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Tyres: Maintenance Tips

It's surprising how little attention is made to tyre selection and care considering that tyres transmit the acceleration and braking forces, support the full weight of the car, absorb uneven road surfaces, and change the cars direction.
Here's some helpful tips....

 Tyre pressure 
To prolong the life of your tyres (and maybe even yours!) regularly check that the air pressure is correct.  Air pressure rises when the tyres are warm, so check the pressure when they're cold.  Under inflated tyres will shift the cars weight onto the sidewalls, which causes tyre overheating and may result in internal damage - and therefore the possibility of a blow-out.  Over inflated tyres will shift the cars weight onto the centre of the tread, which will cause uneven tyre wear.

 Tread depth 
As well as being dangerous, UK law requires that "The grooves of the tread pattern must be as least 1.6mm deep throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre".  The majority of modern tyres have wear indicators actually built into the tread - these can be located in between the tread blocks.  You will need to buy new tyres when the wear indicators become flush with the tread.

 Tyre rotation 
Uneven tyre wear can still occur even when everything has been setup correctly, especially if you always drive alone.  Swapping your wheels (and therefore your tyres) over at approximately 10,000 mile intervals can eventually even-out the uneven tyre wear.  However, only do this if your tyres are non-directional.

 Regular checks 
Regularly check your tyres (including your spare!) for damage, eg. abrasions, blisters, bubbles, cracks, & cuts.  Consult a tyre specialist if you discover a foreign object embedded in the tyre as this will eventually result in a puncture or blow-out.

 Repairs 
Although some punctures can be repaired by 'plugging', it is strongly suggested that you replace the tyre because you don't want 'situations' while travelling around a bend at speed.

Last updated: 23 Feb 2004 - 7:03pm GMT