Quick check: How to know when your tyres need changed

Quick check: How to know when your tyres need changed 5th August 2015

It's summer, which means you are likely to be doing more driving than you would do at any other time of year. The kids are off school, and whether you are heading off on holiday or staying home this year, keeping them entertained can mean getting in the car and heading off on some exciting days out. 

What this means, though, is that road safety is paramount. If you are driving more than normal, it is vital to make sure that your car is well prepared for the road and can keep you safe throughout the summer. One of the most important parts of this is making sure that your tyres are legal and adequate. 

Thankfully, you can ensure that you have the right tyres and that they are safe with just a few quick checks, and if need be, you can have new tyres fitted quickly to get you back on the road and enjoying the summer. 

Legal depth

By far the most common problem seen with any tyres, more than half of all those that are changed are found to have a trim depth of lower than 1.6 mm. When your tyres get below this legal level, it's important to have them changed straight away. 

To check your tyres meet legal requirements is easy. All you need to do is take a 20 pence coin and place it in the tread across the tyre. If at any point the tread depth is shallower than the coin's outer band, then it's time to head to an auto centre and have them changed. 

Cuts and bulges

Far more noticeable than the tread depth, cuts and bulges are reasonably easy to check; really it's all just down to making sure you remain vigilant and regularly look at your tyres for any changes. 

Get into a habit of looking at your tyres every few days to make sure there are no real noticeable changes in the way they look. If there are, for example, any bulges, splits or cuts in the side wall of the tyres, then it's time to get to a garage and have new tyres fitted. Also keep an eye out for any nails or other problems that can lead to punctures and blowouts. 

Slow punctures

Probably the hardest issue to detect, but still one of the most problematic, a slow puncture can mean your tyres being underinflated, which can make your car hard to handle or lead to an increase in fuel consumption.

The best way to make sure your tyres don't have a slow puncture is to simply check the air pressure in them every couple of weeks. First of all, inflate your tyres to the recommended level according to your vehicle's manual, and then ensure you check every now and then to see if there are any significant falls in pressure, as this can indicate that there is a problem and you need a new tyre. 

Posted by Danielle Barge