Tips & Advice

Tyre Maintenance

Ever wonder when to replace your worn car tyres? The performance of your car tyres is critical to the safety, performance and efficiency of your vehicle;  Most tyres are designed to provide similar performance throughout their lives. However, at some point they start to lose performance in terms of their traction and braking ability. Here are a few tips that should help you decide if it is time to start shopping for a new set of tyres and avoid spending more than you need to.

  1. Understand that the primary function of tread on a tyre is to divert water from beneath the tyre to improve traction and avoid hydroplaning on wet roads. Tyres become unsafe when they’re worn, and once the tread is down the tyre is no longer safe.
  2. Look at the tread pattern. All tyres sold in the United States and other countries have what are called “tread wear bars”. These are small bridges that form between your treads. Look at the tread pattern and you’ll see the beginnings of these bars start to form between the treads, or running across the tyres. As the tyres wear, these bars will become flush (level or even) with the tyre’s tread. At this point, it’s time to replace the tyres.
  3. Use a tread depth indicator or gauge. Either use the tread pattern test, or resort to using a special tread depth indicator or gauge tool to measure your tyre’s tread. If you don’t already own one, the gauge is cheap to purchase from an auto parts dealer and it’s easy to use.
    • A downloadable tread depth gauge is available at www.TireVan.com/facebook
    • Alternatively, it might be easier to pop in to your regular tyre place and ask them to check it for you; likely they’ll do this for free if you’re regular customer.
  4. Know the legal requirements. Worn tires should be replaced as a matter of common sense to assure safety, but there are also legal requirements to replace worn tyres.
  5. Make note of any irregular tread wear. This could indicate a wheel misalignment, the need for a tyre rotation, or both. Uneven tread wear is a sign that you need to take your car in for servicing.
    • If uneven tyre wear is extreme or if tyres wear out much faster than expected, have a competent tyre workshop check your suspension and correct as necessary before replacing tyres. Improper alignment or worn suspension parts can dramatically shorten a tyre’s life.
    • It is a good idea to rotate your tyres from front to rear in pairs. Take both front tyres and move them to the rear and vice versa.
  6. Replace the tyres at least every 6 years. If you’re not sure, the minimum replacement time that is recommended is six years regardless of use, with 10 years being the maximum service life for tyres. Check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations related to your car. And always err on the side of caution if you suspect your vehicle has tyres that are over six years of age.

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