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How to check your tyres

Man checking tyre pressure image

Even the most ignorant of car drivers knows that wheels and tyres are pretty important when it comes to your car’s performance. Yet so many people drive with dangerous tyres and don’t maintain their tyres correctly, that they become a moving hazard on the road – often leading to accidents involving themselves and other motorists.

Maintained correctly, tyres can do a lot for you – they’ll make your journey quicker, smoother, stop you faster and will even save you money. It’s understandable that many drivers are often put off by the time required and, depending on which manual they read, the jargon involved. But given correctly maintained tyres make your journey safer, it’s time well spent. Use the following as a checklist to make sure your tyres are performing as well as they should be.

Checking pressure

Checking tyre pressure isn’t a difficult job but it can save an awful lot of money. Just like on a bike, where if your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure then less energy is used, in a car you’ll use less petrol, and improve your economy as a result.

Find the correct tyre pressure in the manual, or on the inside of the driver’s door, and then you know what level you need to pump to. Buy a foot pump (from Halfords or other reliable stores) with a gauge on it, and you’ll soon have your tyres at the correct pressure. Do this when your tyres are ‘cold’ – i.e. the vehicle hasn’t been driven for two hours, to ensure the levels are accurate. If you are feeling less energetic you can even buy electric pumps that run off of the car battery.

Check for wear

Tyres, of course, wear down with time. It’s important to keep your car fitted with tyres with adequate wear – not only will they keep you safe by helping you to stop in good time, but they’ll save you money and, believe it or not, could even keep you out of trouble: a bald tyre is very dangerous, and the police can issue you with a warning.

Get into the habit of checking your tyres for wear. Bald spots on the tyre are a key sign that you should seriously consider replacing your tyres, but your tyres can also tell you a lot about your driving. For example, if the edges of your front tyres are worn but the rear aren’t, it’s a sign that you’re taking corners too fast and should consider altering your driving style. Likewise, if one side of your car shows more tyre wear than the other, you should arrange to have your wheels aligned.

Tyre wear is of course completely normal, but you can restrict it. Ensuring you have your wheels pumped up to the correct pressure, as above, will reduce tyre wear.

Useful tools

Apart from a tyre pump, which absolutely every driver should own, there are no tools which you absolutely must have for your tyres. A simple ruler or tape measure can come in very handy for measuring tread depth – which should never be as low as 3mm, most experts agree.

If you are worried about flat tyres you may choose to buy a product such as tyreweld, which will seal tyre holes for long enough for you to get the tyre repaired properly.

Ultimately driving can be great fun and, of course, a very useful way of getting from A to B. But you wouldn’t ride a bike with flat tyres, or bald tyres, so why drive a car in the same condition?

Car Care Tips  23/05/2013 09:35:51

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