‘Tyres are your only point of contact with the road surface, so you cannot afford to neglect them.’ That’s a phrase that you see banded around quite a lot on tyre related websites. Unfortunately sometimes when people see something a lot, the message is lost.
For many motorists this seems to be the case as a national survey (TyreSafe.org, 2009) showed that almost 36% of vehicles tested had dangerously underinflated tyres. It is widely agreed by safety experts that a tyre’s performance - particularly in wet conditions - deteriorates dramatically once it gets below 2mm. So if your tread depth is below this level it would be wise to start looking into buying some new tyres.
In the same survey, an approximate 12% of vehicles actually had illegal tyres – which is not only extremely dangerous for those driving around on illegal tyres, but for all other road-users as well.
We recommend that you should check the condition of your tyres regularly - at least once a fortnight.
Why should you check your tyres?
Did you know that you are not insured when driving on illegal tyres? If you are involved in an accident and it turns out that you have been driving around on tyres with a tread depth lower than 1.6mm (legal limit in the UK) you could find yourself forking out a lot of money on repairs and fines.
Worn tyres significantly impede the performance of your car - low tread depths reduce the effectiveness of braking, steering, and acceleration, all of which are vital in staying safe. What are a few minutes put aside now to check your tyres, when you compare it to your own safety and that of your family?
What Should I Check?
The TyreSafe.org has devised a five point tyre check that we strongly recommend you complete:
- Check overall condition of tyres, including inner and outer sidewalls.
- Check tyre tread depth.
- Check all tyre pressures.
- Check signs of irregular wear.
- Check and examine the spare tyre.
Please contact Blackcircles.com on 0845 620 2000 if you require any advice on tyre safety.
A tyre does not have to look flat to be under inflated. To be safe you should check the pressure at least once a fortnight. If you are unsure as to what the correct pressure is for your vehicle, have a look in the Vehicle Manual.
- Always remember that tyre pressure should only be tested when your tyres are cold - a good guideline is to leave them for an hour after driving so that they can cool down.
- If you drive around on under or over inflated tyres, your vehicle's handling will be seriously affected – in most cases the vehicle will become unstable.
- The wrong tyre pressure also increases tyre wear, significantly shortening its lifespan and increasing the chances of the tyre failing whilst driving.
If your tyre is evenly worn across the surface, then this could be a sign of over/under inflation. However, if it is only worn on one edge it is likely to be the result of poor wheel alignment. If this is the case you need to have a professional garage check your tracking.
If you need a service, have a look at the car servicing section of Blackcircles.com to book your car in for a service today.
An unbalanced wheel can cause dangerous mechanical damage. All Blackcircles.com tyre fitting centres will balance your wheel as a matter of course after replacing your tyre.
The current British legal limit for car tread depth is 1.6mm (across 75% of the tyre). However, the deeper the tread the more grip you will have when driving. Blackcircles.com advises that you replace your tyres when the tread is less than 3mm.
It is not only unsafe to ignore the minimum tyre tread depth, it's against the law. For each illegal tyre you face a fine of up to £2,500 and the chance of three penalty points on your driving license.
There is a simple test you can perform to test the tread depth of you tyres and the best part is that the device fits snugly into your pocket – a 20 pence piece.
To test, take a 20p and place it in-between the main grooves of the tyre. If you can see the outer band of the coin, the tyre may have insufficient tread depth. At this point, it is advised that you have your tyres checked over by a qualified mechanic.
Even if you never use your spare it is still vital that you check that it is in good condition. Check the pressure and the tyre tread periodically.
It is better to discover any problems in a safe and comfortable environment, i.e. at home, than by the roadside.