How To Look After Your Tyres

Looking after your tyres

If you look after your tyres properly, they will perform well for many years, right until the day you need to replace them. You can look after your tyres with some very simple tyre maintenance:

1.      checking tyre pressure

2.      checking tyre treads

3.      keeping your wheels aligned

4.      maintaining good driving habits

5.      not overloading your car

6.      rotating your tyres

7.      using seasonal tyres

In this guide we will touch on all of these points of tyre care in more detail. If you have noticed that your vehicle doesn’t handle or brake how it used to, you may need to take a bit of a closer look at your tyres and keep on top of your tyre care and maintenance. 

 

Tyre Pressure Maintenance

It is important to check your tyre pressures regularly. Your tyres will naturally lose pressure over time, so to prevent tyre damage due to underinflation you’ll need to keep an eye on pressure levels and top up with air when needed. Underinflation can also increase your fuel costs, lead to faster tyre wear on the outside edges, and put you at greater risk of an accident.

As well as underinflation, tyres can also suffer from over inflation. If your tyres are overinflated, the tread will wear faster in the centre of the tyre. Your tyres will also be at greater risk of failure.  Over inflation can also reduce grip caused by the reduction in tread touching the road, hence increased wear in the centre of the tread.

You can check your tyre pressure by using a pressure gauge which you can purchase yourself or use at a garage. Even though many vehicles have their own pressure monitoring systems it is still advisable to check these manually. 

What pressure should your tyres be?

You can find this information in your vehicle handbook or it should also be visible on the inside of the driver side door. In some cases, your tyre pressure may also be printed on the inside of your petrol tank flap. If you are carrying particularly heavy loads or driving with a car full of passengers, you should also adjust your tyre pressure appropriately.

If a tyre seems to lose air quickly and you find it needs re-inflating regularly, there may be a puncture or a problem with the rim or the valve. Visit your dealer or local garage to help if this is the case.

The key takeaway here is to get into the habit of checking your tyre pressure regularly. This way you can prevent any issues arising from incorrectly inflated tyres.

Checking Tyre Treads

Tyre tread is important for grip, traction and resistance to aquaplaning. Checking your tyre treads is therefore an essential part of general tyre care and maintenance. You should check your tyre tread at least once a month, as well as before and after long journeys.

By law your tyres need to be at least 1.6mm in depth. This is the most basic and important check you need to make on your tyre tread. If you are getting close to 1.6mm depth (for example, below 3mm), it is recommended that you change your tyres before they get to the legal limit.

You can check your tyre tread depth by looking for the tread wear bars on your tyres or by using a tread depth gauge. You can also use a 20p coin to check your tread. Watch the video to learn how. 

 



Other Tread Wear Checks

There are several other things you should be looking out for when checking your tyre tread:

  • Visible tread wear bars
  • Tread wear on the centre or outside of the tyre
  • Objects lodged within the tread
  • Saw-toothed pattern on tyre edges

For a more detailed breakdown of things to look out for and how they will impact your tyres.

Keeping Your Wheels Aligned

Misaligned wheels can result in uneven tread wear which will compromise tyre performance, increase fuel consumption and leave your tyres more prone to damage. Your wheel alignment can be thrown out if you clip a curb, catch a pothole in the road or even go over a speed bump too quickly. 

 

How Do You Know if You Need a Wheel Alignment Service?

Common signs that your wheels are misaligned include:

  • Your car is pulling to the left or right slightly as you drive
  • Steering wheel is off-centre as you drive straight
  • Steering wheel vibrates as you drive
  • Steering wheel doesn’t centralise after performing a turn
  • Loose handling
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Squealing noise from tyres

Equally, if you know that you haven’t had a wheel alignment service recently, it may be worth asking your local dealer or garage to check your wheels for you. 

Maintaining Good Driving Habits

As well as general tyre maintenance, it’s important that you don’t cause any unnecessary tyre wear or damage yourself by falling into bad habits when you drive. It’s not a case of removing your enjoyment from driving, but rather keeping your tyres in top condition so that they can perform at their best to enhance your enjoyment.

You will only exacerbate tyre wear by falling into bad habits such as heavy braking, over acceleration, constantly stopping and starting and dragging your brakes when travelling downhill. Here’s a basic list of good driving habits to follow:

  • Drive as smoothly and consistently as possible
  • Avoid accelerating quickly, especially in areas where you are only going to have to apply the brakes harshly
  • Avoid uneven road surfaces and pot holes where possible
  • Slow down greatly for speed bumps
  • Avoid stopping and starting too much – when stuck in traffic, allow more time and space to lessen the amount of stopping and starting




Not Overloading Your Car

Another bad habit that people often fall into is overloading their vehicles. Regularly overloading your car will damage your tyres, weaken the sidewall and make them more susceptible to failure. This is especially the case if you do not maintain correct tyre pressures as we have already noted. Carrying a lot of weight can also compromise your handling and cause your tyre tread to wear more quickly.

But how do you know how much weight you should be travelling with in your vehicle? You should be able to find this information on your tyre sidewall. The load index number on the sidewall corresponds to the maximum weight you should be traveling with in your car. 

Rotating Your Tyres

Rotating tyres is the process of changing the position of the tyres on your vehicle, often done by swapping front and rear car tyres. Your front tyres often wear out faster than your rear tyres and so by rotating them, this will help to extend the life of your tyres. 

Ideally, tyres should be rotated at intervals of 6000 miles for cars and around 4000 miles for 4x4 vehicles, unless the manufacturer states otherwise. The tyre rotational pattern will depend on the type of tyre used on your vehicle, any size differences between front and back, and whether you have a full size spare to also rotate. It is important to note that this is only recommended for vehicles where all tyres are the same size and are not directional.









Using Seasonal Tyres

One of the best ways to look after your tyres is to use appropriate tyres for the particular seasonal conditions. At the most basic level, this means using summer tyres in summer and switching to winter tyres in winter. You can either store the set of tyres you’re not using yourself or if you don’t have the space, your tyre dealer may offer a tyre hotel service.

Summer tyres are designed to be excellent through the summer in both dry and wet conditions. However, when the temperature drops below 7°c, summer tyres will stiffen and become more susceptible to damage and faster tread wear. And that’s when you will want to switch to winter tyres.

A common misconception is that winter tyres are only for snowy and icy conditions. However, that simply isn’t the case. Designed with a higher proportion of rubber, winter tyres remain elastic at 7°c or colder to maximise grip at low temperatures. This ensures you can have the best possible handling and traction through the colder months of the year.

In the same way that summer tyres suffer in temperatures below 7°c, the reverse is true for winter tyres. This means you shouldn’t use winter tyres all year round either and you should switch back to summer tyres when the temperatures increase in spring.

If you’d prefer not to change your tyres over every 6 months, you should go for all season tyres instead. All season tyres blend the best of both the summer and winter tyre into one package, meaning you can run it all year round.



Replacing Your Tyres

If you have followed all of the advice here, you will have prolonged the lifespan of your tyres for as long as possible. Even so, all tyres will wear out eventually and it’s important to choose the right replacements. You can browse Goodyear tyres using our tyre finder below. 



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