New Drivers’ Guide to Tyres – Part 2: Safety Checks & Maintenance

All this week we’ll post articles as part of our tyre guide series.

Each section is aimed at helping new drivers make sense of tyre regulations and explains what you should be looking out for when maintaining your tyres.

Today we are taking a look a the important of tyre safety, maintenance and how you can check the health of your tyres.

Part 2: Safety Checks & Maintenance

Why check tyres?

tyre safetyWorn 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 to Check?

There are five main points that you should make sure to check. These are:

  1. The overall condition of your tyres.
  2. Each tyre’s tread depth.
  3. Each tyre’s air pressure.
  4. Any signs of irregular wear.
  5. The spare tyre (if you have one).

Tyre Pressures

tyre_pressureAn important thing to remember is that a tyre may not look flat when it is underinflated.

Always air (pun intended) on the side of caution and check the pressure at least once a fortnight with a pressure gauge.

The correct tyre pressure for your vehicle can be found in the Vehicle Manual.

Testing Pressure

The best time to test a tyre’s pressure is when they are cold – this is due to the fact that when rubber warms up it expands.

The wrong pressure is detrimental to tyre wear – it significantly shortens the lifespan and makes the handling unstable.

Tread Depth

Although, we mentioned before, the legal limit for car tread is 1.6mm many within the automotive industry recommend replacing tyres once they dip below the 3mm mark.

The best way to check the tread depth is with a gauge. However, if you are worried that your tyres have reached the 1.6mm level, there is a simple test you can perform.

Take a 20p and place it in-between the main grooves of the tyre. If the outer band of the coin is visible, the tyre may have insufficient tread depth.


If this is the case have your tyres checked over by a qualified mechanic ASAP, or order a new set.

Ordering new tyres may seem overwhelming – given the sheer number of models on the market – but tomorrow we’ll put that fear to rest by looking at the best way to choose new tyres.

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James Harding


James Harding is an enthusiastic writer with a passion for the written word. James joined in 2009, adding some extra creative firepower to the marketing department.

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