A vehicle’s tyres often need to be replaced before their anticipated life has been reached. With today’s road conditions rapid or uneven tread wear (or even physical damage) as a result of potholes and other road defects means we are having to check our tyres more often. Though tyre condition has been part of the safety and road worthiness test, the MOT has seen some big changes with the assessment of tyre tread and inflation being introduced.
Tread is designed to remove water from the contact patch between the tyre and the road surface, it enables traction, providing grip which enables the driver to brake, steer and accelerate, all the things that keeps the vehicle under control.
So what are the most common causes for tread wear?
- Under-inflation: this can cause rapid wear along the edges of the tread, it can affect handling and grip, leading to irregular/ unpredictable vehicle behaviour. An under-inflated tyre is more likely to suffer from sudden deflation.
- Over-inflation: this causes rapid wear along the centre of the tread, it will affect handling making the drive harsher, it can cause loss of traction and result in spinning out.
- Faulty brakes/ shock absorbers: this can cause flat spots around the tread of the tyre resulting in loss of traction.
- Wheel alignment (Tracking): this can cause wear along the inside or outside of the front tread. If a kerb or pothole has been hit, then the settings of the steering geometry may have become misaligned resulting further in uneven tread wear.
- Enthusiastic driving – heavy feet on the accelerator and brake will accelerate tyre wear; drive smoothly and anticipate the road ahead.
Get the right pressure!
The correct pressure will be determined by the manufacturer and will be different for each vehicle. The first step is to find out what pressure you should be running; you can usually find this in the following places:
- Your vehicle’s manual
- Printed on the inside ledge of the driver’s door
- Inside the petrol cap
It is recommended that you check your tyre pressure once a month. It is expected that you will lose about 2 PSI of air every month, BUT it is important to recognise if you have lost more than this. Regular checks will highlight an unusual loss and indicate there could be a problem such as a slow puncture for example and enable you to get it checked with us before it becomes a bigger issue or an MOT failure.
Keep the pressure on and save money!
By keeping your tyres at their optimum pressure, not only are you going to be safer and more in control but you will see a reduction in your running costs. Tyre manufactures invest heavily in tyre design and economy is a key consideration.
Under-inflated tyres require a bigger force to make them turn, so your car uses more fuel, also tyres which are not set to their correct pressure wear out more quickly. Severely underinflated tyres can ‘peel off’ the rim under cornering forces with catastrophic consequences.
Over inflated tyres will cause heavy and uneven wear across the central part of the tyre leading to shorter tyre lifespans and give a harsh ride.
AND remember….. If in doubt – get them checked out!
If you are unsure about your tyres, you should always seek professional advice, contact Standlake Vehicle Services and our friendly team we will be able to assess the condition of your tyres and advise you further.