Keeping your car in good condition is always a smart idea. It’s easy to get complacent as we do our day-to-day driving, just assuming that our car will do what it needs to do. But if you don’t pay attention to the little details, you could end up with a serious problem. Be that a breakdown or, much worse, an accident. A vital part for the safe and effective performance of the car, here’s why you it’s so important to checky our tyres regularly.
The most important thing that you need your tyres for is braking. You need to be sure that when you put your foot on the brake pedal, your car will stop. No matter how safe a driver you might be, there will be times when you need to slam on the brakes. That’s when you need to be sure your tyres will work.
Check your tyre tread depth regularly to ensure that the grip is there when you need it. Your tyres should have tread wear indicators moulded into the rubber. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, but you don’t want the tyres to get that low. Also keep an eye out for any bald spots on the tyre, where there is excessive wear inconsistent with the rest of the tread.
If your tyres aren’t in great condition, you’ll feel it when you drive. Tyres in the right condition will make driving smooth and easy. If they are underinflated or heavily worn, you’ll find that the car might drift or wobble as you turn. You also might feel it takes a bit longer to get up to speed, or your tyres spin more often when accelerating from stationary.
Check the tyre pressure regularly to ensure that they are properly inflated. The tyres themselves will have recommended tyre pressures. Some cars also have a metal plate in the door frame that tells you what pressure settings you should have. This is often divided between usage too, so if it’s just you or an entire family in your car, there are different recommended pressures.
If your tyres are underinflated or worn down, you will have to make your car work more. This means you will burn more petrol as your car has to work to make up for the tyres shortcomings. Having your tyres at the right pressure with a good tread depth will mean you won’t be wasting as much petrol.
It might seem a bit daunting if you are not mechanically minded, but checking your tyres is simple. All you need to get started is a 20p coin. The little border of the coin is roughly 1.6mm in size, matching the mimimum legal tyre tread. Walk around your car and insert the coin between the tread. If you can see the border, then your tyre is too worn and needs to be replaced. Make sure you check the entire tyre, and move your car forward to see the depth on the parts in contact with the road.
Tyre pressure is also simple. Go to a petrol station with an air pump and attached the nozzle. It will tell you the pressure of the tyre. Most stations also have an automatic air pump these days, so you can just set what pressure you want and let the pump do its job!