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 FAQ #15
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Checking your Tyres
REMEMBER: Tyres are your only point of contact with the road surface. You cannot neglect the condition of your Tyres. If you do you could endanger not only yourself and your passengers, but also other road users. You should check the condition of your Tyres regularly. We recommend you check your tyres at least once a month.

Nationwide Surveys (Tyre Industry Council, 2002) show that almost 27% of vehicles had tyres with tread depths of less than 2mm. It is accepted that tyre performance and in particular braking in the wet, deteriorates dramatically below 2mm. Approximately 12% of vehicles actually had illegal tyres.

Why should you check your tyres?

Did you know that you are not insured when driving on illegal tyres? Worn tyres significantly impede the performance of your car. Do not forget that a worn tyre reduces the effectiveness of braking, steering, and acceleration, all of which are vital in staying safe. What are a few minutes put aside now to check your tyres, when you compare it to your own safety and that of your family’s?

What should you check?

The Tyre Industry Council have devised a five point tyre check:

1. Check overall condition of tyres, including inner and outer sidewalls.
2. Check tyre tread depth.
3. Check all tyre pressures.
4. Check signs of irregular wear, i.e. alignment.
5. Check and examine the spare tyre.

Tyre Pressures

A tyre can be under inflated without looking flat. To be safe you should check the pressures once a fortnight. To find out what pressure your tyres should be at please refer to your Vehicle Manual. Remember that tyre pressures should only be checked when your tyres are cold. A good guideline is to leave them for an hour to cool down before checking. You must not drive on under or over inflated tyres. This will impede your vehicles handling, in cases making the vehicle unstable. The wrong tyre pressure will increase tyre wear.

Wheel Alignment

Is your tyre evenly worn across the surface? If not then it could be due to over or under inflation. (Please see Tyre Pressure Section above). If it is only worn on one edge it could be as a result of poor wheel alignment. If this is the case you need to have a professional garage check on your Tracking.

Wheel Balancing

An unbalanced wheel does not just simply cause an annoying shake it can cause actual mechanical damage. All Good Fitting centres should balance your wheel as a matter of course after replacing a tyre.

Tread Depth

The legal limit for car tread depth is 1.6mm (across 75% of the tyre). However the deeper the tread the tread the more grip you have. Industry Best Advice is that you replace your tyres when the tread is less than 2mm. It is not safe to ignore the minimum tyre tread depth. It is illegal. For each illegal tyre you face a fine of up to £2,500, and may receive three penalty points.

Spare Tyre

Even if you never use your spare it is vital that you check it is in good condition. Check the pressure, and the tyre treads periodically. It is better to discover any problems in a safe and comfortable environment, i.e. at home, than by the roadside.

What Make of Tyre should I buy

A very good question. Cheaper tyres tend not to last as long as more expensive 'Premium Brands'

But Premium Tyres cost more for a good reason. They invariably last longer in similar driving conditions, can be quieter and give better fuel consumption. Balancing 'Grip' with 'Rolling Resistance' is a black art performed by manufactures.

Citroën specify Michelin's for the C4 - yes they cost more than budget brand tyres but when your life depends on them, is it worth saving a few pounds short term?
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FAQ Posted by Dave_Retired.
Info Created: 13 February 2007
Last Updated: 13 February 2007