There are three primary reasons why maintaining correct car tyre pressure is important. Number one is road safety; tyres that are under-inflated can overheat and lead to premature failure. Tyres that are over-inflated can lead to rapid uneven tread wear and poor vehicle handling on the road.
The second reason is cost. Incorrectly inflated tyres suffer more from the knocks and bumps a car tyre is subjected to under daily use. A correctly inflated tyre copes better with the day-to-day impacts like kerbing, hitting a pot hole or other objects in the road. Also, incorrectly inflated tyres take more power to maintain the same vehicle speed as correctly inflated tyres do, which means you would save fuel on a journey when the car tyres have been correctly inflated to optimum pressures.
The third reason for maintaining correct car tyre pressure is longevity; checking and correcting your tyre pressures regularly will help you to get the maximum mileage from your car tyres. Correct car tyre pressure helps you to avoid the premature and uneven wear associated with incorrect car tyre pressure, increasing the tyre’s legal life and that’s not only good for you but has got to be good for the environment.
Check your car tyre pressures regularly. You can find the recommended car tyre pressure in your vehicle handbook. It’s also worth checking your fuel filler flap or inside the front right hand door-strip for the tyre pressure setting information. Also, carrying extra weight in your vehicle generally requires a higher car tyre pressure setting, so look out for the ‘loaded’ pressure settings if you are using your vehicle to carry extra weight.
Finally, remember to check your car tyre pressure settings when the tyres are cold, the same as the outside ambient temperature, and not after a long journey. Friction between the road and tyre increases the temperature of the tyre and the air inside, leading to ‘air expansion’ inside the tyre, which may result in a false pressure reading. Manufacturers recommend that you check all the Car Tyre Pressures every 2-4 weeks and that check should include the ‘spare’ tyre too.
Incorrect wheel alignment or tracking, as it is often referred to, can result in rapid uneven tyre wear and can affect the handling and safety of your vehicle.
The vehicle manufacturers set the wheel alignment at the factory in order to provide a smooth comfortable ride for your vehicle and to get the maximum life from the tyres fitted. These settings can sometimes be affected by excessively worn steering and suspension parts, driving against a kerb, hitting a pothole or other objects in the road.
So it is worth keeping an eye out for unusual wear on your tyres, such as premature wear on the inside or outside shoulder of your tyres, which may be due to an incorrect wheel alignment setting.
Wheel alignment is a relatively inexpensive part of keeping your tyres in tip top condition and maintaining optimum handling for your vehicle, so have your vehicle’s wheel alignment checked regularly by a specialist.
The valve is a small but very important part of a wheel and tyre assembly. It holds the pressure inside the wheel and tyre and is the access point for regulating your tyre pressures with a tyre pressure gauge.
During use, a valve may become damaged or worn, but will inevitably deteriorate through ageing and the forces it is subjected to during its lifetime. For safety reasons, manufacturers recommend new valves are fitted each time a tyre is fitted to a wheel.
It is also worth noting that a number of newer vehicle models have tyre pressure ‘sensor’ valves fitted. These transmit information back to the driver’s dashboard display when a variation from the manufacturer’s specified tyre pressure occurs. A specialist valve fitment is required when replacing this type of ‘sensor’ valve.
Keeping the valve ‘cap’ clean and clear of dirt will help to keep your valve in optimum working condition. Dirt can sometimes clog up the valve core mechanism which can lead to valve failure and rapid loss of air from your wheel and tyre assembly.
Valves are relatively inexpensive, but they play a vital role in keeping and controlling your tyre pressures. Always replace the valve when fitting a new tyre or having the tyre repaired, it’s the safest option.
If your wheels and tyres are not properly balanced the result could be uncomfortable driving and higher vehicle running costs. Your steering wheel may begin to ‘wobble’ at certain speeds and, as the vehicle's speed increases, so can the vibrations, causing your steering wheel to ‘wobble’ more violently.
