One of the most important elements of vehicle maintenance is keeping your tyres in check. That layer of rubber is the only thing keeping you and your passengers stuck to the road. They need looking after but having a good set makes all the difference not only to your overall driving experience but also to your bank account.
The 20p trick
The first and most simple bit of advice is to keep an eye on your tread depth. Slide a 20 pence piece in a central channel of tread on each of your tyres and make sure you can’t see any of the outer ring of the coin. This basic little trick will indicate whether or not you have 3mm of tread depth left on each of your tyres. If you can see a glimpse of the outer rim then it means your tyres will need changing pretty soon if not already. Remember, the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, but you should change your tyres well before you reach that level.
Work it out
The next bit of advice is to do the maths. It is estimated that your rolling resistance is said to account for roughly 15% of your overall fuel consumption. If the reason that you haven’t replaced your tyres is a financial one, think of how much it could be costing you in the long run by sticking with your worn out, inefficient tyres which aren’t even holding the correct amount of air.
Learn to treat them nicely
Another tip for maintaining your tyres is knowing what can ruin them, and then acting accordingly. Potholes, curbs, oil, heavy braking, sharp accelerations, and extreme weather conditions all damage the lifetime of your tyres. Once you can understand that these things will cost you in the long run, you can appreciate the money saved by behaving responsibly.
Don’t crack under… pressure
Know your tyre pressure and check it often. Underinflated tyres will cause significant wear and tear on your tyres while dragging your miles per gallon figure down too. Check the information in your door shut or owners manual and find the optimum tyre pressure for your specific vehicle. Check the pressure frequently, and before every long journey, just to make sure you’ve not got a slow puncture and your car isn’t burning unnecessary fuel by dragging under-inflated rubber around. A 20% under-inflated tyre will cover roughly 20% less ground in its lifetime.
Cheap ain’t cheerful
‘Cheap and cheerful’ doesn’t apply to tyres. It’s one or the other, and we suggest you target cheerful. If you’ve bought a car with even a slight ounce of sporting pedigree, you’re doing a huge disservice to it by putting on the cheapest rubber you can find or, even worse, part worn tyres. You’ve already paid thousands of pounds for your car, you want to get the most out of it, don’t you? Not all tyres are built equally, and a good set of rubber transforms every car. We’d always suggest looking at premium tyres from a reputable brand, like Michelin.
Prepare for the worst
Another helpful tip is to do a bit of role-playing. Imagine you’re driving down the motorway now on your old and neglected tyres, 40 miles from home, and you have a blowout. Once you’re on the hard shoulder, do you have the necessary safety equipment to secure you and your passengers? Then, do you have a spare wheel in the boot? If not, do you have a breakdown membership which includes recovery? If you do have a spare wheel, do you have your locking wheel nut, jack and socket tool to allow you to change the wheel? If this roleplay has given you a little bit of anxiety, then you can understand how important it is to have good, solid and reliable tyres on your car. By instilling a bit of the fear factor, you’re more likely to take preventative measures.
5 & 10 year rule
The final tip is to follow a 5 year and 10-year rule. This probably doesn't apply to many motorists but after having the same set of tyres on for 5 years, they need to be inspected annually (typically during your MOT) to make sure they are still roadworthy. Once they’re 10 years old, you really should replace them. Rubber will perish over time regardless of how much stress it is put through, meaning weaker tyre walls. This applies to your spare tyre too.
If you now think that maybe you should pay more attention to your tyres, then see what’s on offer from Michelin. Find the right type of tyre that matches your driving style and your vehicle. Give yourself the best chance of staying safe on the roads.
See above for Michelin tyre offers