Time for new tyres?
New tyres may be needed if you find your car is taking longer to stop after braking or your vehicle is not handling as it should in wet conditions.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when these driving changes occur, especially as they can be subtle and worsen over time, which is why it pays to have your tyres checked regularly at your local Protyre garage. This can prevent you from putting your safety at risk and incurring penalty points on your licence and the possibility of a hefty fine. If you're unsure how long your tyres should last, read our article about it here.
Legal RequirementAs well as putting your safety at risk, worn tyres can also make you fall foul of the law. You must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm, and this must be in a continual band spanning the middle three-quarters of each tyre. To help you see if this is the case, many manufacturers will have mould tread bars which roughly measure 1.6mm.
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If you begin to see these moulded bars, it is a good indication that your car tyres are set to become both unsafe and illegal. For maximum safety, however, most manufacturers actually recommend that your tyres are changed a reasonably long time before this, at 3mm. This is because if you had 1.6mm tread on your tyres in wet weather, it would take an additional eight metres, or two car lengths, if you needed to stop while travelling at 50mph compared to when the tread is at 3mm.
TWI ExplainedMany tyre manufacturers will include what is known as a TWI, or a Tread Wear Indicator, within the grooves on a tyre tread. These become more and more visible as your tyre wears.
It is important to remember, however, that these TWIs are only treated as an indicator. Tread depth should be checked properly using an adequate tread depth gauge. They also need to be checked regularly for any signs of wear or bulges.
As well as the tread, it is also important to check the tyre valves, which are often overlooked and neglected. This is because these are a vital part in ensuring that a tyre is safe and operating to its maximum potential.
Problems with valves that need to be identified can include wear on the seal, grit and dirt in the valve and damaged screw threads. These issues have the potential to cause your tyres to fail, which can be extremely dangerous if you are travelling at speed.
A poorly sealed tyre valve can also lead to consistent under-inflation, which can ultimately reduce your tyre’s life by as much as a quarter.
The valves on the tyre can only be replaced by taking the tyre casing off the wheel, so it often pays to have the valves replaced each time you have a tyre replaced. This will ensure that your chosen car tyres continue to operate and perform as they should and do not put your safety, your licence or your bank balance at any unnecessary risk.