How to Know When it’s Time to Change your Tyres?

If you have an MOT coming up, or if you’ve just purchased a second hand car, you may be wondering whether you need to replace your tyres. Tyres can be a costly expense if you have to change them all at once, however, they’re a potentially life saving purchase as poor tyres can be attributed to a number of reasons for crashing. This article outlines the signs that show it’s time to change your tyres. 

  1. The tread depth is below the regulation level – the regulation tread depth level in the UK is 1.6mm. This means that there must be at least 1.6mm of tread available, when measured from the most shallow ‘groove’ of the tyre.
  2. You add air to your tyres and they lose pressure very quickly – if you’ve recently added air to your tyres and have checked the pressure a few days later, only to find that the pressure has drastically reduced, this could be due to a puncture or tear in the tyre. No matter how much air you put in it, the tyre will continue to lose pressure, so it’s important that it’s changed as soon as possible
  3. Seasonal or weather conditions change – your tyres may be perfectly fine and have no damage or tread wear at all, however, a change in season can affect your tyre performance. Many motorists actually have two sets of tyres, one for the Winter and one for Summer months. The advantage of this is that you’ll get a better performance, but you’ll also extend the life of your tyres. You’ll just need to remember to store the unused tyres in a cool, dry place to avoid damaging them in storage. There is no law to say that the tyres need to be changed with the seasons, unless you live or drive in Continental Europe, so you can always just purchase all-season tyres which are suitable for usage all-year-round. 

3 ways to check if your tyres are ready to be replaced

  1. Tread wear – You can check the tread depth by carrying out the 20p test. Simply insert a 20p coin into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you’re unable to see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit.
  2. Uneven wear – You can check this manually by comparing the front two tyres. Is one more worn than the other? If so, you have uneven wear and it’s time to find the root cause before any more damage to the tyres is done. 
  3. Tyre pressure – You can check the tyre pressure at your local garage or petrol station. The recommended tyre pressure should be found either in your book or printed on the side of your driver side door. 

Remember, you could be fined up to £2500 per tyre and receive penalty points for each tyre that is below regulation standards, so it’s important to keep an eye on your tyre condition throughout the year. Not sure whether your tyres need changing? Pop into your local garage – they’ll be able to tell you whether your tyres are below regulation standards. Don’t wait until your next MOT! 

Which tyres do I need? 

You can find out the size of the tyre you need by checking out the numbers on the side of the tyre. For example, this tyre has the number 225/45 R17 91W FR, SSR, Run Flat. You can find out how to read tyre numbers here.

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