Maintaining your tyre safety is imperative for your own wellbeing. If your tyres are damaged, you could be an accident just waiting to happen. On top of this, if your tyres aren’t legal, you could be facing a £2,500 fine and 3 penalty points, per tyre! To keep your tyres in tiptop shape, follow these safety checks.
The minimum legal tyre trend depth for cars in the UK is 1.6mm, however, some tyre experts believe tyres should be around 3mm for safety precautions. This is particularly important when it comes to difficult weather conditions. The difference in wet braking distance between a 3mm tread tyre and one at 1.6mm is 44%. Essentially, a tyre’s tread helps push water away from the tyre and road. The less tread depth, the less water than can be moved. This will increase your risk of aquaplaning. The 20p test is a simple and quick way of checking the tread of your car’s tyres. Take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band on the coin, your tyre safety is legal.
Keeping your tyre pressure safe will affect three different things: your safety, your wallet, and the environment. Tyres that are under inflated can often overheat and tyres that are over inflated will result in difficulty in handling your vehicle. Both of these may affect your safety on the road. If your tyres are over inflated, there will be uneven tread wear due to a decreased contact patch between tyre and road. This will make your tyre tread quicker than usual therefore you’ll have to replace them, which can be costly (especially if it could have been avoided). If you have under-inflated tyres, your car will have increase rolling resistance therefore more fuel is required to maintain the same speed, again affecting your wallet. Your tyre pressures also affect the environment. Correct tyre pressures help to maintain optimum fuel efficiency, which can equate to lower C02 emissions from your car. Each vehicle has differing optimum tyre pressure for front and rear. You can find out yours in your vehicle manual.
If you notice any external damage to your tyres, the best option is to have your car services as soon as possible. Any cuts or bumps could be caused by potholes or hitting the kerb and may result in sudden tyre failure. If you’ve had to do an emergency manoeuvre, such as an emergency brake, your tyre could be left with flat spot damage. Always check your tyres for visible damage after any of these types of manoeuvres or interactions as it will affect your tyre safety.