Checking your tyres is an easy routine task that should be performed at least once a month or before you head off on a long trip. All it takes is a few simple steps to ensure your tyres are in top shape!
1. Check the tread depth
Grab a 20c coin and hold it upright between your thumb and forefinger. Place it into the main tread that runs down the centre of your tyre circumferentially and take a look at the platypus – if any part of the bill is covered by the tyre surface, you’re in the green. However, if the tread does not tough the bill, that means you’ve got less than 3mm of tread left – time for a new set of tyres!
2. Check the tyre pressure
Correct tyre pressure is vital for safety. Under-inflated tyres leave too much of the tyre surface touching the road, which leads to increased friction, overheating and blowouts. Over-inflated tyres are also dangerous in that too little of the tyre is touching the ground, decreasing traction and braking ability. To find the sweet spot, check your owner’s manual or the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door.
To check your tyre pressure, simply pop off the valve stem cap and fit the tyre pressure gauge head onto the stem until the hissing has stopped. Then remove the gauge and read the pressure off the dial. Make sure you’re reading the pressure when the tyres are cold (the rule of thumb is 3+ hours after your last drive) because gases expand when hot, which means a hot tyre will give you the wrong reading.
3. Check for damage
If your tyre has any suspicious cracks, lumps, bulges, punctures or marks, it’s best to bring it into the shop to be looked at. This could be a sign of the rubber degrading due to age or weather conditions, or that the tyre was damaged during a drive. Leaving these unaddressed could lead to a sudden tyre blowout in the future, so make sure you get them checked out!
4. Check your wheel alignment
Sometimes, driving into a pothole or gutter can knock your wheel alignment out of whack. When this happens, your tyres are no longer pointing parallel to each other or are not sitting perpendicular to the ground. Some signs of misaligned wheels to look out for are:
- Wheels that look slightly pigeon-toed
- Zig-zag wear pattern on both front tyres
- Tyres on one side are wearing faster than tyres on the other side
- During driving, your vehicle seems to pull towards one side
- You feel unusual vibrations while driving
If you notice any of these issues, the next step is to take it to your mechanic. If you're more of a DIY kind of person, you might find our Tyre & Wheel Tools handy! Or you can check out our Wheel Tools, Wheel Bearings and Wheel Nuts & Studs. And if you're looking for something to give your wheels a sparkle, check out our range of Wheel & Tyre Care.