8 checks and tips for keeping your car tyres in top condition

21 February 2020 Blog

Even though they’re undoubtedly four of the most important elements of any car, tyres can be surprisingly neglected by drivers. And the longer we fail to take proper care of them, the more serious the consequences can be. As well as worsening the vehicle’s performance and requiring costly repairs, they can put you and others on the road at serious risk of injury or worse.

Instead of leaving things to chance, you can minimise the dangers of worn-out tyres by giving them the attention that they properly deserve. To ensure proper maintenance, here are a few handy hints and tips you can use to keep your tyres at their best. 

1. Check the pressure regularly

Whether they’re over- or under-inflated, tyre pressure can massively affect your car’s steering, handling, braking and mileage. Incorrect pressure increases fuel consumption too, leaving them exposed to wear and tear, and over time, may result in a blowout, causing you to lose control of the car itself. 

You can avoid damage and unplanned stoppages by checking your tyre pressure, including your spare, at least once a month. If you don’t keep to this routine, just be sure to check the pressure before long journeys or if your car is carrying particularly heavy loads. 

Many modern cars now feature dashboard lights highlighting issues with tyre pressure. If you notice the TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) icon on your dashboard, it could be a sign your tyre is over or under-inflated. 

If your car does not have such a feature, your tyres’ pressure can be checked at your local petrol station or using your own pressure gauge at home. For best results and the most accurate reading, check the tyres in cold weather. 

If you are unsure of the correct pressure for your tyres, Kwik-Fit has a simple search-by-number-plate tool. 

2. Check for damage

Your car’s tyres drive over their fair share of glass, stones and other roadside debris, so it’s important to give your tyres a once over for any signs of damage. If you notice any cuts, puncture marks or bulges, then be sure to get them checked by a professional as soon as possible and repaired if needed. In some cases, the tyre will need replacing outright. 

If any punctures occur while driving, then replace the tyre with a spare if possible before driving to the nearest garage; spare tyres are designed only for temporary use, so they should be swapped with a regular one as soon as you can. 

It is vital to remember to amend your driving if you are using a spare tyre. The majority of spares are now run-flat tyres which are considerably thinner than traditional tyres so should not be driven over 30mph.  

3. Stick to the legal tread depth

The proper tread depth ensures greater performance in poor weather conditions. If the depth is insufficient, then not only will they not be able to provide the necessary level of grip, but you’ll also be breaking the law. Anything below the legal minimum depth of 1.6mm can potentially result in a driving ban and a fine of £10,000. At the least, you’ll also fail your MOT test if they’re below the limit. 

To check your tyres comply, place a 20p coin into the tread grooves. If the outer band of the coin is obscured, then you’re operating with a safe tread depth.

4. Don’t overload your car

If you think your car can withstand the weight you’re adding to it by cramming it with excess baggage, then think again. Overly-stuffed vehicles have their handling compromised, wearing the tyres out due to the excessive heat created by carrying the weight. This could also lead to a blowout, putting you, your passengers and anyone else at danger as a result. 

Either the tyres or the inside of a door frame will have a label marked with the maximum weight your car can take. Be sure to stick to the recommended capacity when loading up your vehicle.  

5. Keep wheels aligned and balanced

Aligning your tyres ensures your car’s handling stays at its best and reduces wear and tear on its tyres. Similarly, balancing your wheels ensures they make contact evenly on the road’s surface, so no tyre becomes more worn than the others. 

If you feel a pulling sensation to the left or right, or feel increased steering wheel vibration, then you may need to align or balance your wheels. Take it to a garage to get things properly checked out if this is the case.  

6. Curb your mounting

When you’re pulling up to park on a busy street or swerve to avoid something on the road, mounting the kerb can be unavoidable. But repeatedly manoeuvring your car in this way can cause your tyre’s sidewall to become pinched between the kerb and the wheel, causing them to weaken and, once again, risk a blowout. 

Try to avoid doing it altogether, but if you have to, at least be careful in your approach. Climb the kerb slowly at an acute angle, and try not to scrape up the side of the pavement to avoid damaging your tyres and alloys. 

7. Rotate wheels when necessary

If you’ve purchased your tyres in pairs, then it’s a good idea to get in the habit of swapping around your current tyres with new ones and repeating this cycle to ensure a more even wear out of their tread lifespan. It’s been recommended you do this every six months or every 6,000 miles you’ve travelled – whichever one comes first – as a guideline. If you’re unsure doing this yourself, then it’s a good idea to take it to a garage so they can do it for you. 

This can also be a good opportunity to switch your summer and winter tyres. Especially if you live in an area which receives regular snowfall, fitting winter tyres could give you greater grip and on snowy and icy roads. Just be sure to note the summer tyres you’re removing, so they can be refitted in their rotated position come spring. 

8. Maintain good driving habits

Along with this all-important maintenance, simply getting used to practising good driving habits can help out massively too. Excessive braking or acceleration while driving, or constantly stopping and starting in traffic, for example, can be terrible for your tyres, causing them to wear out in a much quicker manner. 

It’s a good idea then, to drive as smoothly as possible. Avoid bumpy surfaces and hazards such as potholes, and make sure you slow down for speed bumps to prevent the wheels from becoming unbalanced. 

We hope these tried-and-tested hints help to keep your tyres in top-notch condition. With years of experience and the lowest prices guaranteed, our team are here to make your car search simpler. Visit the homepage to search our huge range of nearly new cars or call us on 01332 426 687.