A guide to car tyre maintenance
Data from the Department for Transport reveals there were almost 120,000 casualties of all severities on Great Britain's roads in the year ending June 2021. This represents a 9% decrease on the previous 12 months, but still serves as clear evidence that accidents are all too common.
Of course, some incidents are unavoidable and could happen to anyone, but to protect ourselves and others, we all have a responsibility to follow the Highway Code whenever we get behind the wheel.
Part of that duty involves ensuring our vehicle is in a safe condition to drive – including the tyres. With that in mind, here's a few tips you can follow to make sure yours are in tip-top shape.
Keep an eye on their condition
It can easily be overlooked – especially if you're in a rush – but try to make a habit of regularly doing a visual check of your tyres to make sure there are no obvious issues. These might include tears, bulges or any foreign objects that may have got stuck in the rubber, such as nails, screws or shards of glass.
Check the pressure
Your vehicle manual will include details of the desired pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI) of your tyres. A warning light should come on if one or more fall below that threshold, in which case you'll need to visit a petrol station to operate the air machine or use a pump if you have one. You can check the pressure yourself using a gauge too.
Rotate your tyres
Your front tyres tend to wear at a faster rate than those at the rear, so it makes sense to switch them around occasionally. To do this, you'll need to jack the car up and you may need to get your hands on a torque wrench, such as one from RS Components, to loosen and then re-tighten the nuts.
Make sure the tread is legal
The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm and there's an easy way to check this using a 20-pence piece. If you can see any part of the outer band of the coin when inserted into the tread, it's a sign that the tread is too shallow and that could impact the safe driving of your vehicle. In that instance, you should get the tyres changed as quickly as possible.
You can also extend the life of your tyres by adjusting your driving habits. For example, you should try to avoid any potholes wherever you can, as well as slowing down for speed bumps and braking steadily rather than slamming on. It can also be beneficial if you accelerate gradually and change gear smoothly, not to mention driving within the speed limits, which can help to avoid a host of other issues!