Your car tyres are one of the most important components of your vehicle. They are responsible for providing the necessary grip and traction on the road to ensure the safety of the vehicle and those inside it.
The experts at Pantech Auto Technicians have put together a guide that explains everything you need to know about your car tyres: the legal limit, required pressure, tyre markings and more.
Types of Tyres
There are multiple ‘types’ of tyres available on the market, each one designed to cater to specific driving conditions and needs:
- Summer tyres are designed to provide grip on dry and wet roads during the warmer months of the year.
- Winter tyres that are designed to provide better grip in snowy and icy conditions.
- All-season tyres, as the name indicated, are to provide grip with all year round and in any weather or road condition.
- Performance tyres are designed for high-performing cars and provide superior handling, grip and stability at higher speeds.
What is the UK legal tyre limit?
You are legally required to replace your tyres as soon as the tread depth is down to 1.6mm. However, it is advised to replace them when the tread gets to 3mm, as the rubber can perish over time and it may not be safe to use once it is over five years old.
The fine for driving a car on the road with a tyre less than 1.6mm tread of £2500 and three penalty points on your license. In the case that all four are below 1.6mm, you will face a £10,000 fine and 12 penalty points, resulting in a 6-month driving ban.
It is important to establish the correct tyre pressure for your specific car. You will find the tyre pressure sticker attached to the door frame, inside the fuel cap, or in the vehicle handbook. Be aware that the car manufacturer might recommend different tyre pressures for the front compared to the rear.
If the pressure is too low, the car will feel unstable and unsafe to drive. The tyres will wear down quickly and the fuel will be used more quickly. If the pressure is too high, the tyres will not generate enough grip as they should and wear heavily on the tyre tread.
How to Read the Markings on a Tyre
The markings on a tyre inform you of its size, load index and speed rating. A typical tyre marking will look like the following:
- The first three digits refer to the tyre’s width in millimetres.
- The second digits refer to the tyre’s aspect ratio – the height of the sidewall expressed as a percentage of the tyre’s width.
- R stands for radial.
- The two-digit number that follows indicated the diameter in inches of the wheel that a particular tyre can be fitted to.
- The last letter is the speed rating, the maximum speed the tyre is legally approved for.
How to Check Tyre Tread Depth
The easiest way to check the tyre tread is to take a 20-pence coin and slot it into the tread at the point where the tread is at its shallowest.
If you cannot see the outer rim of the coin, your tyres have plenty of tread left and are safe to drive. If you can see the rim, your tyres may be approaching the 1.6mm limit, or they’re already below that.
Do I need a spare tyre?
There is no law in the UK that states you need to carry a spare tyre. However, drivers are strongly encouraged to carry a spare with them, as it will make a massive difference in the case of running a flat tyre. Instead of being stranded for hours and waiting for roadside assistance, you can quickly change your tyre in 15-20 minutes and find your nearest tyre garage to get a repair or replacement.
Tyre Fitting in Guildford
With a huge selection of tyres to fit your car and budget, you can have your tyres replaced without paying over the odds. All prices quoted will include:
- The tyre fitting
- Computerised balancing
- Disposal of the old tyre
It is always best to have your tyres changed by a specialist, as the process involved can be complex and usually involves the use of a special tyre-changing machine. This is fitted with a mounting arm and a bead breaker. The old rubber must be removed manually first, by jacking up the car and deflating the air from the tyre.
If you would like to book your car for a tyre fitting, repair or replacement, please do not hesitate to contact us at Pantech Auto Technicians today.