The car tyre health checklist
Auto Solutions EK’s Guide on How to Check your Car Tyres
Car tyres are a highly neglected part of vehicle maintenance, but they’re also an essential part of keeping you on the road. It’s something that all cars have in common as it holds vehicles up and keeps them moving. Doing a car tyre health check on your vehicle is one of the best things you can do as part of its upkeep. And you may be thinking, where do I even begin? Look no further, as at Auto Solutions EK we’ve put together a checklist for you to do your own car tyre check from the comfort of your own home.
Checking the depth of the car tyre tread
We all know that car tyres are made from rubber, but not everyone knows what else makes up a tyre. For instance, there are grooves in the rubber that help to disperse water. As time goes on the car tyre loses its ability to grip the road as well as it used to, especially in wet conditions. The legal requirement for tread depth is 1.6mm but experts advise that ideally a car tyre’s tread depth should be 3mm.
You can check your car tyres tread depth by placing your finger in the main tyre groove and running it along the Tread Wear Indicators (TWI). TWIs are small notches that are 1.6mm high, which allows you to monitor when your car tyres should be changed. When the main tread is flush with this, you’ll know that it’s time to get new tyres. Alternatively, you can check it with a 20p coin by sticking the coin in the groove between the tread blocks. If the rim surrounding the coin has disappeared it means that the car tyre has a tread of at least 1.6mm.
Are your car tyres under inflated?
Tyre pressure is a vital part of car tyre maintenance and if tyres are over or under inflated it isn’t good for the vehicle. Because there is less rubber on the road when tyres are over inflated, they can wear unevenly and result in longer stopping distances. In contrast, if there is more rubber on the road and the tyres wear more easily it can be just as bad. Car tyres that are under inflated by just 20% lose up to ⅕ of their life span. If you want to check your vehicle’s tyre pressure it should be available in the owner’s guide for the vehicle or you can also look for it online.
Check for any changes to the tyre
All you need for this checkpoint are your eyes. You should look at the sides of your car tyres from time to time to make sure that they don’t have any lumps or gashes. If you do find any on your car tyres it could mean that there is a structural defect from a pothole, which can lead to having to replace your car tyre sooner than expected.
Check your dust caps
Dust caps are the covers you take off your valve when you need to fill your car tyre up with air. These caps are what prevents particles of grit, water and dirt from sitting on the valve. Having these caps helps to prevent long-term damage from occurring, as well as acting as a secondary air pressure seal. If you don’t keep the dust caps on your car tyres will lose pressure more quickly, meaning that they’ll need to be replaced sooner than necessary.
How old are your car tyres?
One thing that people don’t factor into car tyre maintenance is the age of their tyres, but it is a vital part in the upkeep of any vehicle. If you travel between 10,000 and 12,000 miles per year, it’s recommended that you change your car tyres every three years due to wear and tear. But for those who don’t travel as often, they may need to replace their car tyres due to the age of them. Tyres contain an anti-oxidising chemical that slows down the ageing process. However, this is only released when the car is in motion. So, if your car is under used your tyres will gradually harden bit by bit.
How can you tell how old your tyre is? Each tyre is made with a stamp on the side of it, which includes the manufacturing date including the week and year it was made e.g. 0117 will be week one of 2017. If your tyre is ageing you can notice small cracks developing where the rubber is hardening.
If you’re tyres aren’t in tip-top shape, contact us at Auto Solutions EK for advice on replacement tyres. We stock a range of premium, mid-range and budget tyres to suit any make or model of vehicle. Come visit our garage in East Kilbride for a visual inspection on your tyres, if you’re not sure if you need new ones.