Tyres – when did you last check yours?
Tyres are a vital component of your car – but when was the last time you checked yours? Many people neglect their tyres, only noticing them if they get a puncture and it stops them from driving.
At Hilltop Garage Horndean, when carrying out MOT and car servicing we often find tyres in poor condition. Most car owners are sometimes completely unaware that their tyres are worn out or in some cases downright dangerous.
Below is an image of a tyre we found during a routine inspection. The tyre has suffered damage to the casing, possibly by being kerbed or damaged by a pothole in the road. A very large bulge has appeared in the sidewall and tread. This is one of the worst we have found and it could have blown out and caused a very serious accident.
Your tyres are a very important part of your car. They are the only contact point between your car and the road surface. On some cars that footprint is quite small considering the size and weight of your car. For most modern cars that can mean an area about the size of your hand on each tyre is all that contacts the road surface.
That small section of tyre is responsible for all the grip required during braking and steering. Without the grip that your tyres provide your car would slip and slide out of control. So it is very important to maintain and look after your tyres so that they can look after you.
If you hear, see or smell something unusual or feel strange vibrations then slow down and pull over safely to investigate the problem. Again don’t keep driving, you could cause more problems for yourself.
Checking your tyre pressures regularly is very important.
If the tyre is over inflated then the tyre changes shape and less tread is in contact with the road. There will be less grip and the steering may feel very light, the tyre tread also wears out faster.
Should the tyre be under inflated then again the tyre changes shape and this time there may be more tread in contact with the road, although this may seem beneficial it is not, the tyre is designed to run at the correct pressure, anything below that and the tyre effectively begins to collapse, lose it’s shape and the handling characteristics of your car changes. The steering becomes less responsive and may feel heavier.
And an under inflated tyre can overheat and cause a blow out. Just a few psi under inflation can increase tyre wear and fuel consumption.
Tyre Tread Depth
Another very important factor in tyre safety is the depth of the tread. The law states that your car tyre must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm all around the tyre in the central three quarters of the tread area. This is easy to check as tyre manufacturers mould in to the tread small wear bar indicators that are 1.6mm in depth.
If the rest of the tread is level with these wear bar indicators then your tyre is about to become illegal.
1.6mm is the legal minimum tread depth, most car manufacturers recommend that tyres should be renewed at 3mm. This is to help improve handling and braking in adverse weather conditions such as heavy rainfall. The deeper the remaining tread the more efficiently the tyre can clear away standing water. With a heavily worn tyre there is an increased risk of aquaplaning. Aquaplaning is a complete loss of steering and braking as your car tyres lose contact with the road and effectively float on the surface of the water.
Free Tyre Checks
Sometimes it is difficult with modern cars to see the tyre treads because they may be hidden away under the bodywork.
At Hilltop Garage Horndean we will always be happy to check the condition of your tyres for you.
If you would like a free tyre check please call one of our friendly staff on 02392 596038 or call in at Hilltop Garage Horndean, 299 London Road, Horndean,Waterlooville, Hants, PO8 0JE, or use our contact form.