How can I tell when my tyres need changing?
One sign that your tyres need changing is noticing a deterioration
in performance. For example, your car does not handle or grip the
road as well in poor weather conditions as it normally does, or it
takes longer to stop when you apply the brakes.
The fact that tyres wear gradually can make it difficult to identify
the reduction in performance, so it's best to have them checked regularly
and preferably by an expert. It is the driver's responsibility to
ensure that the tread on your tyres is not worn beyond the
legal minimum limit of 1.6 millimetres. UK law requires that your
vehicle is fitted with the correct type and size of tyre for the vehicle
type you are driving and for the purpose it is being used. This means
fitting the right tyres and for safety ensuring that they are inflated
to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. The legal limit for minimum
depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central
¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.
For safety reasons it is recommended that you replace your tyres before
the legal limit is reached. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing
at 3 millimetres.
To make this easier to identify, tyre manufacturers mould tread wear
indicators (T.W.I) into the design of the tyres tread pattern usually
at a tread level of 1.6mm. As soon as the tread is worn to the height
of the tread wear indicator, the tyre has reached the legal minimum
tread depth and you should replace the tyre as soon as possible.
You should also be aware that there are many different reasons for
tyre wear. Your tyres don't just get worn through age and use, but
through emergency braking, under-inflation or over-inflation. And
if your wheels are misaligned, one edge of the tyre can wear more
rapidly than the other edge.
We recommend a weekly walk around the car to check the tread, look
for bulges or wear and to check tyre pressures every time you fill
Looking After Tyres
1. Maintaining correct Tyre Pressures
There are three main reasons why maintaining the right tyre pressure
is important. The first is safety. Tyres that are under inflated can
overheat; and over inflated tyres can lead to poor vehicle handling
on the road.
The second reason is economy. Over or under inflated tyres suffer
more damage than those with the correct pressure and need to be replaced
more regularly. Vehicles with under-inflated tyres have increased
rolling resistance that require more fuel to maintain the same speed.
The third reason for maintaining the correct tyre pressure is the
environment. Correct tyre pressures help to maintain optimum fuel
efficiency. This can equate to lower Co2 emissions coming from your
vehicle than those with incorrect tyre pressures and that has to be
good for the environment.
2. Check for External Damage
Cuts, lumps and bumps are often caused by an impact between the tyre
and a kerb, pothole or object in the road. If your tyre has any of
these symptoms then you must have the tyre checked as quickly as possible
by a tyre specialist, as this sort of damage can result in sudden
Wheel alignment too is a very important step in maintaining and prolonging
the life of your tyres. Kerbing or potholes affect your vehicle’s
wheel alignment settings which can lead to rapid or un-even tyre wear.
The car manufacturer will set your vehicle’s wheel alignment
at the factory, so after driving it’s worth a regular check
to help prevent premature tyre wear, generally caused by incorrect
wheel alignment setting.
Also, emergency braking can sometime leave your tyres with a ‘flat
spot’. This can be another reason for premature tyre removal.
It is always recommended to have your tyres checked if the vehicle
has been involved in an emergency manoeuvre like sudden and heavy
braking. If you have any concern or doubt about the condition of your
tyres, please ask a specialist for advice as soon as possible.
3. It’s a Driver's responsibility
UK law requires that your vehicle is fitted with the correct type
and size of tyres for the vehicle type you are driving and for the
purpose it is being used. This means fitting the right tyres, and
for safety ensuring that they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended
New regulations like Corporate and Social Responsibility and the
Duty of Care regulation place even greater focus on the need to carry
out regular tyre checks as part of a routine maintenance plan.