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5 Signs You Need to Change Your Tyres

calendar Published on: Monday, 2nd October 2017 | female icon Author: Aminta Gagnon

Waiting until your tyres are bald to buy new ones would be like waiting until you have frostbite to buy a new coat. But how do you know when your tyres are due a change?

Firstly, itís important to know how often to check your tyres. Some experts say that tyres should be checked every single day but most experts agree that checking every two weeks is enough, with a month being the very limit that anyone should go without checking their wheels are still roadworthy.

Knowing how often to check is just the first step though, and unless you know what to look for, those monthly checks will be relatively pointless. So what are the signs that it is time to buy new tyres?

The 20p test

Finding out whether or not you have enough tread left on your tyres does not involve a lengthy or costly process. In fact, the most common test involves using nothing more than a twenty pence piece. Simply make sure your car is on level ground (with the handbrake on) and place the coin into the grooves of each tyre in turn. The outer rim of the coin is the important thing to focus on, and if any of it is visible above the top of any of the grooves, it may be time to change it. All parts of the tread should be tested on every single tyre.

You can also use a tyre tread depth gauge to assess the roadworthiness of your tyres. And often you will be able to tell an old, tired tyre just by looking at it. Cracks and obvious wear may appear on one side of the tyre if the alignment is out, so be sure to inspect the whole tyre visually as well.

20p test highlighting outer rim of coin

Foreign objects

You can also use a tyre tread depth gauge to assess the roadworthiness of your tyres. And often you will be able to tell an old, tired tyre just by looking at it. Cracks and obvious wear may appear on one side of the tyre if the alignment is out, so be sure to inspect the whole tyre visually as well.

Constantly under-inflated

Itís important to check the pressure of your tyres regularly to ensure your car remains safe to drive, handles as effectively as possible and that they are not being made to suffer unnecessary wear. If you find that one of your tyres is under-inflated every time you check on it, it may be a sign of a slow puncture. If you are concerned that this may be the case, changing the tyre sooner rather than later will help to improve the performance of your vehicle and keep you safe. Bulging on one side is another sign that may indicate a slow puncture, so itís important to make sure your tyres are even.

They are getting old

Tyres with plenty of tread left on them may also need changing. Those who travel from one end of the country to the other several times a week may go through more tyres in a short space of time and should know when a change is needed by the condition of the tread, but those who rarely use their vehicle may need to purchase new tyres long before the edges of that 20p are showing.

Over time, tyres are exposed to all sorts of external conditions that can cause them to degrade, from heat and UV rays to chemicals and road salts, and over long periods of time they are likely to begin to crack, which can eventually lead to a blowout. Even incorrectly storing a vehicle can cause damage to tyres over time, so never assume that low mileage will equate to healthy tyres. Instead, check them even when the vehicle has been standing for long periods of time to make sure that there are no cracks or bulges.

Most tyres will start to deteriorate after around five years, although it is worth noting that any obvious decay or decline could take longer or, conversely, happen far quicker. If you are not sure of the age of any of your tyres, you should be able to locate a four-digit code on the sidewall each that gives you the date of manufacture.

tyre age infographic

Bad vibrations 

If you start to notice that your car is vibrating, then it may be a sign that a service is overdue. It may also be that it is time to look at your tyres and your tracking. If the steering wheel vibrates when driving, it could signify a number of different issues from suspension problems to the tracking being off centre. In most cases, whether the steering wheel is vibrating or vibrations seem to be emanating from under the seats, it will be the latter issue that you will have to contend with, and you are likely to find that your tyres will have suffered quite significantly if your wheels are not properly aligned.

Vibrating alone does not necessarily mean your tyres need to be changed, but it could be an indicator that they have suffered excessive and irregular wear. As such, should you notice any sort of vibration, not only should you look to get the matter resolved as soon as possible by taking your car to an expert to be checked, but you should also be sure to pay close attention to the condition of your tyres.


Remember, using tyres with a depth less than the legal limit of 1.6mm means that youíre taking a significant risk every time you get behind the wheel. Not only could these simple steps prevent you from being fined and receiving penalty points on your licence, they could also help you to protect yourself and other road users from accidents and injuries.

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