When it comes to cars we take a lot for granted. Modern cars are reliable, low-maintenance and easy to drive; we’ve come a long way in just a couple of decades in terms of technology and development. This is largely down to the fact that improvements to the individual components that make up a car have been rapid and beneficial. Take tyres: nobody, 30 years ago, would have considered having a separate set of winter tyres, yet it is becoming quite commonplace now as drivers see the benefits.
Tyres are one of the parts of the car that, thanks to their very nature and purpose, do the most work. They are also the part that wears quickest. This is not surprise, given that your tyres are the only contact between your car and the road, and that they bear the weight of the vehicle and the occupants. This is why you should look after your tyres, and the first thing to do is make sure you check them regularly.
Tyres and the Law
Besides their practical aspects, tyres are also a major safety factor in your car. Good tyres, correctly maintained and inflated, will help you not only grip the road better in all conditions, but will also ensure you stop more efficiently. The law in the UK states that a car tyre must have a continuous tread depth of at least 1.6mm, around the central three-quarters of the tyre.
Not only will you be in trouble with the law if you allow your tyres to wear beyond this, but you will not be driving a vehicle that is safe. This is why you should perform regular checks, or if you are unsure, have someone do it for you – it takes just a few minutes, and could be a very important choice.
It’s not just the wear that is important but also a few other factors. Your tyres should always be inflated to the correct pressure; this information will be printed on a notice inside the car – often in the footwell – or can be found in the manufacturer handbook. Check your pressures regularly – you can use the air points at filling stations or a DIY foot pump – as low pressures can mean a loss of economy and unsafe handling.
Also important is the size and type of tyre your car runs on. We’ll cover types in more detail in a moment, but where size is concerned, only ever fit those that are recommended by the manufacturer.
Types of Tyre
Most drivers of family cars will find they have ‘summer’ tyres fitted to their car. This is most likely the type of tyre the car will be supplied with when it leaves the showroom. These tyres are ideal for UK motoring as they can handle the sort of weather conditions that we are prone to – not too extreme in either direction – and hence are the perfect choice for your average family vehicle.
However, if you live in a region where the winter can be harsh – perhaps on higher ground where snowfall is frequent in the colder months – you might want to consider switching to a set of wheels fitted with winter tyres for the season. It’s worth checking out a range of winter tyres such as those at TyrePlus to find the ones that are suitable for your car and your driving needs. If you don’t want to switch tyres for the different seasons, and it may not be necessary, then you could choose to fit all-season tyres, which combine the benefits of both summer and winter tyres.
Tyres for SUV’s and More
If you drive an SUV you may also want to check out the range of tyres specifically designed for this type of vehicle. These give you a better ride and more able handling. You can also buy off-road tyres if you like to drive on rough terrain, and also all-terrain tyres if you like to venture off the beaten track occasionally.
It is a fact that the roads in the UK vary greatly in terms of condition and driving suitability, yet even those who live down a rough farm track can find tyres to suit their vehicle and give them the best driving experience.
We may take tyres for granted, but it really does pay to keep a close eye on these very important parts of your car. No matter how good your tyres are they will wear, and the more miles you travel and the more work you ask them to do, the quicker they will do so. Check your tyres now, and make sure you are both legal and correctly equipped for your regular driving conditions.