How to look after your car tyres

Looking after your tyres is an essential part of car maintenance. New sets of tyres don’t come cheap, so you’ll want to keep your tyres in good condition to ensure you stay safe and don’t pick up any points or penalties - our tips can help you do just that.

Get the right tyres

To make sure you are choosing the correct tyres, first check your handbook or the side of your current tyres to work out what size you need. Then, consider what quality of tyre you’ll buy, depending on your budget and driving needs. If you’re unsure, speak to a tyre fitting centre.

Check the tread

Car tyres are the only part of the car that makes contact with the road. If they don’t have sufficient tread, you’ll have poor handling, and that could lead to an accident. If your tread doesn’t meet the minimum standards, you could get fines and points on your license. With 3 points and fines of up to £2,500 per tyre, you could be looking at up to £10,000 of fines and 12 points if all 4 tyres are worn.

To check that your tyres meet the legal minimum 1.6mm tread (depth), you can do a simple check with a 20p. Tyresafe.org suggests that you follow these steps:

Simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit.

If the outer band of the coin is visible, then your tyres may be illegal and unsafe and should be checked immediately by a qualified tyre professional.

When taking the test, remember to check at least three locations around each tyre. As the test is so quick and easy, stay safe by checking your tyres at least once a month.

And remember, whilst 1.6mm is the legal minimum, motoring sites such as The RAC recommend that tyre tread remains above 3mm for optimum performance.

Check your balance and alignment

If you experience a wobbling feeling when your car picks up speed or feel as though it pulls to one side, it can be wise to have the balance and alignment checked. If your car shows signs of either of these, your tyres are at risk of wearing unevenly, decreasing their life span.

Keep them inflated

Underinflation reduces your ability to break, accelerate and corner safely, and increases the risk of a blowout, which can be dangerous and costly. Check tyre pressure regularly, and especially before any long journeys.

Find the correct tyre pressure for the load of your car in your handbook - if you’re unsure how to check the pressure of your tyres, have a quick look at this helpful video from the RAC.

Driving style

Try to avoid harsh breaking and acceleration or hard cornering as these will all decrease the mileage you get from your tyres – it’s much more economical to maintain a smooth driving style.

Following these tips will help you to prolong the life of your tyres, get optimum handling, and be more economical.