Tyre checks for football fans before travelling to games

It is the time of the year where football fans brave the rain & wind, the cold & dark nights and long miles to watch their team play away from home.

And whether you see the most amazing goal or see the poorest defence in your team’s history, one thing you don’t want to worry about is your car.  But, all those miles have an impact & most people don’t take the time to check the car is functioning properly to avoid a breakdown, or worse, an accident.

The last thing you need is an accident - dangerous, costly & time consuming for even the smallest of accidents - or the inconvenience of a flat/punctured tyre causing long delays. Especially as these can be avoided with the right pre-travel tyre health check.

Alongside the usual engine, oil & fluid checks you should complete before any long journey making sure your tyres are in good condition is very important, afterall, they are the one source of direct contact with the road!

Here are some of the tyre checks we recommend you add to your vehicle checklist before setting off:

Check your Tread Depth

Monitoring the tread depth of your tyres is the first place to start.  The tread depth protects the rubber layer of your tyre from road debris. As a result, the tyre is better protected and lasts longer. Tread depth should be between 1.6mm and 3mm.

Before heading out on a road trip, you can check the tread of your tyre with a 20p piece.  If the outer border of the coin is hidden when you insert it into the grooves, then the tread is above the legal limit.  If you can see the outer border of the coin, then you should get the tyre properly checked, as it is either approaching, or has reached the legal limit.  Of course, this trick only works if you have even tread wear - many tyres have different tread depth on the rear v’s front of the vehicle, or the inside & outside of the tyre.

What Causes Uneven Tread Wear

Each tyre has a life span, which once reached, requires the tyre be replaced.  How long that life span is, is dependent on a number of things. Apart from punctures, some of the common factors that shorten the life of a tyre include:

  • Under-inflating - this causes the rapid wearing of the tyres along the edges of the tread
  • Over-inflating - this effects the centre of the tread
  • Faulty brakes - can cause flat spots on the tread of the tyre
  • Incorrect alignment - a very common problem that causes rapid wearing of the tyres along the inside and outside of the front tyres

The condition and health of the tyre must always be actively checked and inspected for normal wear and tear. If you are unsure of how to correctly inspect our tyres, pay a visit to our branch in Elgin Industrial Estate, Swindon.

Wheel Alignment

Sadly, wheel alignment is not something that can be done at home, but is an essential maintenance check of the tyres nonetheless.

Not maintaining proper wheel alignment results in unbalanced wheels and can lead to reduced control of your vehicle, which in turn can lead to unexpected and/or dangerous situations. Never compromise your safety - go to a reliable, tyre and wheel alignment specialist.

To make sure that the tread is consistently in proper contact with the road, the wheel and tyre must be properly aligned and balanced. Wheel imbalances lead to improper contact with the road, creating vibrations in the steering wheel which can cause braking issues. The vibrations create high-pressure vehicular stress resulting in excessive mechanical usage and the consequent high consumption of fuel causing the tyre to wear. Cumulatively, this can cause problems and damage to the suspension, steering components and wheel bearing, especially if left unattended.

Wheel imbalance is easily corrected through the aid of computerised electronic wheel balancers - hence it can not be done at home. The balancer measures the wheel imbalance, providing the experts with the proper measurements and mechanisms for the metal weights to even up.

This type of balancing is important to avoid any corrosion or adverse chemical reactions in the metals of your car. Known as corner balancing or weight balancing involves the careful weight distribution of the four wheels and adjusting the suspension to achieve a balanced experience in using the left and right turns.

While not all cars will need balancing, you should have your check your alignment annually, and certainly if you feel a drift to the car as you are travelling, and the start of the season is a great time reminder to get it scheduled in.

Air pressure

Another important check is air pressure. A well-balanced pressure in tyres will help you avoid punctures and unexpected tyre bursts.

Overbalanced air in your tyres can cause the tyres to rupture and damage them. Underbalanced tyres can result in tyre flattening - both can lead to you being stranded in the middle of a long journey.

To help you check and monitor the pressure of your tyres, check for the following:

  • Find the correct pressure rating for your car. Manufacturers have specified this in detail in your car manual, inside the petrol cap or on the ledge of the driver’s door.
  • Once the correct pressure is known, use this to apply the necessary air pressure to keep the tyre functioning.

The above tyre checks will help you save yourself from unpredictable road stoppages and monitoring your tyres regularly will help you achieve a pleasant driving experience.

So make sure that day at the game is a memorable one for the right reasons. We might not be able to make your team win, but a stress free day is possible by properly checking the tyres on your car.

For assistance on tyres, alignments or MOT’s contact Wiltshire’s #1 wheel alignment specialists and local tyre fitting centre