People often forget how essential their tyres are to safe motoring. When you think about it, your tyres are the only contact between your car and the road, so it's really important to keep your tyres in good working order. At Thame Tyres we're experts in tyres and car servicing in Oxfordshire, so here are some tips on what to look for if you want to keep your tyres in good condition.
If your tyres are over or under inflated it can significantly affect your car's handling. Tyre pressures that are too low will make your steering heavier, cause uneven or quicker tyre wear, and also increase your fuel consumption.
Tyre pressures that are too high will make the car more unstable, especially on rough surfaces, and reduce your traction on the road. Check your pressures regularly using a digital or manual tyre pressure gauge and adjust them as required according to your owner's manual. You'll sometimes find your tyre pressures displayed on a sticker inside the fuel flap, or sometimes in the driver's door frame.
The minimum legal tyre tread depth for a car tyre is 1.6mm across 75% of the centralised tread, but its performance will decline significantly below 3mm, so it's worth thinking about replacing them when they get below this point. Tread depth is important for grip in the dry, and displacing water in the wet. If the tread is too low then the tyre won't cut through water properly. You can test your tread depth using a tread depth gauge, available cheaply from car spares stores. You can always bring in your vehicle and we can check your tyres for you.
When making your regular tyre checks, do a full visual inspection of each tyre. Check for any missing bits of rubber or damage to the tread or sidewalls, because these could increase the chance of a puncture. Look out for bulges in the tyre, these will make it weaker and risk a puncture or blowout. Look out for any evidence of uneven tyre wear. Excessive wear in the middle of the tyre could mean your tyre pressure is too high. Wear at the sides could indicate it is too low. And wear on the inner or outer edge could mean that your car needs its tyre balancing or wheel alignment checked.
Tyre valves are pretty much the only things that keep your tyre inflated, so they need to be looked after too. They will degrade or bend over time, so it's often worth getting them changed when you renew your tyres. Also make sure that you keep the valve caps on, because these act as a seal and keep dust and dirt out of the valve. If you look after the valves, your tyres will stay inflated for longer.
Most tyre brands come with ratings that indicate factors such as grip, wet performance, economy and noise. This will help you tailor your tyre choice to your own preference. If you hate road noise, pick a quieter tyre. It's useful to know that you can also buy winter tyres, which are specially made to perform better in colder conditions. You'll notice an improvement in grip in poor weather conditions.
Your standard of driving has a direct impact on your tyre life. Harsh cornering and heavy braking wear your tyres out quicker and can cause uneven wear. Heavy acceleration can also have an effect, so if you want your tyres to last, treat them carefully. Bear in mind that your driven wheels will wear the tyres quicker - a front wheel drive car will need its front tyres changing more often, and a rear wheel drive car will wear its rear tyres faster.
If you need any advice about tyre safety or you need them checking or replacing, feel free to visit Thame Tyres. We offer tyre replacement, balancing, wheel alignment and car servicing in Oxford, so we've got the tools and skills to help if you need us. Visit our website here for more information or you can book a free tyre health check now.