Tyres are a highly important part of your car as they affect your grip on the road, steering ability and fuel efficiency. Due to their importance, they can be costly to repair or replace, so it is best to do all you can to extend their useable life. In this article, we’ll explain how long car tyres should last, how you can look after them so that they last longer, and why you shouldn’t drive with worn tyres.
How Can You Tell If Your Tyres Need Replacing?
You do not have to be a mechanic to run some simple checks to ensure that your tyres are in a roadworthy condition. The main thing to check is the section of rubber that makes contact with the road and offers grip, commonly known as ‘tread depth’. The legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm, but experts recommend a depth of at least 3mm to give you maximum grip and to improve stopping distances.
Tread depth should be checked regularly to ensure that your tyres aren’t too worn and are in a roadworthy condition. Did you know that this can be done using a 20p coin? Simply put the 20p into the tread grooves at various points around the tyre and if the coin’s outer band can’t be seen, your tyres are in a safe condition. If you can see the coin’s band, this means there isn’t enough tread and your tyres may be unsafe. If that is the case, it is important that you get them checked out by a professional or have them replaced.
If your car feels like it is wobbling a little when you're driving over 40mph, this can also be a sign of worn tyres. It may mean that your wheels need to be rebalanced or it could be a sign of uneven wear. Either way, it is advisable to get them checked out by a mechanic.
It’s against the law to drive on worn tyres – not only will your driving become hazardous, but you could also face a £2,500 fine per tyre and three points on your licence if caught.
How Long Do Tyres Last?
Of course, there is no definite answer to how long tyres last. This answer will depend on several factors, namely:
- The quality of the tyres
- The road conditions driven on
- How well your tyres are looked after, in terms of how the car is driven and maintained
It is important to note that the front tyres will generally wear more quickly that the rear ones as they play a bigger part in stopping the car when applying the brakes. Further, if you mix tyres from different manufacturers or even with different tread patterns, they are likely to wear at different rates.
Miles wise, you should be able to get at least 20,000 miles out of your front tyres and double that for your back tyres, although this will be dependent on many factors.
All of your tyres are likely to wear at different rates, so it is recommended that they are professionally checked out every five years and replace them every ten years, to be on the safe side.
How Can You Make Your Tyres Last?
Old, worn tyres don’t offer you the performance or efficiency you need, and they pose a potential safety risk.
Here are some things you can do to get the most out of your tyres and make them last as long as possible:
- Gentle driving - Tyres wear more when you brake or accelerate rapidly, as well as if you take corners abruptly. So, taking the road at a gentler pace is advisable for your tyre longevity as well as for a whole host of other reasons. Gentle driving should also be applied in anticipation of potholes, speed bumps and kerbs as they can cause serious damage to your tyres if you move too rapidly. Take any obstacle with ease, and go as slowly and carefully as possible.
- Check your air pressure - Tyres that are over or under-inflated cause problems with fuel efficiency and performance, as well as being at risk of blowout. Crucially, tyres at the wrong air pressure just don’t last as long, so check your vehicle handbook for the correct pressure.
- Get your wheel alignment checked - Ensuring your wheels are properly aligned means that your tyres will have the best possible contact with the road and this will prevent them from wearing down quickly.
- Rotate your tyres – As different wheels take a different burden when you are driving, rotating your tyres between the front and the back wheels can help to ensure even wear and tear on the tyres. Often, manufacturers recommend that this is done every year or 7,500 miles.
- Use high-quality tyres – Spending a little more on better quality tyres can offer better performance and safety as well as having the potential to last longer.
No matter whether you opt for budget, mid-range or premium tyres, it’s vital to look after them properly so that you can get the maximum levels of performance and safety from your vehicle. If you focus on all of these factors, then you will be in a strong position to get more miles from your tyres and you can avoid driving a car that is either inefficient or unsafe.
Just as it is against the law to drive on worn tyres, it is against the law to drive without valid car insurance. Be Wiser is a great place to start to help you find the right cover for your needs, so get a quote today.