Your tyres are among the most important parts of your car. They’re what actually forms the point of contact between the rest of the vehicle and the road. Thus, it’s important that they’re regularly replaced, to ensure that this contact is as secure as possible, and that your vehicle retains its grip on the road.
In the UK, the legal tread depth limit is 1.6mm – which is around the same as the border of a twenty-pence piece. Ideally, however, you’ll want to replace your tyres well before they reach this depth – especially if you’re driving in wet conditions.
Fortunately, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to track down replacements. You can buy tyres online through specialist vendors, and then fit them yourself in the same way that you’d fit a spare tyre.
How long do tyres last?
The distance that your tyres will drive for will vary wildly according to how you’re driving them, but as a general rule you should expect a front-wheel-drive car to get at least twenty thousand miles out of each set. For the rears, it could be twice that – which effectively means you’ll be replacing tyres in pairs.
Let’s take a look at the factors which contribute to accelerated tyre wear.
If you brake more suddenly, then your tyres are going to wear more quickly. More energy needs to be dissipated through your tyres into the road, and there’s more friction involved. We’ve all seen black tyremarks left when drivers pull away or corner too suddenly – the same thing happens, albeit to a lesser extent, whenever you brake quickly in this way.
The faster you’re driving, the hotter your tyres are going to get.
If your tyres are inflated incorrectly, then they will tend to wear unevenly. Overinflated tyres will bulge in the middle, causing excessive wear there. Underinflated tyres will end to wear more toward the edges, as the middle of the tyre will be pushed away by the road more easily.
Tyres which are absorbing heavy loads will wear more quickly. It’s for this reason that tyres fitted to Range Rovers are different from those fitted to Fiestas. But we should also consider the load we’re placing into the car. If you’re carrying around passengers, or bulky items, then you can expect faster wear, as well as reduced fuel efficiency.
How can I tell how old my tyre is?
Your tyre wall will be printed with a string of characters called the Department of Transportation (or DOT) code, of which four number will tell you the date of manufacturer. The first two refer to the week, the second refer to the year. Tyres should be replaced at least every six years, regardless of how many miles they’ve done.