It’s always important to check your tyre health on a regular basis but even more so this time of year. As the days grow shorter and colder with signs of winter coming in, it’s best to check your tyres are safe for use before its too late.
This month is Tyre Safety Month and the team at TyreSafe are reminding driver’s to check their tyres using the acronym ACT to highlight three key areas to check – Air Pressure, Condition and Tread.
Air Pressure is simple to check if you have access to a pressure gauge or tyre inflator. If you don’t have access to one of these most petrol stations have tyre coin operated inflators that are very easy to use. Though, tyre pressures are best checked when they are cold – as tyres expand just slightly when warm.
To find your tyre pressure you can check your owner’s manual or there is often a sticker attached to the vehicle either inside one of the doors or in the boot. You can also use the TyreSafe website to find your tyre pressures, though it is advised to use this only as a guide and that the vehicle handbook or sticker will be more accurate.
Checking the condition of your tyre is also very simple and can be done in less than a minute per tyre. For front tyres, its worth taking the time to turn the wheels to full lock to give you a clearer view of the tyre – turn them both directions for a more in depth inspection.
Look for cuts, tears and bulges around the tyres, as well as any cracking that may have occurred with tyres aging or being driven underinflated. Also look for any nails or other sharp objects that may have penetrated the tyre without yet causing it to deflate.
If you don’t have one, a tread depth gauge is a tool worth buying – you can pick one up here for less than £5!
The legal tyre tread limit here in the UK is 1.6mm, though it is recommended that if your tread is below 3mm you should consider having the tyres replaced soon. If you’re worried your tyres may be below the legal tread depth and don’t have a gauge, you can use a 20p coin as a quick test.
The outer band of a 20p is 2mm, so if your tread covers this area your tyres are still legal, if you can still see the outer band your tyres may need replaced and you shouldn’t drive on the road with them.
While inspecting your tyre check for any uneven tyre wear. Depending on how your tyres are wearing it could mean something is wrong and needs corrected.
If the tyre is worn on the inside or outer edge, this is likely due to an alignment issue and you should take your car to have the alignment corrected.
If both edges are worn this is often a sign that the tyre has been under-inflated. Similarly if the centre of the tyre is worn but not the edges, the tyre is likely to have been over-inflated. To resolve this you should check your tyre pressures as instructed above.
For any other unusual or inconsistent tread wear it would be recommended to have a professional inspect the tyre, as uneven wear can often be attributed to an issue with the vehicle.