How Old - And Unsafe - Are Your Tyres?
Posted by: Dan on 4/01/2016
When it comes to your car (and your daily life), there’s always so much to think about. When did I last put petrol in the tank? When did I last check the oil? Why is the AC not working properly? So it’s completely understandable that drivers may not find enough time to inspect their tyres regularly. Yet, unlike being a little low on fuel or the A/C not being quite cold enough, bad tyres fast become a safety issue.
Let’s talk about how you can easily check your tyres and properly assess their condition…
Consider Your Tyres’ Age
First of all, be aware that there’s no ‘Golden Rule’ when it comes to your tyres’ age (provided they were purchased in recent years). Keep it in mind that even if you don’t drive on them often – say, if you have a weekend car you only drive twice a month – tyres can still be prone to wear and tear and the effects of weather and climate. So, bear in mind how tyre condition can deteriorate over time.
First, consider your tyres’ age, and whether you purchased them new or used. While each car and driver differ slightly, if you’ve bought new tyres in the past year and generally just use your car for regular commuting, the odds are good that your tyres are still in fine shape. You can confirm this by taking a walk around your vehicle and examining the wear of your tyres’ tread. Provided they’re not too worn down and don’t show any signs of visible damage (such as bubbling on the tyre wall), it's pretty safe to say that your tyres are fine.
If you’ve purchased used tyres, however, it’s always worthwhile to take a second look. While any set of tyres that are well made should last roughly the same length of time, it's important to remember that tyres that have already been used are prone to wearing down faster. While the standard checks you would perform with a new set of tyres are still the same as for used tyres, if you have any doubt about their quality, it's always a good idea to pop by your local mechanic for a quick inspection to give you peace of mind.
Your Tyres’ Performance
Another indicator of your tyres’ condition is how often you find yourself inflating them. While a small hole can develop – and can quite easily be patched without needing to buy a new tyre – if you have a tyre that is consistently losing pressure quickly, it’s time to buy a new set. Though it’s a rare occurrence, a tyre that goes flat when it has no visible puncture is more than likely a sign of a manufacturer’s defect. That could mean there are other problems with your tyres you don’t know about yet, rather than some mystery problem that you don’t need to worry about.
If your tyres are going flat for no apparent reason, swap them out for another set and notify the manufacturer of your issue. Along with giving them a chance to fix the error, you should also be able to get a refund or replacement set if the problem was due to the manufacturing process.
Your Spare Tyre
When it comes to tyre safety, everyone remembers they have a spare tyre in the boot when they’re by the side of the road with a puncture; but people often forget the spare exists when shopping for a new set. It’s important to remember when going through a safety inspection of your tyres that you should check the spare as well. It may seem unlikely that it would be in anything but good condition, given that it’s stored away most of the time, but all those bumps in the road and hot summer weather - along with the shopping bags and sports equipment you drop on it every week - can mean even the spare encounters wear and tear over time.
Along with making sure the spare is still in good condition, it’s actually a wise idea to put it on your car and use it for a few days. This not only ensures it’s in good working order, but it also allows you a chance to rotate your other tyres as well. At first this may seem counterintuitive, but regular rotation of tyres can help prolong their lifespan. It also allows you to give each tyre a proper inspection on all sides for any hard-to-see wear.
Finally, while it's true there is no set rule about your tyres’ age, there is a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to deciding whether or not to keep a suspect set on your car: “If in doubt, don’t.” If you’re concerned your set is no longer up to snuff, it’s best to just get a new set. While it’s great to take care and maximise the life of your tyres, the reality is that eventually they will wear out and need to be replaced. When the time comes, instead of just tossing your old set into the local tip, don’t forget there are a number of uses for your used tyres around the home and garden, as well.
With sales of Australian cars hitting a record high last month, there have never been more new cars on the road. But the principles of good tyre maintenance are timeless. No matter what the age of your car is, be sure to check for wear and tear regularly - and if in doubt, don’t hesitate to give your local Tyreright a call.