It might seem odd to claim that regularly looking at your tyres can keep you safe while on the UK’s busy motorways and A-roads, but it is nothing more than the truth. No matter if your commute takes you to beautiful coastal Fife, historic Norwich or the thriving multicultural hub that is London, being aware of the condition of your tyres, thanks to regular checks, can literally save your life. Let’s take a look at how.
Why Tyre checks are important to ensure road safety
Your tyre’s tread depth must legally be over 1.6 mm over the middle three-quarters of the contact surface – although mechanics do recommend aiming for at least 3 mm of tread depth over the entire contact surface for greater safety. This is to allow the tread sufficient room to whisk water away from the space between the tyre and the road – without the grooves and sipes of the tread, your car will essentially skid on top of this thin layer of water, becoming uncontrollable and perhaps dangerously swinging into the path of other traffic.
This is known as hydroplaning or aquaplaning, and it is never a good thing: if you are somewhere near Fife and you think your tyres are a little more bald than you feel confident with, you can buy tyres in Kirkcaldy at competitive prices from Fife Autocentre (01592 644955). They stock an extensive range of premium manufacturer and quality budget tyres.
Correct tyre inflation is so important to modern tyres that it has been enshrined in the MOT test of roadworthiness since 2018. Old tyres in the early days of motoring were little more than air bags, which drivers could under- or over-inflate as they liked to best manage the road conditions. But today, not only are roads much better maintained (as a rule, exceptions may be found!) but tyres are precisely engineered to perform at their best, in all weather conditions and temperatures, when they are inflated to within the narrow range recommended by the manufacturer.
You Will Know What Good Tyres Look Like
Regularly checking your tyres, whether by simply eyeballing it once a week, or by being more thorough and using a torch to closely scrutinise your tyre sidewall and the visible parts of the contact surface, gives you a good idea of what your tyres look like when they are in good working order – and this knowledge will help you to instantly pick up when your tyres develop a problem.
These issues can take the form of under-inflation (giving your tyres a slightly ‘baggy’ look); dimples and/ or bulges on the sidewall indicating weaknesses forming inside the tyre; and dark spots, slashes or missing chunks of rubber, which can all show you that your tyres have become damaged since your last check-up.
You Won’t Break Down Suddenly
Spotting these problems early means that you can immediately contact your mechanic and have the tyre repaired if the problem is small, or replaced. While it is always hard to quantify the cost (mental, emotional or financial) of something that doesn’t happen, just a few moments thought about what might happen if you were to drive on a busy motorway with tyres that suddenly blew out or failed on you.
Even the least imaginative person will have a shiver at the thought of the worst-case scenario in these cases – so spare a moment to be grateful to yourself for thinking ahead and keeping a judicious eye on the state of your tyres.
You Will Be Aware of Tyre and Wheel Issues
Simply by including a regular inspection of your tyres in your weekly (or fortnightly) routine, will ensure that you are more aware of the issues that can plague tyres. You will most likely search the internet to find out what sorts of things can go wrong with tyres, and be alert to changes in the feel, look and sound of your tyres, simply because you are a little more mindful about your tyres: and this can be enough to ensure your safety on the road.