To less experienced drivers, tyres can be something of an unread book. But your tyres are the only part of your car that comes into contact with the road, which makes it vital that you keep them in great condition for as long as possible, and replace them promptly when necessary. Every driver should be aware of the following five common tyre problems – and, more importantly, how to solve them!
Problem: Poor Tyre Quality – Solution: Replace Them
The best-kept tyres in the world will not work well if they were originally of low quality. Tyres fall into three loose categories:
– Premium tyres are the best quality tyres, made using high quality, sustainable rubber, using the latest developments in engineering and aerodynamics to create a tyre that will offer you a smooth, comfortable ride, with little noise or jarring
– Regular tyres tend to be last year’s premium tyres – or roughly equivalent with them. Made using high quality rubber, using fairly up-to-date technology, with last year’s cutting edge research made profitable as safely as possible. These tyres offer a reasonably comfortable ride and come with an affordable price tag.
– Budget tyres are cheap and cheerful. Made from lower quality rubber, they can sometimes be noisy and offer a more uncomfortable ride than you might be expecting. While this can be an annoyance, budget tyres must still adhere to EU safety regulations, and will therefore be perfectly safe to use.
Problem: Failing Suspension – Solution: Repair It Immediately
If your tyres are wearing in an odd formation – as though they are ‘leaning’ to one side or the other, for example – this can be an indication that something has gone awry in your suspension system. And if it is your suspension that has developed a fault, you should take immediate steps to get it repaired: should the damage worsen past a driveable state, the suspension could suddenly fail, leaving you, possibly stuck in busy traffic, in an undrivable and unsafe vehicle.In case you need new – perhaps better quality – tyres, shop for tyres in Stirling and book your car in for a tyre fitting at your local Fife Autocentre garage (01786 475066).
Problem: Sidewall Damage – Solution: Regular Checks
The sidewalls of your tyres are not an intuitive place to look for signs of damage, but this is misleading. The sidewalls should always appear even, with no dimpling, bulges or cracks in the rubber. A huge number of problems can show up in the sidewall, from broken or dysfunctional belts inside the tyre, to weaknesses caused by anything from rough driving to manufacturer issues to scraping the curb when parking. Get into the habit of looking at your tyres every so often so that you know what your tyres look like when in good shape. This will help you to spot problems as soon as they arise – and hopefully when they are still remediable.
Problem: Low Tread Depth – Solution: Observe, Replace
Your treads are on your tyre to help your car maintain its grip on the road when in wet or slippery conditions. Having too low a tread depth is dangerous, not only for you, but for everyone else on the road. With insufficient tread depth you run the risk of hydroplaning – essentially skidding along the top of a minutely shallow layer of water on the road – and losing control of your vehicle. Keep an eye on your tread depth, and when it falls below 3mm, you should start planning to replace your tyres promptly. The legal limit is 16mm over three-quarters of the contact surface, but it is recommended that you plan on replacing your tyres before they reach this point.
Problem: Over- or Under-Inflation – Solution: Maintain Correct Tyre Pressure
Your tyres are designed to work best at the recommended pressures – these can be found in your owner’s manual, online, or on the tyres themselves – and not doing so can cause your tyres to wear out more quickly, as well as giving you an uncomfortable ride. You will also be putting other road users at risk if you do not maintain the correct tyre pressure, as tyres can fail when incorrectly inflated. With underinflation, you will find greater wear on the shoulders of your tyres, and with overinflation, the excess wear can be seen running down the middle of the contact area – check your tyres visually, and also use a pressure gauge for peace of mind while driving.