Is it time you got to grips with your tyres?

Written by Jess Shanahan

Future of Mobility expert writing on electric cars, entrepreneurship, and freelance life.

September 10, 2018

Even if you love driving and spend a lot of time behind the wheel, you might not pay much attention to your tyres. In many ways, these pieces of kit are the unsung heroes of car safety. As the only four bits of your vehicle that actually come into contact with the road, the fact is they’re essential when it comes to preventing accidents.

To help people test their knowledge on this topic, automotive parts repair, car servicing and MOT specialists Kwik Fit recently launched an interactive #TyreChallenge quiz. If you want to improve your tyre knowledge before taking this quiz, keep reading. Here are a few facts that all drivers should know.

1.6mm is the legal minimum tread depth

If you’re caught driving with tyres that have less than 1.6mm of tread, you risk getting a fine and points on your licence. So, to ensure you don’t accidentally fall foul of the law, it’s important to keep tabs on your tyres. You can use a special tread depth gauge to make sure your tyres are up to scratch, or you can simply use a 20p piece. When you place the coin into the grooves on your tyre, you shouldn’t be able to see the outer band. If you can, the tread has worn down below 1.6mm.

Bear in mind though, if you want to stay as safe as possible on the roads, it’s best to replace your tyres once they get below 3mm of tread. This is the minimum recommended by safety experts. Some tyres now have wear indicators at 3mm to help drivers stick to this advice.

Punctured run-flat tyres have a maximum speed and running distance

Run-flat tyres feature reinforced sidewalls and a super-tough construction that allows motorists to keep driving safely even after getting a puncture. However, it’s important to realise that you can’t travel at full speed after picking up a puncture, and you can only continue for a certain number of miles.

If you get a puncture on a run-flat, you should make sure you don’t exceed 50 miles per hour, and you shouldn’t travel for more than 50 miles before getting it replaced. If you fail to follow this advice and you drive too far and too fast, you risk damaging the wheel itself. Fixing this will be much more expensive than simply getting a replacement tyre.

Incorrect tyre pressure can cause major problems

Even though it might seem like a hassle, it’s well worth checking your tyre pressure on a regular basis. Incorrectly inflated tyres can be at an increased risk of blowouts and they can cause you to lose handling capability in your car. They can also wear out more quickly and be less fuel efficient.

When you check your tyres, make sure you do so when they’re cold. This will ensure you get an accurate reading.
Do you check your tyres regularly?


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