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Complete Guide to Tyre Checks

26th October 2022

Our ultimate guide to tyre checks explains what to look out for when checking your tyres as well as common problems that might be making your tyres illegal or dangerous. Tyre Safety Month runs throughout October and to support this we’ve created a checklist to help make sure your tyres are safe. Here at Merityre, we understand that tyre safety should be a priority, which is why our tyre checks are free all year round, but we’re encouraging all motorists to get a FREE tyre check this October.

In this guide, we’ll explain what you should be looking out for when you’re checking your tyres including.

  • Tyre quality
  • Tyre tread depth
  • Under and overinflated tyres
  • How to check for tyre damage

How to choose quality tyres

The tyres fitted to your car, SUV or 4x4 are the most important factor in ensuring driver safety and the safety of your passengers and pedestrians. Your tyres are the only part of your vehicle that is connected to the road. So, ensuring they are of good quality and condition is integral to the safety of your vehicle.

Premium tyres are considered safer than their budget counterparts as the higher quality rubber is more effective at gripping the road in wet conditions. This will reduce the chance of aquaplaning and help reduce stopping distances. Here at Merityre, we have a range of premium tyre brands that are committed to safety such as;

To understand which tyres are most efficient at wet braking read our guide on how to read tyre labels.

How to check your tyre tread depth

Your tyre tread depth plays a significant role in determining whether you have sufficient grip to stay in control of your vehicle, especially on wet roads. The grooves on your tyres disperse any water that forms between your tyres and the road, this provides you with the essential grip you need to drive safely. If your tread is too worn down, your vehicle will struggle to grip the road.

When you purchase a brand new set of premium tyres, they come with a full 8mm of tread. But, through normal, everyday usage – these treads will eventually wear down, and with it their ability to move water from the road. The result is a gradual reduction in grip, most keenly felt when having to break in wet weather conditions.

To minimise the loss of grip, it is generally recommended that your tyres have at least 3mm of tread depth. The legal limit is 1.6mm, but by letting your tyres wear down to this length you could be increasing your braking distance by up to two car lengths when compared to 3mm.

Some tyres such as the award winning ContiPremiumContact™ 5, come with 3mm Tread Wear Indicators that come as standard. Not all tyres come with Tread Wear Indicators so a quick way and easy way to check your tyre tread depth is with the “20p test”.

Checking your tyres have the correct tyre pressure

Under or overinflated tyres can have significant impact on the performance of your tyres. If you haven’t checked your tyre pressure in recent memory, the time to do so is now. To find the correct PSI for your tyres, check your car manual and use your air gauge to measure the pressure 

Underinflated tyres

Studies by Tyre Safe have found that driving with low tyre pressure can cause the following risks:

  • Reduced vehicle control – Reduced vehicle control can increase your risk of accidents.
  • Reduce your tyres life by 10% - For every 10% your tyre is underinflated; it’ll increase your wear by 10%.
  • Increase the amount of fuel needed to run your car – 3% more fuel is needed when your pressure is 6PSI below recommended inflation.
  • Increase tyre wear - If your tyre pressure is too low, you’ll be at greater risk of having uneven tyre wear. An underinflated tyre has 50% less contact with the road than a tyre with the correct tyre pressure.

Overinflated tyres

If your tyres are overinflated it can cause the following issues:

  • Tyres become distorted – When your tyres are overinflated they can become misshapen which means your tyres will have less contact with the road.
  • Tyres lose traction – The tyre treads can lose flexibility when they’re overinflated, reducing the amount of grip you have on the road.
  • Uneven tread wear – Similarly to when your tyres are underinflated, overinflated tyres can cause uneven tread wear.

Checking the condition of your tyres

Your tyres undergo severe stresses and strains whenever you drive, so it’s inevitable that you may experience tyre damage. Maintaining the correct tyre pressure will help to reduce your chances of a blowout, as well as tears, cuts, nicks, bubbles or bulges in the sidewall.

Despite keeping your tyres at the right pressure, you can still be at risk from tyre damage and punctures from debris on the road or from potholes. Regularly performing a visual check of your tyres for punctures or debris can help prevent problems with your tyres before they escalate.

If you have any concerns about the condition of your tyres find your nearest Merityre centre today and book your car in for a free tyre check.