An imbalance in the wheel and tyre assembly may also cause premature wear of suspension and steering components, rotating parts, including your tyres. So it is vitally important for cost effective smooth driving, that both the front and rear wheels and tyres are kept in balance.
Wheel balancing machines identify the point to fit a counter weight in order to smooth out the vibrations that occur when joining a wheel and tyre unit together. As a result of wheel balancing, you should notice a smoother ride and better wear from your tyres, saving you time and money.
Manufacturers do recommend that the wheel and tyre assembly is balanced before fitting to the vehicle. Always ask for wheel balancing when having a tyre repaired and keep your spare tyre balanced too, you never know if you’ll need it.
Many tyre manufacturers agree that it is no longer good practice to rotate your tyres in order to extend their legal life. The reasons for this are:
Always fit your 'best’ tyres to the rear. If you are replacing a single tyre then this should be paired with the rear with the tyre having the most tread depth. There are some circumstances when this advice does not apply, such as:
The spare tyre provides the means to get you on your way should one of your car tyres fail. You never know when or where a tyre may suffer a puncture and lose all its air pressure, so the spare tyre is as important as those in daily use.
It is therefore vital to familiarise yourself with the location of the tools you need to change a tyre, like the car jack and a wheel wrench to remove the bolts. It is also useful to carry a pair of gloves in your boot; changing a car tyre can be a dirty job and one that you may need to do under difficult circumstances.
Being prepared and having a good-fully-inflated spare tyre can help to get you out of a jam when you need to most.
Always include your spare tyre on a routine vehicle tyre pressure check. If your vehicle’s spare tyre is a 'space saver’ tyre, then always read the label for usage and directions.
It is worth noting that some tyres fitted may carry a directional or asymmetrical tread pattern design, these types of tyre tread patterns are designed to fit specific sides of the vehicle, called nearside or offside. If you are not sure if your spare tyre requires special fitting instruction or you would like some advice, please consult a specialist, at the earliest opportunity.
Tyre repairs are governed by British Standard BSAU159f:1990 which divides tyre repairs into two sections; major repair and minor repair. The British Standard also defines the limits to location, size and number of repairs that can be carried out and makes recommendations on the repair material to be used.
A tyre repair then, is not as straight forward as you first might think, it is important that a tyre must always be checked thoroughly by a specialist, before it is deemed repairable.
A tyre should not be repaired if it shows signs of ageing or deterioration of the rubber, cuts, cracks or run flat damage. Similarly, if the tyre has suffered bead damage, exposed cords or damange from a poor repair previously and if the tyre has 1.6mm of tread or less then the tyre must not be repaired.
If you are in any doubt that a tyre may or may not be repairable then do not repair it. For safety’s sake it is better to err on the side of caution.
Always seek qualified advice and a recommendation after the tyre has been inspected both externally and internally for damage, by a qualified person.
It is also worth noting that a ‘tyre repair’ is not always the most economical solution available. For example, if the tyre tread depth is low, the cost of the repair may be greater than the value of the remaining tread depth. Therefore you may wish to consider how long the tyre could last and how much mileage you expect to cover annually before you have the tyre repaired. Ask a specialist for a tyre quotation before having the tyre repaired as the most effective solution may simply be to replace the tyre.
During a MoT inspection, the nominated tester will check the tread on the tyre is at least 1.6mm deep across the central three quarters of the tread width going around the complete circumference of the tyre.
Next to be checked are the tyres fitted to each axle, that they are of the same size, type and structure and that there are no serious cuts or bulges on the tyres. Some tyre defects may cause a vehicle to fail the MoT test.
You may wish to take your car in to your local tyre specialist for a free tyre check before under going a MoT test.
Since July 2006 waste tyres cannot be land filled. Currently there are not sufficient end uses for used tyres or tyre-derived shredded rubber products to fully utilise the amount of waste tyres generated. With developments in technology this is expected to change in the next few years.
In the meantime, disposing of tyres in an environmentally friendly way continues to come at a cost.
This means that Tyre Plus make a small charge for each of the tyres that are replaced on your vehicle, which enables tyre collection and recycling.