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Do I Need New Tyres?

In the UK, Government data shows that more than one in ten cars will fail its annual MOT as a result of poorly maintained tyres.

That is quite a worrying fact considering that tyres are your only point of contact with the road surface!

If you’ve neglected to check your tyres recently, don’t worry – in this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to check to ensure your tyres are roadworthy.

What should the tread depth on my tyres be?

Tread depth is the simplest aspect to tyre safety, but also the one people seem to neglect the most. Tread depth refers to the “depth of the main grooves that cover the circumference of the tyre”.

When you purchase new tyres, the tread depth will probably be around 7mm to 8mm. The legal limit is 1.6mm, though we don’t recommend letting it get to this point. Modern tyres feature tread wear indicators (our recommended Mid Range General tyres actually spell out “replace tyre” in the tread when they require replacing) – these are raised bars in each groove. If you notice your tread is level with them, it’s time for new tyres.

However, tyres often wear down unevenly, so you shouldn’t rely solely on the tread bars to tell you whether your tyres are roadworthy. Uneven tyre wear can be caused by poor wheel alignment, as well as worn suspension – These issues can cause tyres to wear out more on one side of the tyre than the other and if you fail to check your tyres correctly you could miss the fact that the inside edge is below the legal limit (or worse) whilst the remainder of the visible tyre looks fine.

Running your tyres to the legal limit does decrease the safety of yourself and your passengers particularly in the wet as the sole purpose of the tyre tread is to disperse water. Tyres at 1.6mm of tread (the legal limit) will take a further 8 metres to stop in the wet (at 50mph) than a tyre on 3mm of tread. So just 1.4mm of tread will stop you the length of 2 cars quicker and that is just at 50mph.

In line with ROSPA (Royal Society for the prevention of accidents) and many other national agencies the Tyre & Auto Care Group recommend changing your tyres at 3mm of tread rather than letting them get close to 1.6mm.

What kind of damage can impact my tyres?
Tyres can become damaged as well as worn, and tyre wear can increase the risk of additional damage. Bulges, splits in the sidewall, and blisters can be difficult to spot but can result in dangerous driving conditions. Cracks especially can increase the tyre’s risk of a blowout, or sudden loss of pressure.

What are run-flat tyres?
Run-flat tyres feature supported sidewalls and are designed to work even after sustaining a puncture. They are self-supporting, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be checked for damage and tread wear. Run flats can’t be repaired like normal tyres, so if yours sustains significant damage, they’ll have to be replaced.

How long should my tyres last?
This age-old question does not have a stock answer, unfortunately. How long your tyres last depends on several factors, including your vehicle, driving style, the environment in which you typically drive, and any damage your tyres have sustained. Michelin states that the average tyre should last 25,000 miles, as a ballpark figure.

However, we recommend having all tyres inspected regulary regardless of age. And of course, if you notice uneven tread wear or damage, get your car to an Auto Care Group Centre for a free professional tyre check.

How important is tyre pressure?
The simple answer is “very”. Tyres that are over or under inflated can cause a multitude of issues; from increased tread wear to poor handling of the vehicle. Car manufacturers will print the correct pressure for your vehicle inside the fuel filler flap, Door pillar or inside the owner’s manual.

They’re usually measured in ‘PSI’ or ‘Bar’, which you can check using a pressure gauge. Make sure to use the same unit for every tyre. You should check your tyre pressure once a week using a pressure gauge. If you find your tyres are underinflated, you can use a pump to add a little air at a time until the pressure gauge is showing the correct figure. Try to avoid overinflating and then letting air out – this puts strain on the tyre.

Tyres from the Auto Care Group
If you need new tyres, or you’re not sure if you do, the Auto Care Group has garages in Stockton; Teesdale, and Darlington. Both offer free tyre checks and have a huge range of tyres available for purchase. You can check prices for New & Replacement Tyres on our website by answering 3 simple questions.