Car Tyre Safety
Macclesfield Car Tyres is a specialist tyre fitter based in the Centre of Macclesfield. We offer affordable car tyres with a depth of knowledge in car tyre safety and maintenance. We’ve put some useful tips together to help you look after your tyres.
In a nutshell, tyres are the only contact between your car and the road, and therefore represent one of the most important features to maintain on your vehicle. With bald, baldly worn or damaged tyres, your car instantly becomes more dangerous to you, your passengers and anyone else on the road. It is vitally important and a legal requirement that you select the right tyre type for the vehicle you are driving and for the purpose it is being used. There are also laws in place to govern all aspects of tyre condition, where the most important is minimum tread depth. The legal limit for minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6 millimetres across the central ¾ of the tread going around the complete circumference of the tyre. At Macclesfield Car Tyres, we believe that motorists should regularly check all tyres (including spare tyre) frequently (i.e. every 1-2 weeks) for both pressures and general condition.
Although most tyres share the same basic characteristics, it’s always important to choose the tyre for you your vehicle and purpose of use, as different tyres produce different responses on the road. However, once you have the most appropriate tyres fitted, ensuring they are in good working condition will help several aspects of driving, including:
Braking: Although it may sound obvious, stopping your vehicle quickly and safely is critical.
It’s all about grip, and although different driving conditions offer varying levels of grip (i.e. dry, wet or icy roads), tyre condition is crucial to braking performance and how quickly your car can stop.
Aquaplaning: Aquaplaning happens when your vehicle tyres lose grip on wet roads and then “aquaplane” on the top of the water. This is very dangerous, as the driver has effectively lost full control of the vehicle. With good condition tyres the tread channels water away from where it has contact with the road and provides more grip and control. However, it should be noted that in very wet conditions even the best tyres can’t shift water away, so aquaplaning is always a risk even with the best tyres.
Tyre noise: Good condition tyres generally means quiet tyres and a quiet, comfortably drive. However, for one reason or another some tyres are noisier than others (high performance low profile tyres are generally the nosiest!), so it’s important to know which tyres are noisy and which are quiet. By law all tyres have to meet certain noise level standards, but equally there are tyres that manage to muffle sound and produce a less noticeable noise.
Environmentally friendly: Something called ‘rolling resistance’ of the tyre is key here, which is basically how much energy your tyre exerts on the road as it is driven. Reducing rolling resistance with the correct tyre or good condition tyre can affect fuel consumption, as your car needs less energy to roll on the tyre. Furthermore, you can save on fuel consumption and therefore reduce harmful emissions by simply maintaining tyres at the correct pressure.
UK tyre law requires that your vehicle is fitted with the correct type and size of tyre for your vehicle type and for the purpose it is being used. This means fitting the right tyres and ensuring that they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre. However, for safety reasons Macclesfield Car Tyres recommended that you replace your tyres before the legal limit is reached. A regular check of your tyres can help you to avoid 3 penalty points and £2,500 in fines (per tyre) for having tyres worn beyond the legal minimum limit.
A sign that your tyres need changing is a deterioration in driving performance and handling (e.g. car pulls to one side under braking, car does not handle or grip the road as it normally does, car takes longer to stop under braking). Macclesfield Car Tyres always recommended that you perform regular physical check on tyres for both pressure and general condition. A quick and easy way to check remaining tyre tread depths is to look at the tyre manufacturers mould tread wear indicators (T.W.I). Put simply, these are rubber notches built into the design of the tyres tread pattern usually at a level of 1.6mm. As soon as the tread is worn to the height of the tread wear indicator, the tyre has reached the legal minimum tread depth and should be replaced as soon as possible.
Although your tyres will inevitably become worn through time and use, there are many different reasons for tyre wear including:
Under-inflation: Under inflation causes tyres to wear on the outer edges of the tread, leaving the central tread area far less worn. Under-inflation can also degrade the tyres inner-liner.
Over-inflation: Over inflation results in the central tread area being forced into contact with the road causing rapid wear.
Misalignment: When the front wheels of your car are misaligned, you tyres can become worn more progressively on one side.
Camber wear: Excessive wheel camber can cause sloping wear on the outer edge of the tyre tread.
Emergency braking: An emergency braking manoeuvre can cause rapid tyre wear and in some extreme cases cause complete tyre deflation.
Cuts & punctures: Sharp objects can cause considerable damage rendering a tyre unserviceable.
Impact damage: This is damage caused by an impact to the sidewall, where localised damage is represented by a bulge or "egg" and usually renders the tyre unserviceable.
End-of-life: All tyres have a legal minimum pattern depth of 1.6mm and should be changed before this limit is exceeded.
At Macclesfield Car Tyres, we believe that motorists should regularly check all tyres (including spare tyre) frequently (i.e. every 1-2 weeks) for both pressures and general condition.
Maintaining Correct Tyre Pressures
There are three main reasons why maintaining the right tyre pressure is important:
- Safety: Under inflated tyres can overheat and result in poor vehicle handling.
- Economy: Over or under inflated tyres suffer more damage and need to be replaced more regularly. In addition, vehicles with under-inflated tyres will experience increased rolling resistance that requires greater fuel consumption to maintain the same speed.
- Environment: Correct tyre pressures help maintain optimum fuel efficiency, which results in lower emissions from your vehicle than those with incorrect tyre pressures.
Check for External Tyre Damage
Try to check regularly for cuts, lumps and bumps in your tyres that are often caused by an impact between the tyre and a kerb, pothole or object in the road. Hitting a kerbing or pothole can also affect your vehicle’s wheel alignment settings which can lead to rapid or un-even tyre wear. A regular check of your wheel alignment will help prevent premature tyre wear. Finally, emergency braking manoeuvres can sometimes leave your tyres with a ‘flat spot’ that can lead to rapid tyre wear, or in extreme cases complete tyre deflation. If you suspect that one of your tyres has any of these symptoms, consult Macclesfield Car Tyres as quickly as possible to avoid sudden tyre failure.
UK weather is not normally considered extreme, but it is increasingly experiencing winters marked with snow, ice and extreme temperatures. British cars generally drive on 'summer' tyres, where these work best when the ambient temperature is above 7C. When the temperature is consistently below 7C the rubber compound used in regular tyres does not offer the same level of grip as usually experienced. Because other parts of the world have extreme winter versus summer conditions, winter tyres have been specially developed to work best in temperatures less than 7 degrees Celsius. The winter tyre gives significant safety advantages in wet and icy conditions (i.e. up to a bus length and a half shorter stopping distance), as well as the snow ( i.e. braking up to 8 metres shorter than summer tyres from 30mph (35m versus 43m in length). However, it should be noted that winter tyres will wear much quicker one milder driving conditions are experienced. Therefore, as winters become more extreme, fitting winter tyres will offer you much more grip in cold and icy conditions, where the chunkier design will allow you to cope much better in the snow.