Tyres are an extremely important part of your car – being the only section in contact with the road and carrying the entire weight of your vehicle. 

For this reason, ensuring that you are running on safe and maintained tyres is very important. Tyres that are well looked after will enjoy a longer lifespan.

However, there will come a point when you need to replace your tyres. Time makes fools of us all – and tyres are no exception.

Understanding when to change your tyres may seem complicated – but there are certain scenarios that indicate that it is the right time to find replacement tyres for your car.

  1. When Your Tyres Reach Their Legal Tyre Tread Limit

The current legal limit for car tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm (across 75% of the tyre). Not only will a tyre become unsafe to use at 1.6mm, but there are also legal and financial implications.

Driving on illegal tyres can lead to a fine of up to £2,500 and the chance of three penalty points on your driving license.

There are several ways to check the tread depth of your tyres – with some manufacturers even designing tread depth indicators into the tyre. 

However, one quick and easy way to ensure tyres are not at the legal depth is to simply use a 20p. 

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.

  1. Your Tyres Are Damaged

Tyre damage can happen when they suffer impact with solid objects, sharp items, or road defects – such as potholes.

You should aim to give your tyres a visual inspection on a regular basis to check for any potential tyre damage. 

It is especially prudent to perform a check of your tyres if you have recently fallen prey to one of the many large potholes that pepper the UK roads or have had an unfortunate collision with a kerb.

Keep an eye out for any visual perforations, deformations, or bulges. If you are unsure, it is always best to check with an expert and do not drive on tyres that you suspect are badly damaged. 

  1. Your Tyres Show Signs of Abnormal Wear

When a tyre does not wear in a uniformed way across the tread, this can lead to performance issues and safety concerns. 

The most common signs that a tyre is wearing abnormally is for patches of lower tread to appear in either the central area of the tyre or around the tyre’s edges. 

Grip, braking and cornering performances will all be detrimentally affected by this – and in extreme circumstances, you could even suffer a blowout of the tyre.

The cause of abnormal wear can vary from a mechanical issue, such as incorrect wheel alignment, to running tyres on the incorrect tyre pressure. 

Too much air in the tyre causes the centre of the tyre to be the main section in contact with the road and not enough air in the tyre causes the edges to dominate road contact.

Buying New Tyres

If you have noticed any of the topics discussed above, then it is likely you will need to start looking into replacing your tyres. This can seem a daunting task if you have not done it before. 

However, it is a relatively easy experience on sites such as Blackcircles.com – we work hard to make the whole process as straightforward as possible. 

One of the key pieces of information that you require when replacing your tyres, is the tyre size that your vehicle requires. 

If you find that you are asking yourself ‘what size are my tyres?’, there is a simple way to check – by either reading your vehicle’s handbook or by looking at the tyres currently fitted to your vehicle. 

How to find your tyre size

When looking at the side of your tyres (also called the sidewall – imaginatively) you will see a variety of different markings. Such as the tyre’s manufacturer, model name and, amongst other things, the size.

The size of the tyre is represented by a series of numbers and letters. They all generally follow the same format, with a common size being:

205/55 R16 91 V

How to read tyre size

At first glance, this may not mean much. However, it is broken into separate sections – allowing you to perform a tyre search online to find similar-sized tyres.

In the above example, each section breaks down as follows:

  • Width:

205 – Width of the tyre in millimetres

  • Profile:

55 – Height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the width. In this case 55%. Also known as the aspect ratio.

  • Diameter:

R16 – The diameter of the tyre’s inner rim in inches

  • Load Rating:

91 – Load Rating of the Tyre.

  • Speed Rating:

V – Speed Rating. Indicates the maximum speed for the tyre when at full load.

It is worth noting, having gone through how to find the tyre size of your car, you can also use our vehicle registration lookup tool. 

This checks the data held by the DVLA to find out what tyre size is appropriate for your vehicle.

When using this tool, we recommend that you double-check the size provided against what you currently have fitted to your vehicle as multiple sizes may be recommended depending on the age and model of your vehicle.

What tyres should I choose?

Once you have your tyre size, the next step is trying to decide the best replacement tyres for your needs. If you are happy with the tyre brand and model you currently use, there is nothing wrong with ordering a like for like replacement.

However, if you are keen to delve down the rabbit hole, there are some useful things which you should consider when trying to decide on the best tyres for you.

Four key factors when making your choice are:

  1. The climate of where you live

Granted, the UK’s climate is generally very similar. However, if you live in a part of the country which receives a higher percentage of rainfall, finding tyres with good wet grip scores may be a good starting point.

  1. Your Vehicle

Different vehicle categories will require specific tyres – as tyre manufacturers develop tyres which meet the differing needs of cars, vans, 4x4s and camper vans and more. Make sure you are looking at the right type for your vehicle.

  1. Your driving style

Each tyre on Blackcircles.com comes with an overview of what conditions the tyre has been constructed for. Evaluating these characteristics will help find a tyre that suits your style.

  1. Your budget

Perhaps the elephant on the screen is price. Money is obviously a major factor when making any kind of purchase. Luckily, there is a wide range of tyres available – so there is a tyre for any kind of budget.

How long does it take to change a tyre?

Once you have purchased your replacement tyres and have booked an appointment to have your new tyres fitted, you may be wondering how long it can take for the whole process to take place.

The short answer is… it depends. Not very helpful though, is it? 

The reason ‘it depends’, is that there are a number of factors that can contribute to the length of time it takes to fit a tyre. This can range from the tyre itself to the vehicle receiving the tyres and even the person fitting the tyres.

To try and ensure that there is some quantifiable way of setting expectations though, it is generally accepted that it will take approximately 30 minutes for the fitting of each tyre. 

But it is worth stressing again this an average figure – some tyres may take longer and others shorter to fit.

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