Acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all rely on a very small contact patch between your tyres and the road surface so it’s important to ensure that they are safe and fit for purpose.
While there are many aspects which can affect tyre safety, the good news is that just a few simple checks can pay dividends.
The three most common areas that need to be considered are air pressure, condition and tread depth (or ACT), although if in doubt there is no substitute for having the tyres inspected by a qualified tyre professional.
Correct tyre pressures are vital for maximum safety, braking, grip and good tyre life.
Prolonged under-inflation causes rapid wear on the edges of the tyre, shortening their life. They will also suffer from excessive flexing and a build-up of heat which makes them much more likely to experience a dangerous blowout.
Over-inflation results in a reduced area of contact with the road, accelerated wear in the centre of the tread and makes the tyre more susceptible to impact damage. It also gives a more uncomfortable ride, another factor to consider for those racking up the miles in their line of work.
Nevertheless, there’s no excuse for tyres not to be at their correct level, as the recommended pressures can be easily found in the vehicle manufacturers handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or on a plate located on the drivers’ door sill. TyreSafe has also developed an online and iPhone app which details the correct pressures for your vehicle.
A tyre’s condition can be an important sign of serious and dangerous internal problems, so they should be visually inspected. Remove any objects which have become embedded in the tread. If you find any cuts, lumps or bulges, get a professional to check your tyres immediately.
The wear pattern on the tread should also be examined as irregular wear can be a sign of other vehicle issues such as misalignment.
The tread grooves help to remove water from the road surface allowing the tyre to grip properly and provide reduced stopping distances.
Car drivers who fail to make sure their tyres have enough tread not only risk their own life but also that of other road users who may be involved in any subsequent tyre related accident.
Tread depth should be checked regularly to ensure it meets the minimum legal standards. For cars this is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference.