Stay Safe on the Road: Key Signs Your Car Tyres Need Replacing
4 July 2023
Driving with older tyres that need replacing can put your safety at risk as well as the safety of those around you. It’s important to keep an eye on your car's tyres and make sure that you know the signs they may need to be replaced before the worst can happen. Read our blog post to find out more about car tyres and the key signs they need replacing.
Car Tyre Tread Wear
The treads on your tyres help your car grip the road. This is especially important if you are driving in adverse weather conditions like rain or snow. When the road is wet or slippery and you need to stop, the treads allow you to do that.
If your treads are worn down, that extra grip is gone and you can have a difficult time stopping.
Not only is worn tread a safety issue, but it is also a legal one. Once a tread is worn down too much, it is no longer legal to drive your car with those tyres. Each region is different, so check with your local transportation department to find out what the legal limit is.
All tyres come with something called a tread wear bar. This is a small horizontal bridge that are between your treads at a lower depth. When your tyres wear and these bars become flush with the tread, they need to be replaced immediately.
The treat depth of a new tyre really depends on the tyre type and who manufactures it. A treat pattern should be thick enough to ensure a long life for your tyres.
The minimum legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm. Your tyre tread depth must measure at least 1.6mm in 3 points across the centre and circumference of the tyre. Once your tyres reach this limit, you must change them immediately for safety but also so you aren't breaking the law.
If caught, you could receive a hefty fine of up to £2,500 and 3 points on your driving licence per illegal tyre.
Most tyre manufacturers recommend that tyres be changed once the treads wear down to 3mm remaining. If your tyres have worn down less than this, this starts to affect your tyre's reliability, especially in adverse weather conditions.
Tyre garages in the UK use a special tool to check the legal tyre limit of your tread - this is called a tyre gauge. If you don't have a tyre gauge, take your car to a local tyre garage near you for checking.
Car Tyre Irregularities
If your tyres are showing any signs of irregular wear, it is important for you to have them inspected. This could be a small bulge in the side of the tire or worn spots on just one side.
If your tyres are unevenly wearing down, it may mean your tyres are misaligned which can be easily fixed. If it isn’t fixed before more damage is done, or if there are bulges, it definitely means that your tyres need replacing.
Vibrations or Unusual Noises When Driving
Hearing unusual noises or vibrations while driving is an overlooked sign by drivers. If your car feels unsteady on the road or you can hear an odd noise, particularly at high speeds, it could mean an issue with your tyres.
Vibrations can usually be felt through the steering wheel or the driver's car seat. These vibrations can be caused by a variety of issues, but most commonly they are due to imbalanced wheels. Over time, tyres can become imbalanced which can cause your car to shake. This not only makes your drive uncomfortable but also poses dangerous safety risks. It could also mean that your car tyres are imbalanced, and you may need car tyre rebalancing.
Hearing unusual noises is another sign that your tyres need checking. If your tyres are making a loud humming noise, this could be a symptom of irregular or uneven tyre wear. This can be the result of misalignment, underinflation or overinflation, or a tyre that has simply worn out.
Remember, tyres are the only part of your car that touches the road, and any vibration or noise can drastically impact your car's handling and safety.
If you start noticing any of these signs, make sure to visit your local car garage. The issues may seem minor, but these could be the early signs of major tyre issues. Have your tyres checked by a professional at the earliest sign of trouble.
Car Tyre Age
Tyres need replacing every 6 years regardless of the wear. If you look at the 4 digit code on the wall of the tire, you will be able to tell what the age of your tyres are. The first two numbers represent the week it was made and the last two numbers are the year. Check what that date is and set a reminder for yourself.
Although tyres can last for up to 10 years, 6 years is the peak amount of time you should be driving on them. After that, a number of issues can start happening and it may become dangerous.
What Are the Dangers of Driving on Worn or Damaged Tyres?
When it comes to vehicle safety, your tyres play a pivotal role. Your tyre’s condition can significantly affect your vehicle's performance and your safety. Driving on worn or damaged tyres can lead to serious consequences. Some of the dangers include:
Decreased traction and handling
Longer braking distances
Increased risk of tyre blowouts
Reduced fuel efficiency
Potential fines or points on your UK driving licence
If you are unsure if you should replace your tyres or not, bring your car to the professionals for an inspection. They will be able to easily tell if you still have some time left in your tyres or if you are putting your safety at risk.
Need a second opinion on your tyres? Our experienced mechanics can diagnose and fix any tyre problems you may have. Contact Adderley Green Garage for more information.
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