For such an important part of the car’s operation and the ability to drive safely, tyres are often severely overlooked. Worryingly few motorists understand how to properly care for their tyres. This leads to all too many drivers making the same series of tyre mistakes.
At best they might result in a fine. At worst, they could result in a fatal accident.
Driving with low tread depth
The legal limit for your tyre’s tread is 1.6 mm. However, that is the lowest you’re possibly allowed to drive before it becomes an offence. More realistically, when your tyres are anywhere between 2 and 3 mm in tread depth you need to think about having them replaced.
Checking the tread couldn’t be easier with the use of a specialist gauge that can be purchased anywhere online for a couple of pounds. You should check your tyre tread regularly at least once a month.
Driving with incorrect pressures
Tyres that are under or over inflated pose a considerable safety risk. They compromise the handling of the vehicle, and can even cause the vehicle to use more fuel than normal. More seriously, the risk of a blowout or other catastrophic tyre damage also rises.
Check your vehicle’s user manual for the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle, for example 30 psi. The information should also be listed on the vehicle itself. This is often on a sticker found in the glove compartment, inside the door frame, or under the bonnet. Tyre pressures should be checked every two weeks, ideally.
Using the incorrect seasonal tyres
Winter tyres can be an expensive purchase, and getting all four off the vehicle when the fine weather comes can be a hassle. That’s why an unusually large number of drivers persist in leaving on their winter rubber when the summer comes around, and vice versa.
This may seem innocuous, but winter and summer tyres are specifically designed and constructed for different road surfaces and operating temperatures. They can become unsafe and perform poorly if they’re used in the wrong weather.