Provided they’re kept at good pressure, most tyres will last for years without needing any attention. However, it can often be hard to gauge the condition of a set of tyres, and how well they’re serving their purpose. We don’t mean to alarm you, if you’re driving around on damaged or inadequate tyres, you could be at risk of a pretty serious accident. Here are three signs that you need to replace your tyres, and how to deal with them.
The most urgent and obvious sign that your tyres need replacing is it getting a puncture. Tyres are always being developed, and modern sets can withstand some pretty serious damage. However, punctures can and do happen. It can be frightening when a puncture happens while you’re driving, but keeping a cool head is very important. Pull up in the nearest safe place as soon as possible, then put the handbrake and hazards on. If you know you can do it safely, change the wheel. If you can, check the pressure in the spare wheel before you fix it to the axel. If you know the current tyres all bought at the same time, then you should probably buy a new set. Various companies offer online tyre fitting to make the whole process easier.
The next time you use your car, check the wear of the rubber. There’s a legal limit on how much wear a tyre can take, and for a good reason! When the texture of a tyre has been worn down, there’ll be less traction, increasing the risk of swerving and accidents. Look at the grooves of your tyre for tread wear indicators. These are usually shaped like the logo of the tyre company. If the tread rubber is level with the wear indicators, then it’s on or close to the legal limit (1.6mm). This is the time to splash out on a new set! Aside from the legal risk, if the wear indicators are too low, the tyre may not have enough grip to keep you and your passengers safe.
The final thing to look for is miscellaneous damage. This usually appears as bumps and indents in the rubber which could harm the tyre’s performance. Whenever a tyre hits a solid object, like a curb or a pothole, there’ll be some kind of damage to the performance. If you notice any deformation, cut or perforation, then you need to have the tyre looked at immediately. A professional will be able to look at the damage and tell you whether it can be repaired or not. You might like to avoid going to mechanics, but in this situation it’s essential. You won’t be able to see any internal damage, which could be even more dangerous than a bump or scratch on the surface.
You may feel a little fussy and pedantic checking your tyres for all these things. However, having a reliable set on your car is an important safety feature. While a fresh set of tyres will probably last for years, being vigilant can save lives!