Taking care of your tyres and making sure they are up to scratch will not only keep your car running smoothly, but will keep you safe on the road. This means carrying out regular checks on them and making sure they’re in good condition, especially before a journey.
Regular maintenance on your tyres could save you trouble further down the line. For example, driving on under or over-inflated tyres could lead to problems with your braking, tracking, fuel efficiency and suspension.
You can check the condition and roadworthiness of your tyres by checking that:
– tyres are the right type and size for your car
– all tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.5mm
– all tyres are inflated to their recommended pressures
How to check the condition of your tyres
First, are the tyres themselves in good nick?
Take a good look around each of the tyres and make sure that there aren’t any cuts, tears or bulges on any of them. Also check for stones and nails in the tyres, as well as any damage to the side wall.
How to check your tyre pressure
Its important check your tyres when they’re cool, as that’s when you’ll get the most accurate measurement. Ideally, you should check them before you start your journey.
You’ll need to use a pressure gauge to get a measurement. If you don’t have one at home, petrol stations will often have one that’s usually free to use.
The recommended tyre pressure is different for each car – there’s no one-size-fits-all figure. You’ll likely find your recommended tyre pressures inside the driver’s door or inside the petrol cap. If not, check your owner’s manual or look online.
There might also be different recommended pressures depending on the season and the car’s load.
Unscrew the valve cap on the tyre and attach the gauge firmly – you should then get a reading.
If the reading is lower than the recommended pressure, inflate your tyres to match. If it’s higher, then let some air out.
When you’re done, take off the gauge quickly so no air escapes and replace the cap. Repeat on the other tyres and you’re good to go.
How to check your tyre tread depth
Your tyre tread is what helps keep you steady on wet roads. The tread channels water into the grooves of the tyre, giving you more control on the road.
If the tread wears down, this becomes less effective, increasing your braking distance and increasing the risk of skidding and aquaplaning.
What’s the legal minimum tread depth?
The legal minimum tread depth in Australia is 1.5 millimetres. It means that none of the treads across the entire tyre may be shallower than this. If it is, your tyres are not roadworthy. More importantly, you are compromising on your safety of yourself and your passengers, and putting other road users in danger.
Some manufacturers recommend that you swap your tyres after the tread goes down to about 3mm, as that’s when its performance starts to drop and traction and handling can worsen.
How do you know when your tyres must be changed?
When you are checking your tyres for tread wear, remember that the minimum legal requirement is 1.5mm. If there is less tread than this anywhere on the tyre, you must change it immediately.
An indication that your tyres need attention are bald patches, uneven wear, or wear on the inner or outer edges of the tyre.
Another sign of excessive wear or dangerous damage includes sidewall damage, such as bubbling, chips and grazes. If you notice this type of damage, change your tyre immediately. Your risks of a blowout when travelling at speed are greatly increased when sidewall damage is present.
How do I measure my tread depth?
There are a few ways to check the tread depth:
– Check the tread bar indicators on the tyre
– Use a tread depth indicator
– Use a 10 cent coin. Place it in the tyre grooves. If the outer band of the coin is obscured, the tread depth is above the legal minimum.
When servicing your vehicle at GippsAuto, we carry out a 100-point safety check which includes looking at the condition and roadworthiness of your tyres, and also checking and adjusting the pressure in your tyres.
If you are in-between services or concerned about your tyres, come in to see us and we will check your tyres for you.