Drivers might not spend much time thinking about their tyres, but those tyres are four of the most important parts of their vehicle. As the only connection points to the road below, tyres can seriously affect the performance and efficiency of your vehicle, and damaged or poorly maintained tyres are one of the most common reasons for a vehicle to fail its roadworthiness inspection.
Here are just three signs of tyre problems that you can easily check for yourself.
1. Poor Tread
If your tyres lack a certain tread depth, your vehicle will fail its roadworthiness inspection. There's a good reason for that; the tread is what allows your vehicle to retain its grip on the road below. Just imagine hiking in a shoe with a completely flat bottom and you'll understand just how bad an idea it can be to drive on tyres that lack sufficient tread. The current legal requirement is at least 1.5 mm of tread. You can check this for yourself by inserting a coin into the tread and measuring how deep it goes against a ruler. Make sure you take several readings to cover most of the tyre. Remember, 1.5 mm is the minimum allowable, so you should still strongly consider replacing your tyres if they are close to that depth of tread.
2. Incorrect Pressure
If your tyres are overinflated, not enough of the surface will be meeting the road when you drive. When your tyres are underinflated, too much of the surface can be meeting the road. In either case, performance can suffer and excess wear can occur. Unfortunately, interior pressure won't remain stable for long; even if there aren't any leaks, changes in temperature can cause shifts in pressure.
Many professionals can tell at a glance if a tyre is overinflated or underinflated, but you don't have to. Most garages will offer a tire-filling station where you can take a reading. Compare it with your vehicle's owner's guide to see if changes need to be made.
People tend to think that cracks will be quite easy to see, but cracks along a tyre can be hard to spot unless you get up close. When you hit a curb or a pothole, the impact can cause small cracks along the sidewall; these will often appear as webs of smaller cracks rather than one large crack. Though small, any damage to the tyres should be a cause for concern, so have any cracked tyres looked at by a professional and then replaced if necessary.