The wheels on your car are perhaps one of the most important parts of the vehicle, especially where your road safety is concerned. So, conducting regular wheel and tyre checks is crucial to maintaining your car and ensuring everyone inside is in a safe and legal vehicle.
Why Is Tyre Safety So Important?
Your wheels, or tyres, are critical in several important car functions. This includes: the brakes, the suspension, the surface grip and the speed. Good tyres (correct pressure, correct alignment and correct tread-depth) will allow your car to perform properly, reach speeds safely, brake safely and can even help your car be more fuel efficient.
Tyre Checks In Newton Abbot
It is recommended you check your tyres at least once a month, but perhaps more during the good old British bad weather. It is also wise to check your tyres before going on any long journeys – as you will want your car to be in peak performance if you plan on driving for more than 2-3 hours in a row.
MOTs In Newton Abbot
During the MOT test, your wheels and tyres will be checked – but do not just rely on your MOT. Checking your tyres each month could help prevent accidents and could stop any nasty surprises such as a flat tyre. A visual inspection is good, but you should also try and get a feel for how your wheels feels when they are in good health, so that you can identify if something feels wrong.
If you are not confident checking your tyres, then trust a professional to do it. It is always better to be safe, then sorry, especially where car safety is involved.
There are several tyres checks you can do at home – and we will explain them here. These are small, quick checks you can be doing regularly to ensure your car is safe.
Checking Depth Of Tyre Tread
You will often be able to tell if your car’s tread-depth is too low just by looking, as the tracks and dents in the wheel will seem too shallow or maybe even ‘balding’. If your wheel looks smooth and flat – this is a sure sign they need replacing.
Tyre Fitters Newton Abbot
If you think your wheels might be getting old and near the legal tread-depth limit (but you are not completely sure) then you can do the 20p test. When you insert a 20p coin into the tracks of your tyres and if the ‘border’ of the 20p coin is still visible, then your car needs new tyres. You will want to test each tyre individually, as they can wear-out at different rates.
How To Check Tyre Pressures?
The next thing you will want to check is the pressure of your tyres. Tyre pressure can affect how your vehicle handles and maintaining the right wheel pressure is critical for braking and ensuring you have maximum grip or wheel torque on the road. You will need to do each tyre individually, because the pressure could be less in the back two, or the front two (for example). When checking what inflation pressure to aim for, there should be a guide in your car’s handbook (if you want to be precise) but the main thing to look for at home is a firm wheel. What you do not want are soft tyres that feel deflated.
If you can visit a petrol station – you will be able to check your official pressure using the self-service air pressure pumps available. This is highly recommended as it will give you a much more accurate reading.
How To Check For Punctures?
You will probably know if your tyre has a puncture because it can make handling the car very difficult. Some signs you have a puncture are often felt whilst driving:
If car is pulling in a certain direction
The car wheels feel wobbly
If car is having difficulty steering
If you are unsure though, you can conduct a visual puncture check yourself. To do this you will want to inspect the wheels for any rips or tears, or any items lodged or stuck in the ridges.
Are Illegal Tyres Dangerous?
Yes, there is a reason why cars have a minimum allowance for things like tread-depth. If your cars wheels are not safe, or do not pass their MOT, you will not be allowed to drive your car until they are replaced or fixed.
Last year, over 340,000 tyre tread depths were surveyed across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and it was discovered that more than a quarter of people were driving with illegal tyres. This is dangerous not only for you (the driver) but for people and cars around you too. It is totally your responsibility to ensure your car is safe, so carrying out regular checks is crucial.