here’s how it works:
If you check your tyre pressure less than every 4 weeks, then this guide will change the way you check your tyres forever.
It can be easy to overlook checking your tyres, especially when your tyres appear to be running smoothly and look to be in tip-top condition. But, in some instances, you may not notice any problems before it’s too late.
If your tyres are below the recommended tyre pressure this will produce a safety hazard to yourself and your passengers, as there will be an increased probability of tyre failure. You can lower this potential risk and save yourself money by simply ensuring your tyres are inflated correctly by doing a tyre pressure check.
Tyres lose around two pounds of air per month. This results in your tyres rapidly becoming under-inflated if you don’t check them once a month. The shape of an under-inflated tyre means it has uneven contact with the ground, and if it’s left under-inflated, your tyres will begin to wear down on the outside and inside edges of the tread.
You’ll also experience worsened rolling resistance with the road. You may not initially notice this added resistance whilst driving, but your miles to the gallon will decrease, which will cost you more pounds in the long run.
Under-inflated tyres will also affect your steering. If it’s your front tyres, you could experience under-steering, whereas under-inflated rear tyres could increase over-steering.
If all your tyres are under-inflated, your steering will become heavy and resistant. Not only that but being under-inflated raises the likelihood of them blowing out. If that doesn’t persuade you to get your tyres pumped, we don’t know what will!
You’re more likely to understand the dangers of an under-inflated tyre. However, when it comes to an over-inflated tyre, the risks often go unnoticed, as people may say: “Over-inflated tyres aren’t that dangerous? The tyres will deflate on their own to the correct tyre pressure level.”
This mindset is dangerous, as over-inflating your tyres can be just as costly and damaging, which can often lead to an earlier tyre replacement. As under-inflated tyres do, over-inflated tyres have less contact with the road, which means that your tyres will have less traction, which results in a further braking distance.
As the centre of the tyre is the only area that is making contact with the road, your tyres will wear heavily and unevenly across the centre of the tyre. Therefore, your tyres won’t last as long, which will mean you’ll have to buy replacement tyres much more frequently than you need to.
How to know if your tyre is under-inflated or over-inflated
Noticing signs of an under/over-inflated tyre is easy when you know what to look for. Incorrectly inflated tyres will have increased wear at the areas in which the tyre has been in contact with the road, the centre of the tyre (over-inflated) or the edges of the tread (under-inflated). A tyre that has been correctly inflated with the appropriate tyre pressure will wear equally across the tread.
The law requires that the minimum tyre tread depth of your tyre must be 1.6mm. This is located across the central ¾ of the tyre, in a complete circumference around the tyre.
How to find out what your car’s tyre pressure is
Before you come to check your tyres’ pressure, you’ll need to find out what your vehicle’s correct tyre pressure is. In the handbook for your vehicle, there will be the appropriate tyre pressures for your vehicle, in some vehicles, you’ll be able to find the tyre pressure recommendations located in the driver’s door.
At first glance, you may just see a jumble of numbers and letters on your tyre sidewall that seems completely meaningless. But understanding these bunch of numbers and letters will make life a whole lot easier when it comes to replacing your tyres. Finding your tyre size is more straightforward than you may think, once you break the letters and numbers down into sections.
If you need a new tyre, you can find your tyres specification on the sidewall. Each number has a different meaning in this order:
For example, premium tyres and economy tyres. The clear difference between these tyre classes is in the name. However, there are various pros and cons that separate the two. Taking this into consideration, what are the advantages of these tyre categories, and how do you know that class of tyre best suits your car?
If you’re wanting to save money on your car tyres, economy tyres may initially look the obvious choice for your budget. But don’t rush into buying before you look at different classes on offer.
When you start searching for a new set of tyres, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure the tyres have the speed capacity and load capacity for your car, as this is essential for compatibility. Then you’ll need to find out if your new tyres match your car in both driving style and power.
So, when are economy tyres the best choice for your car? If you’re a city driver or looking for a drive with low rolling resistance, then these tyres will treat you well. Consider shopping for your next set of economy tyres through manufacturers like:
Some of the top-range premium tyres come from manufacturers like:
Premium tyres will last longer, and they will save you money in the long term as the rate of tyre wear is significantly slower for premium tyres due to their unique design and high-quality materials used. Also, in a study conducted by Continental tyres, they found that a premium tyre’s wet braking distance is over 5 metres longer when the vehicle was using budget tyres compared to premium tyres.
Also, Premium tyres are also more fuel-efficient and quieter. Over a year you’ll save 80 litres of fuel which is roughly around £120. As a result, Premium tyres will work out to be the less expensive choice, with the added bonus of reducing your carbon footprint.
If your tyres are overly worn, they will worsen the control of your car, give you less grip on the road and increase the chance of aquaplaning. Your stopping distance is poorer when your tyres are overly worn and could even result in a blowout.
