Looking after your car's tyres is suprisingly easy. 2 minutes of your time once or twice a week can help you avoid serious problems, fines and dangerous driving conditions just by making a couple of simple tyre checks...
- The tyre is the only part of your car which touches the road
- Preventative checks can save you from an accident
- There's a reason the branded tyres cost more
Looking after tyres
Looking after your tyres is suprisingly easy. Running your hand over the tread-surface of each tyre once a week, along with a visual inspection of the sidewalls (the sides of the tyres) is a simple, 2 minute check which can help you avoid serious motoring problems.
Tyre tread is crucial in wet weather and here in the UK it seems as though roads are more often wet than they are dry. So ensuring you have a decent amount of tread (2mm deep on all parts of the central three-quaters of the tyre is the legal minimum) will ensure your tyres are capable of keeping you on the road in normal, wet and damp driving conditions.
Checking the Sidewalls
Checking the sidewalls you are looking for any bulges, cracks or broken sections which will weaken the tyre wall. The wall of the tyre is the part which takes all the weight of the vehicle so this part of the tyres needs to be in tip-top condition all the time. If you notice any of bulges or cracks/splits in the wall of a tyre seek to get the tyre replaced as soon as possible.
Often overlooked, the wrong tyre air pressure can have an affect on several other parts of the car including fuel consumption, the car's handling as well as other more serious items like uneven tyre wear and harder wearing of components like wheel bearings and suspension. Your vehicle manufacturers handbook will give the appropriate tyre pressure for your car (the best pressures vary from car to car). Head down to your nearest petrol station with some loose change and correct your tyre pressures with the air machine on the forecourt.
What tyres to buy
When you go to the tyre shop it's usually very tempting and far more cost effective you buy the cheapest tyre you're offered. Or as is popular amoung many; buying the mid range tyre or second cheapest option.
All of the tyres will have passed certain regulations to be available for sale from any reputable tyre fitter so don't go thinking cheap tyres are bad. However it may interest you to learn that more expensive, branded tyres are often considerably better in many ways, some of which you'd never even notice. For example, research suggests that branded tyres are more round than cheaper tyres, meaning you'll have a better ride experience with these rounder tyres.
Stopping distances can be improved by the more expensive design elements of branded tyres as well as fuel economy and grip in the wet. So you are actually usually getting what you pay for and it is worth noting that if you prefer to purchase cheaper tyres then be more careful in wet or hazardous conditions.
Avoid part worn tyres - Part-worns are a really cheap option to get your balding or damaged tyre replaced but there are points you should seriously consider before committing to this saving:
Part-worn tyres are tyres that have previously been fitted to and used by another vehicle. What vehicle were they fitted to? Why was the tyre removed from that vehicle? Has the part-worn ever had a puncture which may have led to a poor-quality repair? None of these questions can be answered which should make you wonder if it's really worth the saving.