As the component that your car drives on, tyres are more important than we care to think. Getting a good set for the road is still only a good start. A few hundred miles later, even the best of tyres start to gradually wear off, affecting the performance and safety of the car. Often tyres are both the most overlooked and single most important component of any ride. As the final gear between your car and the road, all the force of your acceleration, braking power, and torque from turning must be transmitted through your tyres before moving your car even an inch. Even if you have the most powerful car in the world, it means nothing unless you have the proper tyres.
Reasons why tyres need to get replaced
Of course, there are many factors that could lead to ageing. But what increases tyre wear?
1. Driving style: spinning the wheels on acceleration, or locking them when braking increases wear
2. Bad roads
3. Alignment: Wrong alignment will lead to tyres wearing off quickly and unevenly
4. Speed: High speed driving increases temperature and wear (check your speed index)
5. Position: Front-wheel drive cars normally show a greater degree of wear on the front tyres
6. Load: Excess load subjected to cars increases wear (check your load index)
7. Pressure: Maintaining the correct inflation pressure is one of the most important things you can do to look after your tyres. Both under inflation and over inflation can increase wear
The basics of tyre replacement
The main guideline for replacing your tyres is tread depth. Beyond tread depth, you want to consider the age of your tyres when checking for roadworthiness. Here are the basic guidelines for checking your tyres.
- By law, to be considered roadworthy in Australia your tyre’s tread depth must be at least 1.6mm deep.
How long do tyres last in years and what’s the car tyre’s lifespan? To make this more easy, many tyres feature tread wear indicators (small bars across the grooves of the tyre, at exactly 1.6mm). Once the tread wear indicator is flush with your tread, it’s time to replace your tyres.
- If your tyres are more than 5 years old, they should be checked once per year.
- If your tyres are more than 10 years old, they should be replaced immediately.
Even if they still have tread, rubber deteriorates and cracks with age, so it’s best to simply replace them.
Tip: Tyres are best replaced in complete sets. This way, you don’t get uneven wear between tyres, and your car functions more smoothly.
If you should need to replace less than a full set, it’s best to do it in sets of two and put the new ones on the rear for optimum traction (unless you’re driving a front wheel drive, in which case you should put them in front).