There’s no substitute for experience, and with well over a century of tyre production under its belt, Michelin is one of the world’s most experienced tyre manufacturers. It’s also one of the largest; it’s been in the UK for 107 years, where it has three factories and employs almost 3000 people. So as you’d expect, Michelin knows a thing or two about tyre safety, which is why it has teamed up with New Driver NI magazine to guide you through the maze of keeping your rubber in good nick.
The problem with tyres is that they’re not a very sexy subject. They sit there on your car, looking all black and round, and costing you money when they wear out. But they’re the only thing keeping your car in contact with the road, and with a contact patch about the size of the palm of your hand, it’s essential that your car’s tyres are in good condition.
Check your tyres regularly, or you run the risk of experiencing a rapid deflation. Look out for nails or screws in the tread, and don’t ignore stones as they can work their way into the rubber and eventually cause damage. Also look for any other damage such as cuts and bulges or cracks in the rubber which could start to appear as the tyre ages. A tyre that shows any signs of damage or ageing should be inspected by a tyre expert who can decide whether or not it should still be used.
Your tyres must have a least 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of their width, all the way round. To check your tyre’s remaining tread depth either use a tread depth gauge or look for the tread wear indicators.
Too much or little air in your tyres can wreck you car’s handling, make your tyres wear out faster and increase fuel consumption. Checking the pressure is easy with the correct gauge; you can buy one less than a tenner.
When replacing tyres it’s best to do all four at once, but because those at the front usually wear faster than those at the rear, the chances are that just two will need replacing at any one time. If you are fitting just two new tyres, put them on the back and keep the part-worn rubber at the front, to help maintain stability in the wet.
Incorrect wheel alignment is bad news for your pocket, as your tyres will wear quicker and need replacing sooner, and it can adversely affect your vehicle’s handling and safety.
Did you know?
The contact patch between your car’s tyre and the road is about the size of the palm of your hand.