Before you have your driving license or own a car, you often don’t think about the small maintenance tasks that every car user should know about and practice often. But the idea of simply jumping into your car and driving off, only occasionally checking your fuel level – perhaps when the warning light goes on – before filling up with petrol or diesel, is an erroneous one.
Drivers must have a short checklist of items to look out for, when they drive regularly, especially in jam-packed cities like London or nearby areas. Many of these are to do with your tyres, your vehicle’s point of contact with the road and an essential part of offering you and your passengers a smooth and comfortable ride. Let us take a look at how regular tyre care can help your tyres last longer.
Inflation is not always a welcome word, but when it comes to tyres, it is important to get it exactly right. Modern tyres are precision engineered to work best at the recommended pressure – and this is so important that tyre inflation has now become part of the annual MOT test that cars of three years of age and older must undertake.
You can find out the details of your tyres’ recommended inflation levels on the tyres themselves, on the internet, and in the car manufacturer’s handbook, before getting into the habit of checking your inflation levels at least once a month – many service stations have air stations, so you can top up your tyres at the same time as topping up your tank.
Another important item on the MOT checklist is the tread depth of your tyres. Legally, your tread depth must be a minimum of 1.6mm over the central three-quarters of the width of the tyre’s contact surface. This will pass an MOT test, although if the tyres are very close to that limit, the inspector will almost certainly put a note on the certificate stating that the tyres will need to be changed in the near future.
A better policy is to plan to change your tyres as soon as the tread depth gets to 3mm as this will give you a comfortable leeway of fully functioning tyres that will not raise any eyebrows at a roadblock, even as you source, order and await the delivery of a new set of tyres . You can also buy tyres from experts at DAT Tyres (check their website here) – so you enjoy the best of both worlds: maximum use of your purchase while retaining all the benefits of properly functioning tyres.
Just looking at your tyres is a good way to keep track of their state. Ignoring your tyres for weeks on end can mean that you don’t recognise issues when they start to become a problem, whereas if you know what your tyres should look like, you will quickly pick up on any distortions in the sidewall, bulges or dents that shouldn’t be there, odd noises (scraping, rumbling or squeaking) that are not the norm for your tyres, and, of course, you will quickly pick up any slow punctures as your tyres slowly begin to sag and change shape.
Monitor Their Age
Always know how old your tyres are: even the best looked after tyres that are hardly driven and are beautifully maintained will last ten years at the most. Five or six years is a more common life-span for tyres that experience a standard amount of wear and tear on reasonable roads at reasonable speeds – and any hard driving will whittle months and even years off that statistic.
When your tyres are getting to the end of their useful age, make plans for their replacements promptly, sure in the knowledge that you have looked after your tyres well and received good value for money in return.