6 Signs It's Time To Change Your Tyres

Your tyres play a vital role in ensuring your safety on the road despite making up such a small part of your vehicle. However, they are also one of the most neglected aspects of vehicle maintenance that could land you with a hefty fine, or even losing your licence.

Your safety, your passenger's safety, and other road users' safety are all affected by your tyres. So as the only link between your vehicle and the road, ensuring you replace them at the right time is very important.

We'll detail some key things to look out for so you know when to change tyres.

1) Low or illegal Tread depth

The legal tread depth limit in the UK is 1.6mm so if your tyres are below this limit you need to change them immediately. If your tyre wear is getting close to this limit it will also be worth considering getting them changed soon as they won't last much longer.

Tread depth can be impacted by quite a few variables so visually inspecting your tyres every so often is a great way to stay on top of this issue and ensure your tyres are still suitable to be driving on.

As a quick visual check, most tyres will have tread wear indicators. These are the hard raised bars at the bottom of each tyre groove. If your tread depth is level with this you will need to replace your car tyres as they will be at the legal limit.

If you're found with illegal tyres on your car you face 3 points on your licence per tyre, meaning you could face losing your licence if they are all below the legal limit.

2) You notice uneven tyre wear

You will also need to look out for uneven tyre wear as this can also pose serious safety issues. Simply check the full circumference of the tyre and ensure that all sides are equal. If one side of the tyre is considerably more worn than the other you may need a wheel alignment and should replace the tyres in question as soon as you can.

3) There's a hole in the tread

As well as ensuring your tyres are within the legal limit you also need to keep an eye out for any holes in your tyre tread. If you spot a hole that is larger than around 6mm you should get that replaced. A hole in your tread can get worse over time, and seriously impact your grip, traction and control.

4) Your tyres are damaged (cracks, blisters or bulges)

Another benefit of regularly checking your tyres tread depth is that you can visually inspect your tyres for any damage. Your car tyres can be damaged through everyday common impacts such as hitting a curb, driving through a pothole or driving over a sharp object.

So if you feel a considerable impact on your tyres whilst driving it's worth checking them as soon as you safely can.

When inspecting your tyres you'll want to look out for any visible cracks. A crack in your car tyres can be a very serious issue as it's an early warning sign for a potential blow out. If this happens whilst your driving at high speeds it could lead to a very serious accident.

The same goes for bulges and blisters as it means something is seriously wrong internally. Bulges and blisters won't necessarily impact your cars handling or driving performance so you may think everything is fine. The good news is, cracks, bulges and blisters are normally easy to spot, you just need to be looking.

If you notice your tyres are damaged, get them inspected by a professional as soon as possible. The true extent of the damage can only be examined when the car is on a ramp. Our tyre experts will be able to advise whether the tyre is still suitable to drive, if it can be repaired, or if you need replacement tyres.

5) Your tyres are old

Yes, tyres can get old. If you normally buy brand new tyres this probably won't be the main reason you need to change your car tyres but if you're buying second hand, or used/worn tyres this could become more of an issue.

Tyre lifespan is quite hard to predict. How long your tyres will last depends on various factors but they age even when they are not used, or only used occasionally.

Factors such as temperature, maintenance, storage condition, and usage factors such as load, speed, pressure, driving habits, and driving style.

Once your tyres are 5 years old they should be inspected by a professional to ensure they are still safe and suitable for the roads, even if they still manage to have enough tread depth by then.

If you manage to keep your tyres for 10 years from the date they were manufactured, they will almost certainly need replacing. Again, they may still seem usable to the eye, but tyre replacement will be the safest course of action.

How to check the age of your tyres

To help identify the age of your tyres, tyre manufacturers imprint each tyre with a 4 digit coded date.
This code is usually found in a window on the sidewall of your tyre. The first two digits refer to the week of production (1-52) during the year. The year is referenced by the second two digits.

image showing age of tyre

6) You get a puncture

Although tyres today are very robust and durable, getting a puncture is a quick and sure-fire reason to replace the tyres on your car. In most cases a puncture will mean a new tyre, however, our tyre experts will be able to advise whether your tyre can be repaired.

Our technicians will ensure any puncture repair is carried out to the British Standard BS159. The British Standard sets the requirements for tyre punctures and tyre repairs and have strict rules which must be adhered to.

In addition to the above, you may have a slow puncture, or upon inspection of your tyres notice a nail or other sharp object stuck in your tyres. In this instance, you should seek expert advice as soon as possible. Ensure your car is safe to drive, the tyres are appropriately inflated and make your way to your local ATS Centre.

If you wish to see whether your tyre can be safely repaired just search for your local ATS Centre. We have over 260 across the UK so you can find car tyres and puncture repair services near you.

Related service: tyre puncture repair

Switching from summer to winter tyres?

In the UK you're pretty much guaranteed to face all weather conditions possible throughout the course of a year. However, some drivers like to switch between summer tyres and winter tyres.

From October onwards, when temperatures begin to drop and are likely to be consistently below 7c you may wish to change to winter tyres. Winter tyres are specifically designed to perform better in these colder conditions, providing better grip and handling throughout the colder and wetter months.

If you don't like the idea of switching between summer and winter tyres every year, all-season tyres could be a more suitable choice.

Tyre change checklist

So, if you're still wondering whether you need to change your tyres quickly ask yourself the following questions, and check your tyres if required.

  1. Are your tyres below the legal tread depth, or nearing the 1.6mm legal limit?
  2. Do you notice any uneven tyre wear?
  3. Are your tyres damaged? Can you spot any cracks, blisters or bulges?
  4. Are your tyres five years old, or older?


If you answered yes to any of the above questions it will be best to get your tyres replaced sooner rather than later.
At ATS Euromaster we stock a wide range of tyres, from leading tyre makers such as Michelin, Goodyear and Avon.

Our range ensures we have a tyre for every budget. You can buy your new tyres online and select an hourly fitting appointment near you at your local ATS Euromaster.