When it comes to road safety we often think of how other drivers behave on the road, the weather conditions or the congestion on the roads, but in actual fact, if you don’t have the right tyres or if your tyres have seen better days, you yourself could be one of the biggest problems on the road.
Your tyres determine how quickly you will stop, they help your car to grip the road in poor weather conditions and they need to be in good condition in order to cope with uneven surfaces, potholes and other road surface issues. With all of this in mind, do you even know where to start when it comes to checking your tyres or even buying new ones?
Here are our top tips for choosing the right tyres:
How Do I Check My Tyres?
To check the condition of your tyres yourself first take a good look at how they are sitting on the road. Do any seem less inflated than others? Is there obvious wear and tear? Are any flat on the road? Is the tread at a sufficient level? To check this last point, simply insert a 20p coin into the lowest tread depth of your tyres. If you can’t see the outer rim around the edge of the coin, then your tyre is safe and has the minimum requirement of 3mm tread depth. If you can see the rim then your tyre tread is less than 3mm and needs to be checked by a professional.
How Often Should I Check My Tyres?
The RAC recommends that car owners check their tyres every 2 weeks for visible signs of wear, however, if you are driving more often for say business purposes and are covering many miles you may want to up this to a weekly check. I know my car doesn’t go very far as I just drive locally and I take things steady so I don’t check my tyres too often, but somebody like my husband who frequently visits Birmingham for work will wear his tyres down far quicker and is, of course, at more risk of a puncture. It may be worth also checking your tyres after your long journey to ensure they are safe for the trip home.
What Causes Wear?
Tyres are made from rubber and even though it is a very tough material, it deteriorates over time. Much like the soles of your shoes smooth and wear down, your tyres will do the same. How quickly they wear all depends on the above point I have mentioned– how much your car is in use. However, it also depends on the speed you are doing, the condition of the road and how long you may be sitting in traffic for. Roads such as those in London and Birmingham are notorious for being heavily congested which means there is a lot of stop-start motions on the tyres as well as more potholes which can cause significant damage. Fierce braking will add to this damage as will accelerating too hard.
The weather can also have an impact, with very hot or very cold spells having the most adverse effect on your tyre’s conditions. As will tyre pressure, how you drive and wheel alignment. Road treatments may also have an effect on tyres but, for those trying to drive in snowy and icy conditions, the more help from gritters and grit bins that they can get, the better – and safer – the roads will be for them all.
Buying The Right Tyres
You could spend hours researching the correct sizes, the tyre speed rating and trying to decipher the tyre’s labels or you could just save yourself a lot of time and effort and head straight to a garage to gain a professional opinion. To be honest, it can become so confusing with the number of tyres available on the market that I would rather speak to a tyre fitter face to face.
Not only will they explain the brands available, they will recommend the best tyres for your car, they will fit them correctly and safely and will also do your tracking to ensure they are aligned. Plus they will probably come with a guarantee to keep you returning to use their services.
Finding The Right Garage
Asking around locally for recommendations is a great way to find out which garages near to you are reputable. Otherwise, you can do your research online and check reviews. Most garages provide a review section as well as an FAQ, contact and booking forms. If you are in or near to Birmingham you can book your tyre check and change on Point S Website who have a variety of garage choices to select from.
You may think of your MOT when it comes to safety but in fact, good tyres, as highlighted in the car safety guide with 123.ie, could save yours and others’ lives. Your MOT is only carried out once a year, your tyres will need checking far more than this and leaving them is a serious risk. Roads are much busier these days and as I have said before, far more congested which can lead to road rage and snap decisions which can lead to accidents. Making sure you can stop in time, that your car can remain in control and your tyres can grip the road is essential. Don’t leave it to chance.
Choosing the right tyres is so important in many ways with safety being right there at the top.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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