30 Essential Tyre Care Tips for Every Driver

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Research shows poor tyre maintenance was the most common cause of British car accidents in 2016.

Believe it or not, 446 incidents were blamed on bad tyres, even beating faulty brakes by 81.

These shocking figures highlight just how crucial it is to keep your tyres in good condition. But how do you do that?

Check out these 30 essential tyre care tips to get off to the right start.

#1. Keep up the Pressure

Leaving your tyres under-inflated may cause them to fail, leaving your car harder to control and risking not only your own safety, but that of other drivers on the road.

Check your tyres’ air pressure on a regular basis, or have a professional do so. You’ll typically find the target levels on the tyre or in your car (on the door or in the glove box).

#2. Rotate as Required

Rotating your tyres will help them wear down evenly, so rotate them regularly. Your manual or tyre supplier should advise you on the best frequency for rotations, though once every 5,000 miles is generally considered correct.

#3. Know your Depths

In the UK, the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. If yours fail to comply with this, you could be breaking the law and should have them replaced as soon as possible.

Make sure you examine the tread wear indicators located in the bottom of the grooves: when your tyres’ are level with these, it’s time to replace them.

#4. Watch your Alignment

Bad alignment may cause your tyres to wear unevenly and faster than they should. Check your tyres’ alignment to keep them secure.

If your car starts pulling in one direction or you feel your tyres shaking, there might be a problem.

#5. Look for Damage

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple physical check. Get out of your car and examine your tyres for indicators of damage or extreme wear.

Look out for bulges or cuts. Even the slightest tear or puncture is worth having checked by a professional.

#6. Don’t put Replacements off

Having your tyres replaced can be costly, but don’t put it off to save a little bit of money. A repair may be cheaper, but depending on the extent of wear and tear, you might be best to just take the plunge instead.

Shop around for the best deals, and don’t drive on tyres you know could be a danger.

#7. Avoid Overloading your Car

Loading your car with excess weight may cause excessive wear to your tyres. They might even blow out if you push them too hard — just imagine the potential repercussions on a busy road.

The majority of tyres state the recommended load on them. Stay below that at all times.

#8. Watch for Balancing Issues

Have your wheels balanced whenever your tyres are repaired or replaced. This reduces the risk of them wearing faster than necessary.

Signs of your balance being off include vibrations, extra stress on front-end parts and uneven tread wear.

#9. Check your Tyre Valves

Tyre valves are usually made of rubber, so should be replaced along with your tyres. Valves in poor condition can break while you’re driving, letting air out and dirt particles in.

Keep your valves in good shape to help your tyres last as long as possible.

#10. Top-up your Spare Tyre

Your spare tyre’s there for a reason. If you need it in an emergency, the last thing you want is to find it needs inflating.

Check yours at least once a month and keep it ready to roll.

#11. Avoid the Kerb

Mounting the kerb is unavoidable at times, but try to steer clear whenever you can. Why?

Mounting a kerb weakens your tyres’ sidewalls and increases the danger of blow-outs.

#12. Take the 20p Test

Want to make sure your tyre treads are at a legal depth? Just slide a 20p coin in the grooves on your tyres, and if the coin’s outer band is hidden, the tread’s at the legal depth.

If not, get it checked by a professional.

#13. Get Ready for Winter

Switch your tyres for winter ones to prepare for wet, icy roads. While this might seem extreme, they offer much better grip and safety than standard tyres.

You’ll also avoid the stress winter conditions place on your normal tyres too.

#14. Remove Rogue Objects

If you notice any items embedded in your tyres when checking them, remove them. They could be pushed deeper into the rubber when in contact with the road, potentially causing punctures.

However, if a nail or other sharp item has actually penetrated your tyre, do NOT pull it out yourself. Take it to a professional.

#15. Keep Tyres Away from Heat Sources

Never store your tyres next to flames or other heat sources. While they don’t ignite easily, tyres can give off toxic smoke in large amounts and be extremely hard to put out when they do catch fire.

#16. Store Tyres in a Dry Area

Always store your tyres in a dry, well-ventilated area. Never leave them outside at the mercy of the elements, even if you lack space to keep them indoors.

Exposure to sunlight and rain can cause unexpected wear, reducing tyres’ lifespan.

#17. Use a Reliable Tyre Specialist

When your tyres are due to be repaired, only visit a specialist you trust or one with a good reputation. Avoid choosing the cheapest option, or you could be left with sub-par work.

A good one will examine your tyre thoroughly and make sure it meets all the required standards after repairs.

#18. Know when a Tyre has Served its Purpose

Been using your tyres for 10 years or more?

It’s time to get them changed. Even if they seem in decent shape, it’s best to invest in new ones instead.

#19. Drive Carefully

Your driving habits have a big impact on your tyres’ condition. Avoid braking too often on the road without good reason: constant stopping and starting will cause your tyres to wear faster.

#20. Slow for Speed Bumps

Make an effort to decrease your speed when approaching speed bumps — going over them too quickly can knock your wheels out of alignment and exacerbate wear on your tyres. This can be hard when you’re in a hurry, but try to make slowing a habit.

#21. Never Spin Tyres More than you Need to

Putting your foot down and spinning your tyres is a natural impulse when trapped in mud or snow. But your tyres may overheat and suffer severe damage.

Try a simple back and forth motion to rock your car free instead. It takes longer but is safer for your tyres in the long run.

#22. Watch out for Uneven Roads

Avoid uneven road surfaces: these can cause strong abrasion to your tyres and even tear them in extreme cases.

If regular routes take you across uneven roads, try to find alternative paths instead.

#23. Have Tyres with Over 5 Years’ Use Checked

Make sure you have a professional inspect tyres you’ve used for more than five years at least once per year. Their likelihood for problems will increase with such long-term usage, so take care.

#24. Wash your Tyres Regularly

Clean your tyres with soap and water on a regular basis. This removes dirt, dust and stones that may become lodged in the treads.

#25. Be Careful with Replacements

Always make sure your replacement tyres are right for your car, even if you allow a specialist to swap them. Only use ones approved for your vehicle.

#26. Take Care of your Shoulders

You can cause damage to your tyres’ shoulders if you drive too fast on gravel roads, especially those with stones and rocks. Take it slow at all times.

#27. Be Prepared for Long Drives

Heading out on a long drive? Always check your tyre pressure before you set out, especially if you plan to carry large loads (luggage, towing a trailer etc.).

You may need to add more pressure than normal to compensate for extra weight, but never add more than the recommended amount.

#28. Always Carry a Tyre Pressure Gauge

Invest in a tyre pressure gauge and keep it with you when driving. Make sure you choose one known for accuracy and reliability — this means you can keep updated on changes in your tyres without stopping at a petrol station.

#29. Keep Winter Tyres Equal

Don’t just swap one or two tyres for winter ones, or else the non-winter tyres could slip and cause you to lose control. Only use four of the same type, from the same manufacturer.

#30. Watch for Fluids on your Tyres

If you spot any oil or grease leaking from your wheel hubs, have them checked immediately — these can spread to your tyres and cause slippage.

Likewise, if your tyres are covered with oil or grease from other sources, clean them as soon as possible. Alcohol can be effective in removing sticky substances.

Conclusion

That’s it — 30 essential tyre care tips for every driver.

Never underestimate how dangerous a single mistake or oversight could be: your tyres’ condition has a direct impact on your safety (and that of your passengers and other drivers). Follow the advice above to keep your tyres in the best shape, maximize their lifespan and reduce your risk of tyre-related accidents.

Have any of your own tips? Please share them below!