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When is the best time to change your tyres?

24 June 2023

Tyres are an essential component of any vehicle, as they directly impact safety, performance, and fuel efficiency.
Here is a Startin Group guide, where we discuss the key factors to consider and provide guidance on the best time to change your tyres:

How long do tyres last? When should I change my tyres?

Knowing when to change your tyres is crucial to maintain optimal driving conditions and ensure your safety on the road. The tread on vehicle tyres wear down the more you drive, which means you’ll have less grip on the road over time. Something going wrong with your tyres can make what would have been a pleasant drive very dangerous. Tyre lifespan can all depend upon how it's driven upon and/or how they're stored. Under normal conditions, the AA has averaged a tyre lasting up to 20,000 miles out of front tyres on a front-wheel drive car. For the rear tyres, it's double that (and vice versa should it be a rear-wheel drive car!

If your vehicle is often parked and doesn't get used much, it's possible for the tyres to need replacing due to old age rather than being worn out.

Tyres degrade naturally through exposure to heat, sunlight and rain. The environmental damage can cause them to crack over time. If correctly stored i.e. a car is kept in a garage out of the elements they tend to last slightly longer.

Damage through old age is more common with caravans and trailers.

There's a code on the tyre sidewall that can help indicate as to how old the tyre is.

Have a skim round the tyre and look for the letters DOT next to which there will be a 4-digit number code the first part indicated the week the second the year of manufacture.

For example 0321 means the 3rd week of 2021.

As you drive the tread on the tyres begins to wear. Some of the below factors impact how long tyres last.

- Vehicle weight - it's only natural that heavier cars wear tyres faster.

- Driving style - quick, aggressive driving styles ie. taking a corner too quickly increases wear.

- Wheel drive - depending on if your car is a front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive affects tyre wear. The front will wear the fronts more quickly first. Vice versa for the rear. 

- Speed - higher speeds, means an increase in temperature and wear.

- Pressure - as previously mentioned, under or over-inflated tyres can cause the tyres to wear quicker.

- Alignment - if your car's tracking and wheel alignment aren't correct, this can then cause uneven wear.

By law, the legal limit of a tyre is 1.6mm tread depth, any less and they're not suitable or safe for road use. You can find out the tread depth of your car's tyre by using a dedicated tyre tread depth gauge tool, or even by bringing it into one of our Startin Dealerships where a technician can check them over for you.

An old technique of testing this is by using a 20p coin as a rough estimate. If the outer band of the coin isn't obscured when you insert it into the tread groove, the tyre may not have enough tread on it.

If there are signs of cracks, bulges or cuts to the tyre it will need replacing. If left untreated you will run the risk of suffering a nasty tyre failure with little warning.

Normally, car tyres tend to wear out evenly, so the tread pattern on the outer edge reduces at the same rate as the tread in the middle of the tyre.

However, if your car tyres are wearing out faster in some areas than others you'll need to get them replaced.

The issue could be down to having under or over-inflated tyres, but as an advisory have a specialist check the car's suspension and ball joints out as there may be more of an underlying issue there.

Regularly inspecting your tyres and knowing when to change them is crucial for your safety and the performance of your vehicle. Consider the tread depth, age, signs of wear or damage, and the seasonal conditions to determine the best time for tyre replacement. If you're unsure or need professional advice, consult a tyre specialist who can assess the condition of your tyres and recommend the most suitable replacements.

Remember, maintaining well-maintained tyres not only ensures a safer driving experience but also contributes to better fuel efficiency and overall vehicle performance. Stay informed and take proactive steps to keep your tyres in optimal condition for a smooth and secure journey.

Don't forget to share this valuable information with your friends and family.

Think smart. Drive Safe!