So, we’ve put together a checklist of 6 signs you should look out for that your tyres are in need of replacing, so you won't need an expert to tell you it’s time to change.
Your tyres will need to meet legal requirements for them to be roadworthy. If you disregard these regulations and continue to drive with overly worn tyres, this could result in points on your licence or hefty fines.
If you were to purchase a brand-new car, the tread depth would be around 8mm but, throughout its time, it will wear down. The legal limit for the depth of tread on each tyre needs to have a minimum of 1.6mm. So, when your tyres are lower than 3mm, you must get them booked in at your local tyre garage.
You could also check them yourself by doing the 20p coin test, which will indicate whether your tread depth is deemed illegal.
When you’re checking your tyres, you should be looking for any visible cracks. The cracks in the sidewall of the tyre are a prior indication of a potential blowout, which is highly dangerous when travelling at speed. Cracks occur due to deterioration in the chemicals and oils in the rubber material the tyres are made up of.
So, if the cracks in the sidewall are starting to look dangerous, bring your car to DA Techs to get your FREE tyre safety check.
Tyres have a lifespan which if bought from new, will last around 5 years. After this time the rubber compound begins to come apart, resulting in a high likelihood of cracks and blisters appearing on your tyres and sometimes even blowouts.
Even if they seem usable, it’s still a good idea to get yourself a new set of tyres. Another way you can tell it's time to replace your tyres is by checking their mileage. If you have a look at the manufacturer’s recommendations for how many miles they can do before they will need replacing. On average, tyres will last for around 25,000 miles, however, this depends on your driving style and the car you drive.
We all know how concerning it is when you suddenly hear peculiar noises coming from your car. You must get your car checked out for any odd noises, especially when they’re coming from your tyres. A squeaking, whining or creaking sound is often an indication that you have a problem with your tyres.
These noises occur when a tyre gets a puncture or starts to crack, the sound is produced when there is a change in air compression. You should not disregard this noise if you hear it, as it could result in a tyre blowout.
If you're noticing excessive vibration in your tyres while driving, this is most likely a sign that there is a problem with your alignment and/or balancing. Tyre vibration is not only irritating, but it can also affect your judgement significantly and it may cause an accident. If you ignore the vibration and don't act upon it, your tyres will begin to wear unevenly and excessively, resulting in an early tyre replacement.
In some cases, the outer surface of the tyre will begin to weaken. Over time as the tyre continues to weaken, bulges or blisters can emerge from the rest of the surface. This weakened area may cause a sudden blowout, so if you notice anything unusual with your tyre, it is vital to get your tyres checked out immediately or even replaced.
How often should you be inspecting your tyres? You should check your tyres every 4 weeks. Although if you’re about to embark on a long journey, you should always check your tyres before travelling.
Are winter tyres a waste of money? Well, winter tyres are not only lifesavers in snowy or icy conditions, they also improve traction in any dry or wet conditions below 7C°.
When the snow has fallen, and the temperature drops, ice will undoubtedly soon follow and driving will become a concerning task. However, can winter tyres help in reducing this fear, and can they really save your life? To answer these questions, we have compiled a list of reasons why getting your winter tyres fitted really can save your life:
Did you know that your braking distances can double when driving in wet weather conditions? So even just lightly braking in wet, icy or snowy conditions can be extremely dangerous. But by getting your winter tyres fitted it is found that they can reduce your stopping distance by up to 11 metres. As the road will be much harder to grip if it’s covered in water or ice, but what the everyday driver doesn’t realise is that their braking distance is also influenced by a prevailing temperature. So not only could this prevent you from having an accident, but it could also save your life.
Tip: Braking in Winter
Slow down, it might seem blatantly obvious but, it’s far easier to control your car if you drive just that little bit slower than you would say, during the summer months. For example, If you’re driving and you suddenly notice a patch of ice on the road ahead you should slow your speed down by at least 10 mph, as your stopping distance will be longer than it would be in good weather.
The key difference between summer tyres and winter tyres is the tread depth. On a summer tyre it varies between 7 and 8mm, as opposed to a winter tyre which can be between 8 and 9mm. Due to winter tyres having deeper treads than summer tyres, the deeper treads disperse the surface water and reduce the risk of the car aquaplaning. As well as the tread moulds there are smalls channels and sipes within the tread blocks improve traction as they grip into the snow and ice on the road. Whereas summer tyres become harder in these conditions and are less ‘elastic’ and therefore struggle in gripping to the icy/wet surface.
A winter tyre is safer than a summer tyre even in dry conditions below 7C°, because at lower rolling temperatures the tread compound heats up which creates grip in low temperatures.
It is found that drivers are 6 times more likely to have an accident in winter than in summer. So as the weather takes a turn for the worse, winter tyres are proven to improve your car’s grip and handling in all forms of conditions below 7°C. So, by getting your winter tyres fitted this will reduce your risk significantly.