Our Recommended Tyre Safety Checklist

Tyres should never be neglected. The safety of your vehicle depends on it. Your car’s brakes, along with the tyres, are two of the most crucial components of your vehicle. Ensuring you are driving a safe vehicle is important not only for your own safety but for other people on the road as well.

An article on the UK Government website states that 1 in 5 motorway breakdowns are caused due to worn or incorrectly inflated tyres.  A problem that can be easily prevented.

Having a tyre safety checklist is an important part of making sure you are driving a safe and legal vehicle.

Tyre safety and maintenance checklist

Regularly check your tyre safety and maintenance checklist for some of the common issues your tyres can have. Tyres take more abuse than almost any other part of your vehicle. They have direct contact with the road and the many potholes that may cause them to wear, lose pressure, or puncture. Your tyres can be easily inspected for wear and damage. How well you maintain your tyres will impact your safety, vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, and repair costs. 

As well as carrying out regular checks, monthly is recommended but this will depend on the number of miles you drive, it is wise to check your tyres and the spare tyre before a long journey. 

1. Tread Depth

Having a sufficient tread depth is vital to ensure that your car can grip the road properly. Your tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm. Without this minimum tread, your vehicle will be illegal to drive on UK and European roads. If you plan to drive in Europe you should check the current rules for that country as some countries have additional winter driving rules.   Should the Police find you driving with illegal tyres in the UK, you can be fined £2500 and given 3 penalty points per tyre.

How to check tread depth

20p Method

The most common method is to get a 20p and sit it in the tread. If the outer band on the 20p is obscured by the tyre, then your tyre exceeds the legal minimum.  If you can see any of the band you should go to your local garage to get a new tyre. This test should be carried out in multiple places around the circumference of the tyre as it is only legal if the full circumference has a minimum tread of 1.6mm.

Tyre Tread Indicator Method

Some makes of tyres now include a tyre tread wear indicator which means you don’t need to find a 20p! If the tyre is flush with the bars in the tyre groove then you should get your tyre replaced immediately.

Professional Check Method

If you aren’t confident about checking your vehicle’s tyres yourself, pop into your local repair garage or tyre garage. One of their qualified mechanics will check your tyres and advise you of any issues.

2. Tyre Air Pressure

All your tyres should have the correct air pressure. Underinflated or overinflated tyres can affect handling and grip making your car harder to steer, which can be dangerous while driving. It can also make your braking distance longer which increases the risk of having an accident. Underinflated tyres increase the risk of aquaplaning in wet weather. Proper pressure in your tyres will ensure you have a smooth ride, improve traction, better handling, and optimum fuel economy. 

How to check tyre air pressure

  1. Check the recommended PSI for your vehicle. This can be found in your vehicle handbook or it can usually be found printed inside the door of the fuel tank or in the sill of the driver’s door. 
  2. Remove the valve cap and insert the pressure gauge.  Check the reading and then act accordingly, eg inflate the tyre to the correct pressure.
Try to check your tyre pressure when your tyres are cold and not in the middle of a long journey.  Once you have been driving for a while, the pressure will change as the tyres heat up. You can check your tyre pressure at any filling station if you don’t have your own pressure gauge.
If you don’t maintain your tyres at the correct pressure, they are likely to wear out much faster.
Check car tyre wear
A set of new tyres in the Lawson AutoTech garage

3. Wear and Tear

Once you have checked the tyre treads and air pressure, you should inspect your tyres for other signs of wear and tear. It is important to check the sidewall for any cracks, cuts or bulges in the tyre. Remove any stones stuck in the tyre as they could damage your tyre and cause a slow puncture. If you find any problems, get the tyre replaced or repaired as soon as possible. At Lawson AutoTech, we can repair and replace tyres. We offer a full range of new tyres from budget to premium.