10 Essential Tyre Maintenance Tips

When most people think about car maintenance, they can often neglect tyres. We don’t usually interact with them on a daily basis, and as such they can slip to the back of the mind.

That being said, they should be right at the front! Faulty tyres may need replacing, and can cause a whole host of problems including more petrol usage and reduced handling.

So, without further ado, here are your ten essential car tyre maintenance tips, for people of any skill level. Stay vigilant!

  1. Maintain your air valves

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Air valves and air valve components tend to be made of rubber. Since rubber isn’t the strongest of materials, it tends to deteriorate over time. Replacing them regularly, or when you buy new tyres, helps to stop air from escaping.

  1. Remove the tyre from the wheel when checking

Whenever conducting any maintenance or repair on a tyre, it’s important to remove it from the wheel. Any kind of internal damage the tyre may have received will not be visible when the tyre is attached to the car. Don’t just fix what you can see!

  1. Sometimes, it’s ok to admit defeat

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Of course, sometimes you’ll just need new ones, plain and simple. If you don’t have a car that is cheap to run, you can find that maintenance costs and petrol costs stack up. The worse your tyres are, the harder your car will have to work so you’ll use more petrol.

In terms of replacement, you have a number of options. You can fit that spare tyre you have, but this should only be a temporary measure until you can get it done professionally. Whether go to a garage or order online and use a mobile tyre fitting service, make sure the tyres are secured tightly.

  1. Wheel alignment

Improper alignment can affect the handling and control of your car. If your tyre bumps into a curb, pothole or wall, it could knock the wheels out of alignment. This is hard to check yourself, so if you aren’t sure, consult a tyre specialist. This will also be checked when you take your car for its MOT.

  1. Beware the five and ten-year marks

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Generally speaking, tyres cat last ten years. This varies from person to person though. This is also assuming that that ten years goes perfectly, you drive perfectly, and your wheels are treated well. Realistically, you’ll be looking at five years for a frequent car user. If you use the car very regularly, your tyres will wear down a lot quicker, so it makes sense to have them replaced every five – ten years. Only you can tell when they’re ready to be changed. If you’re approaching that ten-year mark, start making plans.

  1. Tyre pressure

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Your tyres should be pumped up before and after a long journey. This is especially important if you’re on a scenic drive, as off-road surfaces can cause significant damage to tyre pressure.

  1. Rotate your tyres regularly

Regular tyre rotation can help prevent uneven tyre wear. The more even the wear is, the more stable your car will feel when driving, and you’ll stop one particular area receiving more damage. By ‘rotation’ I simply mean that you should change the positions of your four tyres.

It’s recommended that you rotate your tyres once every six months, of 6,000 miles – whichever comes first. If you have a front wheel drive or a rear wheel drive, there are different ways to rotate the tyres for each – so do some reading up.

For a front wheel drive, the front wheels will stay on the same side of the car and be transferred to the rear positions. The rear wheels will switch their sides, and be transferred to the front. For example:

  • Front left wheel: move to back left position
  • Front right wheel: move to back right position
  • Rear left wheel: move to front right position
  • Rear right wheel: move to front left position

For a rear wheel drive, the exact opposite is true. The rear wheels will stay in the same place and move to the front, the front wheels will switch sides and move back:

  • Front left wheel: move to rear right position
  • Front right wheel: move to rear left position
  • Rear left wheel: move to front left position
  • Rear right wheel: move to front right position

And lastly, on a four wheel drive, both sets of tyres will swap sides and position, like so:

  • Front left wheel: move to rear right position
  • Front right wheel: move to rear left position
  • Rear left wheel: move to front right position
  • Rear right wheel: move to front left position

Identify which kind of rotation applies to your vehicle.

  1. Make sure all tyres match

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To get the best possible performance out of your car, it’s vital that the front and rear tyres are the same size, shape and brand. This is to ensure complete unison across the board and make driving feel more even.

In some cases, the manufacturer will recommend different tyres for different places, but this is up to you to find out. Always check the vehicle manual, or the manufacturer website, for more information. Sometimes, different kinds of front and rear tyres can aid performance, but this is rare. To be on the same side, have all four of yours match.

  1. Tyre tread depth

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In the UK, your tyre tread depth should be 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. Other countries have other requirements, so take the time to research yours. You can measure the depth using pretty much any coin, or by using a tread depth indicator.

  1. Carry a spare

It goes without saying, and many vehicles will come with one built-in. If you’re embarking on a long journey, a spare tyre can cover you in the event of a puncture or breakdown. A spare tyre shouldn’t be a permanent measure, and you should seek professional help as soon as possible. The spare is only there to get you through your current journey, or home from work at the end of the day. It shouldn’t be used in the long-term. Tyres are a big business, so it won’t be too hard to find a spare.

In conclusion

As you can probably tell, there are a lot of things to be concerned about when getting your tyres checked and replaced. It’s not a simple case of identifying a puncture or scrape. You have to be prepared to conduct a series of in-depth checks to ensure tyre safety. Hopefully, these tips have helped you do just that!

 

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