Five Facts About Car Tyres All Drivers Should Know

There are many tyre types

Most of us simply think of tyres as being just premium or budget. When we go to the tyre dealer it tends to be a distress purchase and we often just buy the one we can afford, which is often an all-weather tyre, but there are other factors at work. Wet weather tyres are better suited to winter conditions on UK roads, unlike the performance tyre, which works best in dry, summer conditions. Such tyres use different rubber compounds and tread patterns, which affect their behaviour in terms of grip, wear, noise and performance. An all-terrain tyre will have great grip on the brown stuff but significant road noise on the tarmac.

Tyres must be recycled

The EU banned landfill disposal of tyres in 2006, so they need to be disposed of properly. Many can be recycled and reused as re-tread tyres, while others will be shredded and find their way onto road surfaces or carpet underlay. A recent initiative sees tyres being used as a fuel source in the industry. More domestic reuses include garden flower pots and swings.

Tyres perform best when correctly inflated

We are all conscious of the price of fuel and sometimes drive miles to get a few pence off per litre. We can also save more money by ensuring that our tyres are correctly inflated. Inflating correctly can shave 10% off of our fuel bills. Underinflated tyres increase your car’s rolling resistance and hence your car burns more fuel. Cars with differently inflated tyres can also cause the engine to expend more energy at the expense of fuel economy. Under and over inflated tyres can also harm performance and handling and significantly degrade braking efficiency.

Check for legal tread depth

The legal minimum for car tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm. Your thread needs to be at least this depth for the entire circumference of the tyre. There are a couple of easy, non-technical ways to check this. First, most tyres have a tread wear indicator built into them. A band of rubber running across the tyre is fixed at 2 mm between the treads. When the tread gets down to this level it is time to visit the tyre depot. If you are not sure, try the 20p coin test. Simply place the coin between the treads. They should cover the broad rim of the coin. Remember to do this at various points all around the tyre.

New tyres have a run in period

Your new tyres have been manufactured inside a mould. This needs to be lined with a type of non-stick coating in order to get the tyre out when it is ready. This coating adheres to the new tyre, giving it that shiny new tyre look. Unfortunately, this reduces grip and can take up to 500 miles to wear off. You should, therefore, take extra care during this period when driving quickly, cornering or driving in the wet.

If in doubt, consult a reputable dealer such as Kirkby Tyres who will be able to advise you on your specific tyre.

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