No matter what car you drive, tyres play a vital role in a car’s safety and performance. During a car’s lifetime the grip that the tyres have on the road surface will have saved you from being in a collision countless times.
The problem is that people don’t always remember to take care of their tyres – apart from when the car goes in for a service. The best solution is to make a tyre check a regular part of your car maintenance routine – just as you check the oil and water on a regular basis.
All cars also need their tyres at the right pressure in order to obtain the best fuel economy. This applies to fuel-efficient cars like hybrid cars like a Toyota Prius or a Honda CR-Z as much as to conventionally fueled cars. Driving with the right pressure in your tyres reduces rolling resistance that the engine or hybrid power train has to work against in order to move the car.
Tyre checking process
- Examine the tread on the tyres, having turned the steering fully to one side. Often the inner edge wears away first, so you need to check the whole surface area of each tyre, not just the outside.
- The tread minimum depth is 1.6 mm and there are tread wear indicators which are small blocks about 10mm long and 2 mm high, located within the central grooves on the tyre. If any of the treads are flush with the indicator blocks, then the tyre needs replacing.
- If your tyre treads are still ok, examine the tyre surface for signs of perishing and any cracks. Also look out for any objects stuck in the tyre that might be causing a slow puncture.
- Look at the sidewalls and make sure there are no abrasion marks. Using the flat of your hand, feel for any bulges, which are an indication of serious damage to the tyre structure.
- Also check around the valve for any signs of perishing or cracking, and make sure the valve caps are in place.
Obviously, you need to do these checks on all the tyres including the spare. Get in the discipline of doing this monthly from the very start of owning a car. Tyres can get damaged at any time, so it’s always worth doing.
How to check your tyres