Whist many of us are aware that we need to have a yearly MOT check to ensure our cars are legally roadworthy, there are plenty of checks we can do ourselves to ensure our cars stay in top condition. A yearly car service is optional, but highly recommended to flag up any issues and to change filters and fluids. Both the MOT and a service will ensure your car runs optimally, however one thing that we can keep an eye on ourselves to ensure fuel efficiency and prevent breakdowns are the tyres.
It’s always a great idea to learn how to check the tyres ourselves on our cars. This will save us costly garage fees and breakdown costs associated with inadequate tyres. It will also ensure our cars are safe and roadworthy in-between MOT tests and servicing, particularly if you use your car on a daily basis.
Here are some of the ways you can cut costs and maintain your car’s tyres:
Replace worn tyres
If your tyres look worn and tired, then they probably are. Don’t drive with worn-out tyres. It’s not safe, legal or fuel efficient. You have two options for getting new tyres – either online or in-store:
· Order new tyres online
If you need to replace your car tyres then it could be a lot cheaper to source them online. With so many online options and companies competing for your business, you could find a really great deal compared to buying in-store. Plus there’s the availability of online voucher codes and cashback to reduce your purchase even more. You can order tyres online from Elite Direct Rainham Essex Branch and many other online retailers. Just remember to factor in delivery costs when working out the cheapest option for you.
· Haggle in-store
If you are buying in-store then don’t always go for the first price you are offered. Ring around a few tyre garages and ask for a quote for your tyres and fitting (if you need them to be fitted professionally). Share the best price you receive with each garage to see if they can beat it. Many garages will want your business and will be prepared to make a deal so you don’t go elsewhere.
Keep your tyres inflated
It’s really easy to inflate your own tyres at home with a tyre pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket. These cost as little as £10-£20 and mean you can do it wherever you are or without leaving home. This will save the cost of driving to a garage or fuel station and paying each time your tyres need more air.
Driving with deflated tyres increases the risk of a burst tyre and increases the risk causing of an accident. If you over inflate them you will have less traction on the road. You should regularly check the tyre pressure is correct as this will improve fuel efficiency by up to 3%.
To find the correct tyre pressure for your car, simply search online for a tyre pressure checker, enter your car registration and see the recommended pressures. The figures may be different for the front and back tyres.
Check the tread
Whilst new tyres might seem costly, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than driving around with tyres under the legal minimum tread depth. The minimum legal depth is 1.6mm, but you’ll want to change once you’re nearing this. In bad weather you’ll want to change your tyres once the tread reaches 3mm to ensure your car is safe in wet conditions.
You can use a 20 pence piece to measure the tread on your car by yourself. Place the 20p into the tread groove of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p piece is covered then your tread depth is sufficient. However, if you can see the outer band then your tyres may not be legal and need to be checked immediately by a professional.
Learn how to change a tyre
Whilst you want to go to a garage to change the tyre properly and professionally to ensure the wheel alignment and everything else is perfect, it’s still a good idea to be able to change a tyre yourself. If you wake up to a flat tyre then it’s going to cost a pretty penny for a tow truck to take you to a garage. If you are able to learn to change a tyre yourself then you’ll be able to switch the damaged tyre for the spare and get yourself to a garage.
Check for objects
It’s good practice to check your tyres regularly for objects that may be stuck in them. These can cause slow punctures or even worse, a full on puncture whilst driving. It’s important to address any objects you do find by seeking professional help with a tyre specialist.
A good look at your tyres once in a while will show if you have any objects stuck in them. If you find anything, such as a nail, embedded in the tyre then the best advice is to leave it there. It is probably plugging the gap for now and it may be safer for you to leave it there whilst you drive to your nearest tyre centre.
How to save money by maintaining your car tyres
Keeping your car tyres in good nick will keep you safe, but it will also save you money. Here’s why:
- No costly breakdowns or recovery – Under-inflated tyres can cause blow outs, objects in tyres can cause punctures and too little tread is not safe in bad weather. Driving in any of these circumstances can increase the likelihood of a breakdown which will result in recovery and breakdown expenses.
- Better fuel efficiency – Under-inflated tyres increases your fuel consumption!
- Invalid insurance – If your tyres are not roadworthy or legal then your insurance policy will be invalid in the event of an accident.
- Spot other problems – Uneven wear on tyres can flag other car issues like an issue with the suspension. Noticing these signs could prevent some major repairs or breakdowns in the future.
- Avoid fines for illegal tyre tread – There’s a £2500 fine per tyre that is below legal tread depth if caught. That’s £10,000 if all four tyre treads are less than 1.6mm.
Keeping your car tyres roadworthy will ensure your safety and save money at the same time.