You may not realise it, but the tyres on your car are one of its most important safety features. They are in use every moment your car is moving, and play a vital role in protecting yourself and other road users from harm, even when faced with the most treacherous driving conditions. In addition to the role they play in helping you to keep control of your vehicle, they also have a significant impact on your vehicle’s fuel consumption. So when is the right time to change your tyres? Read on to learn more.
You have seasonal tyres
With the mild winters that are generally experienced in Ireland and the UK it is relatively uncommon for drivers to choose seasonal tyres for their vehicles, however, certain tyres are designed to be optimised for warmer or colder weather and if you currently have these fitted, it is advisable to have them changed to a more appropriate tyre for the season as they are manufactured to perform differently according to the conditions they are intended for.
Winter tyres have a higher natural rubber content which keeps them supple in the cold. The softer they are, the more the tyre is able to interlock with the road surface, improving grip and handling. Whilst this is desirable in winter, it also means that they will wear more quickly than standard tyres when operating under typical summer conditions. They are also not optimised for driving in rain.
Summer tyres, in contrast, are made from a relatively hard compound which softens in milder temperatures to be able to adapt to dry as well as wet roads. They have specially designed tread bars to minimise aquaplaning. These provide more grip both longitudinally and laterally in warm temperatures, ensuring lots of grip on both wet and dry roads.
You have low tread depth
The legal limit for tread depth on your car tyres is 1.6mm in a continuous band around the central three-quarters of the tyre. It is generally recommended to change your tyres when your tread gets to 2mm. The less tread you have, the less grip your tyre has, meaning your stopping distance is increased, as is the risk of aquaplaning.
There are a few methods to check your tread depth. Most tyres are now manufactured with treadwear indicators.which are raised sections within the grooves. If your tread has worn down to the level of these markers, it is time to get your tyres changed. Alternatively, you can use a tyre depth gauge, available cheaply online, to take an accurate reading. There are also methods using coins, however, these should only be used as a general indicator. Finally, you can visit your local tyre fitters who will be happy to advise.
You have visible tyre damage
Any visible sign of damage to your tyre should be taken seriously, as it could result in a sudden blowout with potentially catastrophic results. Signs to look out for include irregular bulges in the tyre walls, abrasions, cuts and cracks. This is particularly important if your tyres have been in contact with objects such as kerbs, potholes or rocks. Even if you are not aware of any such contact, you should check the appearance of your tyres regularly. Be sure to check both the tread and the sidewalls for damage and uneven wear.
If you are concerned about the condition of your tyres and not sure if they should be replaced, consult a trusted tyre dealer who will be able to give you a qualified opinion.
Your tyre keeps losing pressure
If you find that you have to regularly pump up one of your tyres to keep it at the correct pressure, then this is a sure sign that a replacement is probably needed. Common causes for pressure loss are a slow puncture or a damaged valve.
If you drive on an under-inflated tyre, too much tread is in contact with the road which can cause overheating, leading to blowouts. It can also affect your ability to steer properly, and can significantly reduce your fuel economy – meaning that your journeys are costing you more than they should.
Your tyres are more than 6 years old
Although there is no legal limit for the age of a car tyre, as a general rule it is advisable to use tyres that are no more than six years old. Over time, the rubber that your tyres are made of naturally deteriorates. This is caused by changes in temperature, as well as UV light which oxidises the rubber and causes it to dry out. This results in the formation of cracks, which can lead to tyre failure. This is even more likely to happen when tyres are not used for long periods of time.
To help determine the age of your tyres, each one has a date code that tells you when the tyre was manufactured. The four-digit tyre age code is usually located in a window on the tyre sidewall. The first two digits of the code represent the week of production during the year (from 1 to 52) while the second two digits represent the year of manufacture. For example 1413 would indicate week 14 (April) of 2013.
For a full range of tyres at the best possible prices, as well as expert advice and friendly customer service, visit Tyreland today. Call now on 01 860 20 20 to find your nearest location.