This month we’re doing quite a bit of a travelling around the UK, which means long journeys in the car. My previous post is on our stay to the New Forest, and I’ve been meaning to write up a post on our recent stay in Kensington and towards the end of this month we’ll be staying in the Cotswolds and possibly the Lake District too.
Such journeys mean maintaining the health of our car as it’s our transportation method. If you follow me on Instagram and watch our instastories you’ll know that we’ve had our share of car issues this month too.
It’s just typical really.
The car never has issues when we’re at home, but get us on the road heading a few hours away and suddenly it needs help.
So I thought that in today’s post I’d talk about an issue I’ve dealt with recently- tyre problems.
Earlier in the year I had to replace two of our tyres after they burst after hitting a pot hole.
Since then I’ve wanted to try and make sure that never happens again. Its terrifying driving at high speed and two tyres suddenly bursting, especially with both children in the back. I was lucky I was able to pull over safely away from the busy road I was on and get breakdown recovery.
So I’ve compiled a list of question and answers from DAT Tyres who provide cheap tyres for every budget, to hopefully shed some light on how we should all be looking after our car tyres to make sure we get the best out of them.
1. What are the top 3 tips to ensuring we get the longest tyre life?
There are a number of things that will help enormously in extending the life of your cars tyres. Firstly make sure that your tyres are inflated to the correct tyre pressures. Not only does this improve the life span of the tyre it also means the overall balance of the vehicle will be at it’s optimum making it safer. Details of the recommended manufacturers tyre pressure will be found in your owners manual.
Another way to preserve the life of your tyres is to avoid harsh braking when cornering, doing so causes huge pressures on your front tyres and will cause uneven wear and tear on the outside of the tyres.
If you have your tyres checked you should also check you have the correct wheel alignment, it may sound simple but wheels can get knocked out of alignment quite easily especially if you catch the kerb or a particularly bad pothole. If the wheel is not aligned it will cause uneven and excessive wear making the car more difficult to drive and possibly dangerous under braking.
2. What is the right way to clean and maintain tyres?
The simple rule is to ensure you have a tyre pressure check every month, good tyre depots will happily check tyres free of charge and visually inspect for any signs of uneven wear and tear.
Make sure that the correct tyre shine products are used when washing your car or in a car wash. Using the wrong type of chemicals can over time speed up the rate at which the rubber degrades, which can result in the rubber cracking on the sidewall of the tyre.
3. How do I know it is time for a tyre replacement?
If your tyre tread starts to drop below 3mm its certainly time to start thinking about changing your tyres. Although the legal limit is 1.6mm, we would strongly recommend not to drive on the tyres when tyre tread reaches this level as the braking distances dramatically increase in wet weather conditions. It can take twice as long and sometimes even more to stop if your tyre tread is near the limit.
There is also a much higher risk of aquaplaning as the tyres ability to disperse water from the road surface is massively reduced which increases the potential of a film of water building up between the road surface and the tyre.
4. Which tyres last longer and what are the differences – winter, summer, budget or premium?
It is true that premium and mid-range tyres will naturally last longer than a budget tyre.
The mileage of how much longer a tyre will last does vary dependent upon many different factors, how the vehicle has been driven, the type of motoring you do, whether mainly motorway based or rural. Individuals driving styles also contribute to the level of wear.
Michelin, Continental, Pirelli, Dunlop and Goodyear are the leaders in the premium sector. These will generally out perform the mid-range and budget sector in wet Braking, fuel efficiency and reduced road noise. Tyres are graded and you can see the relevant information on the tyre labels.
Winter tyres are more effective than summer tyres in cold weather conditions that are below 7 degrees, and vice versa when driving in hot climates.
Tyres perform best when they are operating at a correct temperature. The compound mix of winter tyres are designed to warm up quicker in colder weather, hence being more effective. Also, winter tyres have more sipes in the tread that allows more grip and control in ice and snow conditions.
However, winter tyres are less effective in warmer conditions as the tyres start to over heat and can cause the rubber to be less effective and increasing the potential of wear and tear abnormalities. Therefore changing back to summer tyres in warmer climates is important to maintain safety on the roads.
5. What are the top mistakes that reduce the longevity of tyres?
As we have said before in this article having the wrong tyre pressure, is a major cause in reducing the life span of your tyres. Keep the pressures checked and at the correct manufacturers recommended levels and you will get much more life out of the tyre.
Continuous Short journeys also are hard on the tyres, tyres need some time and distance in order to warm up to their optimum temperature and short journeys don’t allow them to do this causing more wear and tear.
Hard cornering and harsh braking, as one would imagine, are also detrimental to the longevity of the tyres life if you can be smooth on the brakes and gentle when cornering this will help maintain the life of your tyre.
Balancing and wheel alignment being incorrect will cause uneven and exaggerated wear and tear which not only makes driving harder, it shortens the life of your tyres and causes issues with braking safely as it can cause vehicles to veer to one side or another under breaking.
6. How can we minimize the wear & tear in our tyres?
Follow these simple tips and get the maximum life out of your tyres:
-Rotate your tyres every 5000/6000 miles if the tyres are same size all round the vehicle as 70% of braking forces come from the front axle. Rotating means the load and wear is spread more evenly meaning you will get longer life from your tyres.
-Tyre pressure check every month (we can check yours for free only takes 2 minutes). A simple pressure and visual check will usually spot any abnormalities such as a bulge in the sidewall of the tyre.
Stay safe as your tyre is the only part of your vehicle that is actually attached to the road surface, pop into your local DAT Tyre depot for a free check.