Checking tyre pressures and wear – the right way

It is so important to correct maintain and look after your tyres as they are a massive part of the safety of your vehicle. They not only contribute hugely to the safety of the vehicle but also to the fuel consumption and handling of the vehicle.

It is vital to check your tyre pressures and to also check for wear or damage to your tyres every couple of weeks at least and when going on a long journey. Checking tyres pressures can often be done at most petrol stations but these have sometimes been shown to be inaccurate and if you are unsure as to whether your tyre is inflated properly then you may not wish to drive on it. Ideally you should use a home tyre pressure gauge that can be picked up from many car parts shops such as Halfords for as little as £10. You simply unscrew the dust caps, push the tyre pressure gauge on to the value and look at the reading. You will need to know what the correct pressures should be for your car which is normal stated in the handbook or sometimes inside the driver’s door pillar.

When checking pressures it is also advisable to check for damage to the tyre, this may be noticeable cuts or tears, bulges or wear. If they tyre is damaged then you need to take it to a tyre repair shop to see if it needs repairing or replacing, if the tyre is showing signs of wear then you can do a simply check with tyre depth gauge to see how low the tyre is. Anything under 3mm is advised to be change although the legal limit is 1.6mm.




What to do if you have a flat tyre

If you have a flat tyre on your car then there are different things that you can do depending on where you are when you notice it, below is a guide to what to do in different scenarios.

If your car is parked up and you come to it and notice a flat tyre then the first thing to do is inspect the tyre for any obvious signs of damage or any foreign objects that could be lodged in the tyre, if you cannot see any then it may be that the tyre just needs more air as things such as changes in temperature or the car being stood still can cause the tyre to need inflating.

If you notice that you have a flat tyre whilst driving it is likely that you will notice that you are unable to accelerate as quickly as usual and you may feel the car pulling to one side. As soon as you notice this you must pull over to the side of the road carefully as soon as it is safe to do so. Driving on a tyre that has a puncture can be very dangerous so you must do this very carefully and ensure that the vehicle is in a safe position as far off the road as possible.

If you are on the motorway or dual carriageway then you must call your breakdown company as it would not be safe to attempt changing a tyre at the side of such a fast busy road and in doing this you could cause a very serious accident.

Buying tyres online or in store

When it comes to buying tyres everyone wants to get the best deal for the type of tyre they are buying. You can choose from a number of different makes and models of tyres within the budget range, mid range or premium ranges and each will come with its own rating for fuel economy, road noise and wet grip.

You can often buy tyres online or you can buy them in store and many people wonder which will get you the best deal. It is easier to compare prices online as you do not have to spend ages on the phone calling through to multiple garages but you may be offered a better deal in store. If you have found a tyre online that you like and seems a good price then before you order, call the garage and ask them if they can do you a better deal in store. This is especially important if you are buying multiple tyres at the same time as they may be able to offer you a larger discount.



Disposing of old tyres

Tyres cannot simply be chucked in the bin, they need to be disposed of properly. If the tyres still have a decent amount of tread on them then they may be sold as part worn tyres, but if not then they will need to be disposed of. Some car garages and tyre fitters will dispose of the tyres free of charge for you if you are buying new tyres from them, otherwise you may be expected to pay up to £20 per tyre to dispose of it properly.

Another few ideas of ways of disposing of tyres to try is to ask your local school, they often use tyres to create flower beds of play equipment and may happily take them off your hands. Also zoo’s will sometimes take old tyres to make play equipment for the animals or to create safety barriers. This may also be the case for go karting tracks where they use tyres to make safety walls around the track.


Winter Tyres Advice

In many part so Europe it is advised or in some countries, a legal requirement to have two sets of tyres for your car, winter tyres and summer tyres. Most people have two sets of wheels so they can swap the complete wheel over each season without having to bother swapping the tyres.

Winter tyres use a tread rubber compound with a high silica content, and a tread pattern that is specifically designed to retain flexibility in low temperatures making them ideal in the cold wintery ice and snow. They also give good breaking distance on snow and ice at temperatures below 7 degrees.

Winter tyres are not great for performance in the high temperatures and therefore you would need two sets, this can be costly and often it is hard to justify the additional cost unless you are going to be using the car quite a lot in bad weather.