Keeping an eye on the roadworthiness of your tyres is a crucial step to staying safe on the roads.
You’re likely to fail your WoF if they’re not up to scratch and it’s often during their annual inspection that problems are brought to the surface. But there are some things you can do yourself to keep your tyres well maintained throughout the year.
Buying new tyres
If you’re proactively buying new tyres, then safety and longevity are the first things to consider. It's best to choose ones that have strong grip and will last the test of time. There are many manufacturers to choose from but stick with the traditional, reputable brands who usually offer a range of tyres for all budgets.
Don’t risk investing your money in used tyres which are more likely to be old and perished and subsequently more prone to cracking and blowing out, increasing the risk of an accident.
If you are determined to go down this route, bear in mind that you’ll also have to factor in additional costs to recycle your old tyres and get the replacements fitted and balanced. It may end up costing you more than you first thought, or the price difference may be negligible so it’s not likely to be worth the risk.
Remember, used tyres will have less tread depth which can affect their performance. Tyres need good tread depth to be able to perform, especially in wet conditions. Tyres with no tread can’t dissipate the water on the road and will create a film of water beneath your tyres. However, deeper treads allow more water to be displaced, providing greater grip on the road.
Sometimes it’s a false economy to only replace just one tyre if there’s another that’s nearly worn out, so consider your options because it can be cheaper to buy in sets.
Checking your tyres is easy
Many people don’t realise you can quickly measure the tread of your tyres yourself using a 20c coin.
The bottom of the ‘20’ is approximately 2mm from the edge of the coin, so with the number facing towards you, insert the coin into the tread of the tyre. If you can read the whole number your tyre is getting close to the 1.5mm minimum legal depth for a WoF and it’s time to replace it. If the digits are still partly concealed, you know the tread of your tyre is still within the legal guidelines.
Tyres with a low pressure can sag in the centre, causing wear on the outside edges which will also affect cornering and braking.
Tyres that are overinflated wear unevenly, have less grip on the road and can affect your ability to brake.
As a general rule, 32 psi will be acceptable for most tyres, but many newer tyres can often hold more pressure. If you’re unsure, check the owner’s manual or consult the manufacturer who will be able to provide the most accurate information.
It’s always a good idea to check your spare or spare saver as well. Make sure it’s correctly inflated, look for any signs of wear and check that it’s secure in its holder with all of its tools. It’s easy to forget and neglect this tyre, but you’ll be kicking yourself if you ever breakdown at the side of the road with a flat.
If you want to discuss your options, visit your nearest tyre shop or garage. They’ll be able to provide you with the best advice.