Sorry to mention this but Winter is just around the corner. This is the time of year when motorists need to be thinking about the condition of their cars after our varied Summer. Even today, a
lot of drivers seem unaware of the significance tyres have on car safety and the dramatic effects of unsafe tyres. October is designated as being ‘Tyre Safety Month’ so here are some timely tyre tips to help keep drivers safe on the road:
The Life Span Of A Tyre
Obviously road conditions vary a lot but, generally speaking, in the UK, a set of tyres should be fine for around 20,000 miles, give or take. This is a rough estimate because there are just too many variables. Inevitably, how tyres are used and the mileage undertaken will have a bearing on their safe life. Bad driving doesn’t help and road and weather conditions take their toll. Potholes remain a menace, as ever.
There is only a certain amount of rubber available and when tyre tread is worn, it is less effective. Remember the 1.6mm minimum law? There’s a reason for that, so anyone who is unsure about tyre safety limits should get in touch with their local car servicing garage and seek advice. Why not make tyre safety a part of routine car servicing?
So there are no set rules on the useful life of a tyre. Quality can make a difference; clearly a premium tyre will last longer than the budget version. It’s a fair point that motorists should expect expensive tyres to last longer but some budget brands can also do well. With modern manufacturing techniques, new, decent brands are coming to the market and there’s plenty of choice.
It’s the same old story really; maintain a vehicle properly and keeping it serviced will ensure that tyres last longer. Neglect will have an adverse effect on tyre wear, not to mention increasing the chances of a breakdown.
Winter Draws On
When Winter comes we dress in clothes suitable for that chilly season. So, just as we change our clothes, it is popular now to switch from Summer to Winter tyres as the seasons change. It seems like an extra expense but, of course, each set will last twice as long; provided that is that they are stored correctly. If owners go down this route they need to make sure storage is correct.
If funds permit, two sets of wheels, alloy or steel, could be deployed. If not, loose tyres off the rims, should be stored upright and be rotated regularly. Tyres on rims and inflated can be stacked. Incorrect storage could lead to the tyre drying out and cracking, the sort of thing owners need to be looking for routinely.
Check Those Tyres!
This is key to getting the most from expensive automotive rubber. Maintain the air pressure in tyres to recommended levels. If in doubt, you local professional garage can advise and will be happy to check them for you. There should be a sticker somewhere on the car, probably on the driver door shut. Soft tyres will wear more quickly. How a car is driven is also relevant. By ensuring a steady, smooth driving style, most tyres will last longer.
Inspect the tyres often and watch out for cracks in the rubber which weaken the side walls. This is a sign that the rubber is drying out, possibly through age and is a signal to renew. Check also for any bulges or uneven wear across the whole tread.
All new tyres are balanced when fitted new, but kerb strikes or a deep pothole can affect that balance. The result is a wobble that can be felt through the steering, especially at speed, resulting in uneven wear across the tyre tread surface. If that’s the case get them checked out and make sure the car is Winter ready.