10 Top Tips For Tyre Care
Buying new tyres can become and expensive affair, even with some of the great prices we have on our site! So, once you have your shiny new tyres, how can you look after them in order to maximise the use you get from them and ensure you stay as safe as possible on the roads? Well, we’ve put together 10 handy tips below to make sure you keep your tyres in great shape and get the most miles for your money!
Check your tyre pressure regularly (once every couple of weeks) to make sure they are at the optimum pressure for your car. You can find the details of what pressure they should be at in your car handbook or you can use this handy guide on the AA website. Simply enter your reg number and it will list the correct pressure for the different sizes of tyres you may have on your car. Having your tyres at the correct pressure increases performance, saves fuel and helps your tyres last much longer!
Check the tread on your tyres regularly as well. The tread gives you the grip and traction to ensure you can brake and stop effectively and safely. The legal limit is 1.6mm of tread on your tyres. Once you are heading towards this you will begin to see the tread indicators on the tyre and you need to replace them. You can test the depth of your tread with a 20p coin. If you can see the border of the coin then your tyres need replacing. You can also pick up a tread depth gauge for a couple of quid, which will give you an accurate reading. Having tread depth below 1.6mm is illegal and can land you with a large fine (up to £2500) and 3 points per defective tyre. No one wants to end up paying out that sort of money when you can replace your tyres for much less.
If you tyres aren’t balanced properly then you will increase the wear and tear on them vastly. You will notice uneven wear on the tread and also feel vibrations through the steering wheel which make driving uncomfortable and hard work! Getting your tyres balanced properly will also reduce wear on the suspension and bearings of your car. When you get your tyres changed make sure the balance of the tyres is checked as well.
This is another one to get checked when you get you tyres changed. It’s hard to tell if your wheel or axles aren’t correctly aligned whilst you are driving. Ask your tyre mechanic to check this and then changes can be made to the suspension to make sure it is properly aligned. This will ensure even wear on your tyres and also better handling.
Check the valves on your tyres to make sure they aren’t warped or damaged. If the valve bends whilst you are driving at speed it can leak air and reduce your tyre pressure. Check for damage regularly to avoid constantly having to top up the pressure of your tyres.
Check regularly for any exterior damage to the tyre. Check the sidewalls and the main tread for any lumps, bumps, holes or punctures. Tyre damage can occur for many reasons, hitting the kerb, objects on the road or just general wear. If you notice any damage get it inspected by a professional, they will often be able to repair it so you don’t have to get a new tyre!
Nitrogen or Oxygen?
Nitrogen doesn’t expand as quickly as oxygen so it doesn’t lose pressure as quickly. If your local garage offers a nitrogen filling service then speak to them about it. It can mean you don’t have to top up your tyres as regularly and they keep at a steady pressure for longer.
New tyres on the front or back?
If you have a front wheel drive car then it is advisable to put your newest or least worn tyres on the back wheels. As the steering doesn’t go through the back axle you don’t have as much control over the grip and traction on the back wheels. The fresher the tyres on the back the more confidence you will have in their grip and traction.
You should know roughly when to replace your tyres from the mileage you have had out of them. A good quality tyre, on the front of a front wheel drive car, should be able to do around 20,000 miles before they need replacing, and the rear tyres should do double that. That distance is a rough guide and all sorts of factors can extend or shorten the lifetime of a tyre. It’s best to keep an eye on them regularly to see how much they are wearing and if there is any damage.
Rotating your tyres can extend their lifetime considerably, by making sure they wear more evenly. On front wheel drive cars you will see the front tyres wear quicker than the rear, as they are doing more of the work. If you are driving long distances regularly then it’s worth looking to rotate your tyres, from front to back, every 6,000-8,000 miles or so to make sure you get the most from your tyres and they wear down evenly.