Avoiding tyre trauma this Winter
Tyres are incredibly important. They are actually the only part of the car that comes into contact with the road surface and they play a vital role when it comes to both steering and braking. Yet, we tend to ignore them until there’s a problem.
So, given the cold and icy weather we thought it would be useful to take a closer look at some tyre etiquette and to help make sure you don’t get caught out by a tyre trauma this Winter.
Are you full of hot air?
Well not hot air, but do you have the right amount of air in your tyres? Keeping tyres inflated to the correct pressure can extend their life, help keep the vehicle safe and maximise fuel efficiency. You can find the recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle in the handbook or sometimes inside the fuel filler flap or on the edge of the driver's door.
Are you treading close to the line?
Most new tyres come with a tread of 8,9 or 10mm. The legal limit for driving is 1.6mm, although in Winter it’s recommend that you don’t drive with tread of less than 3mm. As we outlined in a previous blog, a quick home tread test is to stick a 20p piece in the tyre’s groove. If the outer band of the coin is obscured by the tyre, then they are OK. At a service you’ll be given the remaining tread on your tyres. So do keep an eye on that.
We don’t mean to be ageist but...
Tyres aren’t just all about the tread though. Plenty of tread doesn’t mean that they are safe. If tyres are old, then they could be prone to cracking. They are made of rubber after all and if their integrity is compromised, they could just be a sharp stone away from a blow-out. Generally, assuming they don’t wear out beforehand, tyres should probably be replaced after 7-10 years.
Where’s the spare?
Newer cars don’t necessarily have a spare wheel to get you out of trouble. This is generally to lighten the car’s load and therefore increase fuel economy. But it still comes as surprise to some drivers when they hit a problem! Manufacturers usually include a can of tyre sealant and an air pump to provide a temporary fix (although this wouldn’t help you with a blow out, for example). It is also worth bearing in mind that if there’s no spare tyre then there will also be no jack.
Other than physical signs of wear and tear such as cracking and insufficient tread, it could be an indicator of a tyre problem if you find it difficult to steer the car (usually the result of slow puncture) or if the car steers or is being pulled to one side (medium tyre deflation).
Not all tyres are equal
When it comes to replacing a tyre, you don’t necessarily have to pick the most expensive option. But you do get what you pay for. A premium tyre could run for approximately 20,000 miles where a budget option might only give you around 15,000. A quick word of warning if you lease your vehicle though. Do check the small print. You will often need to return the car with the same quality of tyre that it had when you took delivery of it.
Locking wheel nuts
Locking wheel nuts are used to make it more difficult for alloy wheels to be stolen, which is great. But, to remove them you need a wheel nut key. These are different from manufacturer to manufacturer and come with the car. But you’d be amazed at how many people lose them!
Our advice is to keep it in the car. Yes, we have universal keys but finding the right one for your car is not a speedy process and this could add to your garage costs.
Two tyre takeaways
At Just The Ticket, we have two tyre tips for you to take away:
1. If your vehicle has the tyre repair option then check that the tyre sealant is in date
2. Check the tread depth on your tyres
If your sealant is expired or your tyre tread is below 3mm then please do give us a call on 020 8336 1111. Or you can email us. We can replace your sealant and we stock most tyre options. If we don’t have what you need in stock then we can usually order in for the next working day.
Just the Ticket – not just MOTs and Services. We’re here for you entyre vehicle (sorry!)