Checking your tyres is just one of many manual checks you should carry out to ensure your car is legal and safe to drive. When to change them is dependent on the time of year, age and overall appearance of the tyres, but spending a few minutes to regularly check them is a task that will save you time and money.
We’ve considered all the key factors and checks needed to ensure your tyres are checked properly and regularly – however, if you are ever in doubt please get them checked by a mechanic.
There are three main elements you should always check when determining if you need new tyres.
Condition: You can easily perform a visual check to assess the condition of your tyres. Simply scan the exterior of each tyre and look for any potential or obvious problems. By doing this you ensure there is no apparent damage, including chips and cuts, nails lacerating the rubber or other other damage.
Pressure: Tyre pressure varies from tyre to tyre and can change for different weather conditions, or the weight of the passengers/luggage in the car. Refer to the recommended limits found in the owner manual and adapt when necessary.
Tread: By law, your tyres need to have at least 1.6mm tread across the middle 3/4s, all the way around. You can use the handy 20 pence piece trick to check. Simply pop a 20p in the lowest groove of the tread and if you can’t see the top ridge of the coin the tread is fine – this means the tread is at least 3mm. If you are able to see the ridge your tyres are not legal to drive and need to be replaced.
Road conditions change with the weather. While you can’t predict when it will rain or even snow, you are able to plan for the changing seasons. In winter, motorists often opt for a set of winter tyres due to their durable and robust components designed to handle icier and wetter roads. Their advanced design has been manufactured to aid motorists during the more tumultuous weather and can last up to twice as long.
For motorists interested in additional safety, a set of winter tyres are an investment worth having.
Many mechanics would advise you to check your tyres every few weeks to ensure that the pressure and overall condition of your tyres is still within the legal requirements. For motorists who have long commutes or spend most of their working week in the car you may want to check them more often.
On the other hand, drivers who use their car only on weekends should carry out a quick check every time you drive. This is because your tyre pressure is likely to dip if the car is sat dormant for long periods of time.
The ideal time to check your tyres is when they are cold – so your car shouldn’t have been driven for a few hours. However, if you need to check them when they are hot add roughly 4 to 5 psi (0.3 bar) to the number listed in the owners manual.
In the instances where you are replacing an unexpected burst or flat tyre, a full replacement of all tyres may not be necessary. However, a replacement tyre with 8mm of tread depth is likely to perform differently to the remaining tyres with 5mm of tread or less. In these circumstances, it is a usual recommendation to replace all of the tyres, while many would suggest it is imperative to at least change the tyres sitting on the axle.
Understanding the exact tyre pressure of your car will allow you to know fill up with ease the next time they run a little low. For newer cars, the recommended tyre pressure is often listed on a sticker inside the driver's door. If a sticker cannot be located, you can usually find the specifications in the owner's manual.
You can then check your tyres at petrol stations or with a home kit by setting your required pressure before connecting them to the tyre nozzle, which will replenish the air to the correct psi/bar.
If you have a worn or flat tyre, you’ll want a qualified and professional centre to carry out to the work. While there are lots available, these will all vary in price and quality. At Jardine Motors group, we stock a large range of tyres for many makes and models, all fitted by qualified technicians. We also offer a Tyre Price Match Guarantee where we'll match the price you get.
Since the failure to replace a worn tyre can result in a fine of up to £2,500 + 3 points on the Driver's Licence (for each illegal tyre) neglecting your tyres isn’t worth the risk.
If you are unsure about the condition of your tyres or would like to get them replaced, contact a Jardine Motors UK car dealership near you to book an appointment.