How Tyre Care Leads To Safe Long Distance Car Travel| DAT Tyres

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.

thelondonmum

25 Comments

  1. In my last MOT it was noted that one of my tyres was getting low and I went back to have it changes just in time for the recent snow! I’m so glad I got it done in time!

    • Yeah bet you were really glad of that. That extra grip would have done so much

  2. I used to be great at checking my tyre pressure before any long journey. I haven’t been nearly so good since I had children, when it is probably more necessary for safety reasons. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Tell me about it. I do less with my car now I have children but worry so much more because they’re in the car with me.

  3. This is really interesting to read, I’ve just had my front two tyres replaced and I have to admit bar knowing when they need replacing I don’t take much notice of the differences.

    • I knew everything when I took my driving test but after that I just lost my way when it came to car checks. But really it’s so important to know how to do those checks or at least know where you can take your car to get a professional to look over it for free.

  4. I had to change the tyres so much in my old car, but thankfully with my new car they’re much better quality tyres as they can be pretty expensive x

    • They can be so expensive can’t they? After hitting that pot hole I had to change two of my tyres… ouch!

  5. I have been used to switching to winter tyres each October (the law in Germany) and getting them changed back to Summer tyres typically at the beginning of April, it just felt so much safer too so it gave me more confidence. We have been back a year and the roads are in a shocking state here with potholes! :/

    • The potholes are horrendous aren’t they?! I’ve never thought to change my tyres from summer to winter and back but it sounds like a good idea and a great way to check on them too.

  6. I don’t drive myself but I’ve sent this to my sister who said it was really helpful as she was in need of some new tires

  7. Tyre is one thing we don’t skimp on as we know how important it is for safety issues. Your post is so comprehensive and explains things so in detail.

  8. Some great tips here, especially with the weather that we’ve been having lately. So important to maintain tyres.

    • I think the weather recently has shown us just how important it is to make sure the car is ready in all weather to cope.

  9. It’s so important to look after your tyres. It’s not something I had really thought about until we got our new car.

  10. Gawdie ‘horror’ Lordiee LondonMum – so sorry you’ve posted this very wise post as a result of a scary experience yourself – specially as you had the ‘squad’ on board at the time, but, nevertheless, just so relieved that both little Londoners (& the mumsie one of course ha) are all ok – phew!! I’m sure others will benefit from your extremely wise follow-on advice. Quite agree LondonMum; like everywhere else I s’pose nowadays; potholes are now yet another of drivings ‘look-out-for’ dangers – & as if owning a car/s isn’t expensive enough without pothole repairs! … the unexpected additional damage repair expense can be financially horrifying to say the least … we talk from experience! … I hope you won’t mind me sharing what happened to us LondonMum but, our experience is in total support to your post as this is a stinging subject with me at the mo & I really REALLY hope that this never happens to anybody else. Hope you’re lounging comfortably LondonMum? … Lucy & I had a similar ‘nasty’ while driving to a recording gig at Bournemouth that she didn’t really want me to do in the first place – (so, after what happened en-route I really got the, “See, I told you not to do this one,” third degree ‘listen to me’ treatment haha) – we hit an enormous monster sized ‘crater’ – & at speed – one which I just couldn’t avoid – everything happened in a split second. Car lurched, huge explosion of shredded tyre, screeching & grinding from our car; partially lost steering control but, somehow, like you, managed to bounce (on wheel rim – which didn’t exactly help) our car onto a small grass verge without anybody miraculously ploughing into us while anxiously waiting for our rescue; Poor Lucy had the wild banshee ‘screams.’ Transporter eventually arrived but, thanks to that crater we had to replace not only the front o/s disintegrated tyre (our runflat didn’t stand a chance) but also the whole wheel & front suspension, & brakes &, being advised to replace the front n/s tyre at the same time just to be safe &, not to mention, also being charged for both the simple alignments & trackings – (thanks guys!) – plus the dreaded VAT of course! But, & thankful for small mercies I s’pose LondonMum, our local MB dealership eventually got all the replacement parts that, remarkably, they didn’t have in stock – brilliant!! Waiting for your car to be repaired is not the most stimulating of ways to spend an afternoon – as you may have experienced yourselves? You can almost ‘hear the expense’ ha! & to make matters even worse, to pass time, I was taken shopping – oh bliss!!! Just glad we initially paid ‘the extra’ for their rescue cover (thanks to Lucy’s initial insistence … otherwise, after receiving the huge exploited bill … without that cover I’d be street busking to clear it ha!!) &, just to add further pothole damage repair expense to damn annoyance, the total – almost a four-figure invoice – (struth, I thought it was the date!) was almost double my contracted gig fee!!! Not the most profitable gig I’ve ever done – however, we arrived just in time for recording & needless to say, it wasn’t my best ever gig … ever tried playing a keyboard with ‘the shakes?’- like playing the trumpet with hiccups! – good job it was a studio gig & not a live gig ha! But, seriously, I still shudder to think what could’ve happened if Lucy had been driving – (so I can fully appreciate the unfortunate terrifying position you found yourself in) – & this whole circus episode was all thanks to a Grand Canyon sized pothole!!! Excuse my childish cynicism LondonMum (nearly finished ranting) I’m sure our exploited bill was hugely excessive because a bloke (sorry, – ‘technician’) saw the position we were in – so, had to take his hands out of his pockets (probably got charged VAT for that an’all) to relatively quickly get us back on the road – & ALL DUE TO THE MOTHER OF ALL CRATERS – moral of the story?? Follow the LondonMums essential tyre ‘health checks’ advice & TRY TO AVOID DAMN POTHOLES!! Hey, don’t be put off LondonMum!!! I’m sure you’ll have scary-free drives to your yet more holiday destinations !! – cor blimey; ‘ow t’other ‘arf live … more ‘olidays? haha. After reading your technical … (The LondonMum??? … ‘technical’ ????? ooeer) sensible ‘6 terrific top tyre tips’ (far too many t’s – sorry) I’ll have to go for a lie-down now… you’ve ‘TIRED’ me out … (ouch, sorry, that’s awful I know ha.) Hope all’s well. Onwards LondonMum – steady as she goes ha. (apologies for length)

  11. My tyre maintenance has always been pretty good actually, as I was taught a lot of these things when I was in Scouts (back in the day hehe). I regularly check my tyre pressure and my tread 🙂 x

    • It’s great to be able to do these things.. I really should make sure I brush up on that knowledge. I’ll be making sure my kids attend scouts I think 😉

  12. This is such an interesting post to read, I honestly never thought about things like replacing tires and the cleaning process. It’s really opened my eyes more to the importance of tire care

  13. I am quite good at checking my tyres as we do a lot of miles – I even have an electric pump in the car

    • I really need to learn, I don’t check anything in my car ever which is really quite silly!

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