When Are Tyres Bald?

Just as your shoes get worn down after walking in them, the tyres on your car also wear down.  As we age, so your tyres get old and wear down over time. There are some basic checks you can conduct yourself, on a regular basis, so you are familiar with the general ‘health’ of the tyres in terms of a visual check and then there is the 20p check detailed in the next paragraph. If you get your local mechanic to check your car regularly, they will be able to advise you if the tyres need to be changed.   If in doubt seek advice!

Tread Depth

In the UK, the current recommended limit is 3mm but the legal limit is 1.6mm. Having bald tyres can significantly increase your chance of having an accidents. Besides this you also risk three penalty points on your driving licence per tyre and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre.   If you are involved in an accident and it’s later discovered that you had bald tyres, there is a chance that your insurer may void your claim and invalidate your policy – this is because your car would be deemed unroadworthy. How to check tread depth:  By conducting a few simple checks each month, such as the 20p test, drivers can keep themselves and other motorists safe. It is very simple and inexpensive. The 20p test works by placing the coin in a groove of your tyre and if the outer band is obscured your tyres have enough tread.  If the band is visible, you need to get your tyres checked by a garage and you will be advised to change them if it is visible.

Cracks in the Sidewall

Cracked and weathered sidewalls are a bad sign also. Not all problems with the tyres are going to be in the tread. They can also appear in the sidewall. Fortunately, it’s easy to do a visual check of any sidewall issues. Look out for any cuts in the sidewall or grooves that are large enough to be visible to the naked eye. This could be a sign that your tyre is developing a leak, or potentially worse, that it’s on the verge of a ‘blow out’.  Again, by regularly checking your tyres visually and by having them checked by your garage, should avoid any potential catastrophes.

Bulges and Blisters on the Tyre

A bulge or a blister on your tyre could lead to a blow out. Sometimes the outer surface of the tyre begins to weaken. The visual result can be in the form of a bulge or blister that extends outward from surface of the tyre. We can compare this with an aneurysm in humans, in one of your blood vessels.  If your doctor tells you that you have an aneurysm, you need to get this addresses asap before the weakness in the artery bursts.  It’s the same with your tyre. This weak spot can cause a sudden blow out, so you must address this with your garage before this happens and before it happens on the road or even worse the motorway.

Sep 14, 2019


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