Everything You Need To Know About Car Tyres
Be Prepared For Any Eventuality
Tyres are one of the most important features of your vehicle. Without them, your car wouldn’t be able to transport you from place to place. Tyres’ regular contact with the road means that they are subject to a lot of wear and tear and, if you’re not careful, they can quickly become unsafe. Here, we’ll go through the speed at which your tyres will tend to wear, and how to deal with a flat tyre if you’re ever caught off guard.
How Quickly Do Tyres Wear?
By law, your tyres should meet the Road Traffic Regulations of 2003. These regulations determine tyre condition and tread depth requirements that need to be followed in order to ensure you’re driving safely on the roads. If you’re using damaged or badly worn tyres, you risk two penalty points and a €85 fine. If you are convicted in court, the fine increases to €120 and you will receive 4 penalty points. A tyre that doesn’t meet the legal requirements could result in an NCT Failure.
But how do you know if your tyres have become unsafe and how often you should change them?
How Many Miles Do Tyres Last?
Generally, your front tyres should last for around 20,000 miles, and your rear tyres could last up to twice as long as this. However, it can be hard to provide an exact figure for how long your tyres should last. This is because there are many factors that could decrease the lifespan of your tyres. These include the kind of roads you drive on, the speed you drive at and your driving style.
If you regularly drive on fast roads, such as motorways and dual carriageways, this may have more of an impact on your tyres than if you’re driving on slower roads. Driving at fast speeds increases the temperature of your tyres, which can lead to them wearing down more quickly.
Driving style is another factor. Driving aggressively through fast acceleration and harsh braking can increase tyre wear. To prolong the life of these crucial vehicle components, you could try to accelerate and brake more slowly and take corners more gently.
A further factor could be the pressure of your tyres. If they’re regularly over- or under-inflated, the rubber may wear down much faster than if they’re at the correct pressure, as determined by the manufacturer.
Finally, tyres that are misaligned could lose more tread, particularly in one place, such as the edge of the tyre. Incorrect wheel alignment can be caused by large potholes or by hitting a curb at an awkward angle. Try to bypass large, noticeable potholes if it’s safe to do so and avoid bumping your tyres into kerbs where possible.
How Often Should You Change Your Car Tyres?
The tyres on your car should be changed around every 20,000 miles or earlier if you begin to see signs of wear that could make them unsafe to drive on. These signs could include excessive wear, cracking or bulging.
As explained above, excessive wear could be caused by misalignment of your car’s tyres. The legal minimum tread depth in Ireland is 1.6mm. However, you shouldn’t let your tread depth get below 3mm, particularly in winter. If you notice that your tyres are becoming worn in some places but not in others, they may not be in contact with the road correctly. Your vehicle can be taken to a specialist who will track the alignment.
Cracking occurs as the tyre dries out over time. This dryness could be caused by a number of things, including age, UV exposure, water, degradation and tyre pressure. Tyres are made from rubber, a natural material that will begin to biodegrade over time. Unfortunately, there are no products available that will completely prevent a tyre from degrading. UV exposure is one of the main causes of tyre cracking. As the tyre expands in the heat and compresses in the cold, the rubber begins to weaken. However, it’s almost impossible to constantly park your vehicle in the shade, so cracking is very difficult to avoid, even if your car is rarely driven. If you do begin to spot cracks in your tyres, it’s time to consider getting new ones.
Tyres that are more than 10 years old should be replaced, even if they’re not showing signs of wear. This is because they are likely to become structurally weak with age and this may result in a blowout.
If you notice a peculiar-shaped bulge in the rubber, it may be time for a replacement. Bulging can occur from a shock or a faulty tyre. It suggests a change in the structure of the tyre that could compromise its reliability.
When Should Tyre Pressure Be Checked?
You may be surprised to hear that tyre pressure can have a big impact on how well your tyres perform. Under or over-inflated tyres can result in weak handling, lower fuel efficiency and defective braking. This is why it’s so important to ensure that your tyres are at the correct pressure. You can usually find the manufacturer’s recommendations online or on the inside of the driver’s door. Some more recent vehicles are fitted with tyre pressure sensors that will alert you when you need to top up the air.
The average car needs around 30 to 33 pound per square inch (psi) of pressure in each tyre. This may vary depending on the size and model of your vehicle. On average, your vehicle will lose around one psi per month. This means that you should check your vehicle’s tyre pressure at least once every 30 days. While you’re there, you could also check the tread.
If you find that your tyres need to be filled up frequently, there may be a slow puncture. This can happen in older tyres. If this is the case, they may need to be replaced.
How To Deal With A Flat Tyre
Whether you’re unfortunate enough to experience a flat tyre while driving or if your morning is ruined by waking up to a puncture, the following tips below should help you.
Inspect The Tyre
The first thing you should do when inspecting your tyre is carefully run your hands along the front and back of the tyre to try and identify if any foreign objects such as nails or glass are lodged in it. If there are no noticeable objects, your tyre may just be low on air. However, if you do spot an object, it is worth noting that a spare tyre is always a better option than trying to patch the hole yourself.
Removing The Tyre
If you do spot an object in your tyre, you should attempt to remove your tyre rather than the object. If you are unaware of where the puncture is, it is always a better idea to remove the tyre before attempting to locate the puncture. When removing the tyre, you should plan it out so the vehicle is raised for the minimum amount of time. It is also important to make sure that the engine is off, the hazard lights are on and the handbrake is applied. If you have a car jack, lift the vehicle just clear of the ground, and remove the nuts and bolts while keeping the wheel in position. An important reminder is to remove the top nut/bolt last so that both hands are free to remove the wheel.
Replacing The Tyre
When you are replacing the tyre, you can simply do the opposite of the steps taken when removing the tyre. After securing the spare wheel, refit the top bolt and ensure the remaining bolts are secured. Carefully, lower the wheel until it has safely hit the ground, now you should ensure the bolts are tight and secure.
Hopefully, you will never have to put these tips into practice, but here at Chill we like to make sure our customers are covered no matter what. It's worth noting that should your policy have breakdown assist one simple call and a roadside rescue team will be out to change your tyre in no time. If you have any queries or would like to find out more about our various car insurance policies, you can give us a call on 01 4003400.