August 29, 2017 at 4:05 PM
Knowing when you need to change your tyres can make the difference between life and death. In good weather, worn tread won't be noticeable, but by the time winter rolls around, not having good tyres will put you at serious risk of an accident on wet or muddy roads. That's why it's crucial to understand the signs of tyre wear.
There are many factors that can affect how quickly your tyres will need to be changed. Your own driving style is the easiest to control. Driving fast will wear the tread more quickly, as will aggressive braking, accelerating and cornering.
Parking your car outside will accelerate tyre damage from weather; hot weather will crack the tyres, whereas wet weather will directly wear the tread away.
Tyre pressure is also an important factor. Make sure to keep your tyres at a suitable pressure. Tyres that are at a significantly lower pressure than optimal will wear more quickly because the tyre will flatten, and the rubber will get more contact with the road.
How Can I Spot Severe Tyre Damage?
Punctures are the most serious form of tyre damage and should be dealt with immediately. Fast punctures occur when you burst your tyre (by hitting a curb for example) causing it to instantly deflate. A car with a burst tyre is not safely usable, and so the tyre change must be made immediately.
A slow puncture occurs when a small breach in the tyre (such as caused by a piece of debris stuck in the wall) leads to a gradual leak of air. Many drivers often carry on using a car with a slow puncture for a considerable time before getting the damaged tyre changed. This is not advisable. A slow punctured tyre will increase your probability of being involved in a road accident and should be changed as soon as possible.
Also make sure to check your tyres for "blistering", where excessive heat causes chunks of the rubber to sheer off and bulging, where air leaks into the inside of the rubber itself causing lumps to appear on the surface. Both of these can lead to a full rupture of the tyre and warrant replacement of the tyre as soon as possible.
Finally, look out for uneven patterns of wear, which can result from excessive turning or use of roundabouts. This uneven wear will alter your steering and may also lengthen your braking distance.
How Can You Check the Tread?
There is a simple way to check whether your tyres have a safe tread depth. Put a 20p coin into the main thread groove of the tyre. If the outer ring of the coin's design is covered by the tread, then the tread is above the legal limit. If the coin's outer ring is not covered, then the tread is not deep enough and is illegal. A tyre replacement should be made as soon as possible.
Safety and Tyre Care
There is no set time for changing your tyres. You need to keep track of the tread and the tyre surface and make sure to change your tyres immediately if you spot signs of severe wear or damage. Keeping your tyres in good condition could save your life.