Three Essential Car Tyre Safety Checks
As the cold and wet winter months approach now is a good time to check the condition of your car tyres. Car tyres are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road. Any signs of wear or damage will decrease the performance of your tyres and endanger not only yourself but other road users too.
It is especially important to check your car tyres during winter as there is greater chance you will be driving in wet and icy conditions.
Based on the information provided by TyreSafe, three essential car tyre checks include:
1) Check the Tread Depth
Tread depth must be a minimum of 1.6mm. This is the legal minimum and applies to the entire circumference of the tyre.
Most tyres have a wear indicator built into the tread. Look for a horizontal bar of rubber located between the tread patterns, at a depth of 2mm. When the height of the tread wears down to the height of this bar it is time to replace your car tyres.
In the wet conditions that winter brings it is good advice to change your tyres well before they reach this limit. A tyre’s grip deteriorates more rapidly in the second half of its tread life and in the wet stopping distances is significantly increased.
If you notice unusual wear on your car tyre, such as excess wear on one edge, it may be a result of your wheels being incorrectly aligned. Consult your local garage or a tyre specialist to check your vehicle’s tracking.
2) Check Tyre Pressure
A car tyre that is inflated below its recommended pressure will wear faster because of its higher operating temperature and the extra flexing of the rubber. This causes deterioration of the tyre casing and rapid wear of the tread shoulders.
Over inflation can also increase wear due to the decreased size of the contact area between the car tyre and the road. This accelerates the wear in the centre of the tread, an area importantant for protecting the tyre against impact damage.
Driving with unequal pressures in your car tyres will lead to unusual and accelerated wear. It can be potentially dangerous as the balance of the car is upset and cornering with unevenly pressurised tyres can lead to unpredictable results.
3) Check Condition of Tyres
Remove any stones and other objects embedded in a car tyre’s tread. If you find a nail do not remove it as the tyre will rapidly deflate. Instead take the tyre to a specialist who may be able to repair the puncture.
Check for any unusual bulges or lumps as these are often a sign of internal damage.
Inspect the tread and sidewall rubber for sign of cracking. Crazing and cracking due to weather exposure usually becomes evident on car tyres that are more than five years old. However tyres on vehicles that are parked outside will degrade faster than those kept in a garage.
At the first sign of cracking change the tyre rather than risking a blowout when the vehicle is in motion.
Car tyres should be checked at least once a month. Regular inspection becomes more important the longer the tyre is in use. If any damage or unusual wear is found consult a car tyre specialist who will determine whether the tyre needs to be replaced.
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