Five tips to get the most out of tyres

By Adam White

Vehicles may be made up of a large number of parts, but as the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road, tyres are one of the most important. Good tyre maintenance and care is essential to guarantee the safety and comfort of your drive.

Tyres have four main functions: to support the weight of your vehicle, to absorb vibrations from the road, maintain steering and control and give grip for both acceleration and braking. Given the huge importance of the tyre, it is vital to make sure they are all in the best condition they can possibly be.

At the same time, nobody wants to pay out for new ones more often than they have to. Follow these five tips to make sure you get the most out of your tyres.

1. Monitor your tread

Tread is the part of the tyre that makes contact with the road. If a tyre's tread is low, the vehicle cannot grip the road properly, which reduces braking performance and increases tyre vulnerability. This means a greater likelihood of a blowout, puncture or a flat.

It is a legal requirement that tyre tread should be at a depth of 1.6mm for cars. Failure to keep tread above this level could result in a £2,500 fine and three points on your licence for each tyre affected. If you have an accident caused by illegal tyres, it can invalidate your insurance.

Most tyre manufacturers, including Pirelli and Falken, have some form of tread wear indicator on their products. These are usually bars or blocks moulded into the tread grooves around the tyre. If the tyre tread is flush with any of these indicators, the tread is likely to be below the legal limit.

You can also try a simple test involving a 20p coin. Insert your coin into the tread groves on your tyre. If you cannot see the outer band of the coin, the tread is above the legal limit but if the outer band of the coin is still visible, the tread count is too low. If the tread is too low, you should seek help immediately. In practice, we recommend 3mm minimum to maintain braking performance.

2. Keep the right pressure

Your tyre performance will be severely compromised if pressure is not kept at the right level. Over or under-inflation can cause a tyre to wear very quickly. Tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month because, in addition to affecting the comfort, efficiency and safety of your driving, it is also a legal requirement to drive with the correct tyre pressure.

Failing to keep the pressure at the right level can ultimately reduce a tyre's lifespan. It can compromise your safety by increasing braking distances, while also raising your fuel consumption and costing you more.

Tyre pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Your vehicle handbook should detail what your tyre pressure should be, although most newer vehicles (since 2014) have a monitoring system with indications on your dashboard. An alert is triggered if tyre pressure falls below the prescribed limit.

3. Rotate them regularly

Rotating tyres regularly is a simple way to get the most out of them. This will help to improve tyre lifespan because it enables them to wear evenly. Rotating your tyres involves moving the rear ones to the front of the vehicle. This can be done using a forward cross pattern for front wheel drive vehicles and a rearward cross or X pattern for four-wheel drives. Rotating prevents them from wearing unevenly and, thus, helps to prolong their lifespan. More even wear also means better handling and performance for your vehicle, which will be more responsive to actions such as braking and accelerating.

Tyre rotation can also help to save you money. Not only does it improve your fuel consumption by helping your vehicle to run more efficiently, but it also saves you money on the cost of repairs or replacements. In our experience, it is best to rotate after every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. It is also recommended to rotate before winter as doing so can improve grip in difficult weather conditions such as ice and snow.

Drop into your local Protyre garage so that our tyre professionals can help you with rotation. Note that rotation is not suitable for vehicles where tyre specifications differ on the front and rear axles.

4. Check your alignment

Proper alignment of your vehicle's suspension system is essential if your tyres are to perform properly. If the suspension on your vehicle is misaligned by even a few millimetres, this can have serious consequences for tyre wear and longevity. Tyre wear on a misaligned set-up can be rapid and costly, affecting the safety and handling of your vehicle. There are several tell-tale signs that could indicate a misalignment. These include uneven tyre wear, your vehicle pulls to the left or the right as you drive, or your steering wheel vibrates or is off-centre when driving straight forward. Wheel alignment checks are just one of the many garage services offered by Protyre.

Get a free alignment check

5. Check your driving style

Regular servicing is vitally important to tyre lifespan and performance. But your driving habits can also impact on their longevity. Some slight adjustments to the way you drive could help to optimise tyre lifespan, efficiency and performance. Try to avoid driving at excessive speed, while smooth acceleration and braking can protect them from damage. Harsh braking, sudden acceleration or aggressive cornering will all affect your tyre tread and lead to wear.

Protyre, your local tyre specialists, can offer you a free tyre check

Book A Free Tyre Check

If you want to get the most out of your tyres, head to your local Protyre garage today. Our experts have years of tyre experience and can check the health of your tyres to ensure they are performing at their best. We can check tread, pressure and alignment, as well as helping you with rotation, to ensure you get optimum performance.

There are more than 180+ Protyre garages across the UK. All of the garages in our network stock a wide range of tyres to suit all budgets, including leading brands such as Goodyear, Bridgestone, Falken and Pirelli.

Find your closest garage and get the perfect tyres for your car

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About the author

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By Adam White
Adam looks to create engaging and informative content across the website that provides consumers with expert advice on MOTs, servicing, vehicle maintenance and tyre care. As a motorsport enthusiast, Adam enjoys documenting the Protyre Motorsport team’s involvement in major motorsport events across the UK.
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