Safety and Maintenance

Safety and Maintenance

It’s easy to take your tyres for granted. Out of sight for much of the time, they can also slip out of mind. But tyres are crucial to your driving safety - they’re the sole point of contact between your car and the road surface - so it doesn’t pay to take chances with them.

Just like your car’s oil and water, you should check your tyres on a regular basis, at least once a fortnight. And not just to see if they’ve worn through to the canvas yet! You need to check if the pressures are right, that there are no obvious signs of damage to the sidewalls or tread, and that the valves and valve caps are in good condition.

We’ve compiled this brief but vital guide to looking after the health of your tyres. There may seem to be a lot to check over, but in reality it shouldn’t take you no more than a few minutes. And what’s a few minutes when your life, and that of your family, could be at stake.

 

Tyre Pressures...

A tyre doesn’t have to look flat to be under-inflated, so check its pressure at least once every couple of weeks. If you can afford it, buy a digital pressure gauge from your local car accessories store. You’ll find what pressures your car needs in its handbook - if in doubt, ask your local Toyo stockist for help. Pressures will vary depending on how fast you drive and what sort of load you carry in your car, for instance, when you set off on holiday. And remember that pressures should only be checked when your tyres are cold - give them an hour or so to cool down.

...and Why They Need to be Right

Driving with under-inflated or over-inflated tyres will affect the way your car rides, steers, handles and brakes; it could become very unstable and difficult to drive. Tyre wear will also increase. So not only are the wrong pressures potentially dangerous, they’ll hurt your pocket, too.

Tread Depth

The deeper the tread your tyres have, the more grip they’ll give, especially in the wet. So although the government’s minimum legal tread depth limit is 1.5mm (across at least three-quarters of the tread width and around the whole circumference of the tyre), it makes sense to replace your tyres before they get that low.

If you’re uncertain how to measure the tread depth, have a word with your friendly local Toyo stockist. Another way to check how your tyres are wearing is to look for the Tread Wear Indicators. These are the lateral raised rubber strips in the bottom of the tread grooves - when the main tread is at the same level as these, then you’ve reached the legal minimum.
Not only is it foolish to ignore the minimum tyre tread depth, it’s illegal. Don’t gamble with your life or your savings.

Uneven Tyre Wear and Its Causes

Look at the tread on your tyre. Is it evenly worn right across its width? If not, it could be due to under-inflation or over-inflation, which we’ve already covered. However, if it’s worn only around one edge, particularly on the front tyres, it may be because of poor wheel alignment or other mechanical problems.

Have a professional garage check out your car’s wheel alignment and suspension; if there’s a problem with either of these you should have them fixed immediately.

Wheel Balancing

An unbalanced wheel can literally shake your car to bits and cause serious mechanical damage, not to mention being extremely annoying. Reputable tyre dealers will balance your wheels as a matter of course when they replace your tyres, but it never hurts to ask if they’ve done it. Also make sure they replace the tyre valves and refit the protective dust caps.

And Don’t Forget Your Spare!

You may never use it, but always ensure your spare is properly inflated and in good condition. A problem with your spare is better discovered in the safety and comfort of your driveway, rather than by the side of a rain-lashed motorway.

 


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