Our car tyres are one of the vehicle’s most important pieces of safety equipment. They’re its only contact with the road so keeping them in good condition is vital for reliable and safe motoring. But how much do you actually know about them?
Under normal driving conditions, tyres usually last around 20,000 miles. If you need new tyres, visit the Green Flag Tyres website. Find out more about your tyres and how to keep them in tip-top condition.
Bad luck! Tyres are so important for safe, reliable motoring we think every driver should know a reasonable amount about them.
#1. The minimum legal car tyre tread depth is…
The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm. But safety experts say tyres’ performance declines dramatically when the tread goes below 3.0mm.
#2. Tyre experts claim each tyre’s valve cap is vital.
It’s true. The cap prevents debris from the road getting in and damaging the delicate internal part of the valve.
#3. The maximum penalty for dangerous tyres is…
Proving how seriously the authorities take the condition of our tyres, the maximum penalty is £2500 and three penalty points per tyre, so four dodgy tyres and you could lose your licence and £10,000!
#4. How frequently do experts say you should check your tyre pressures?
Ideally car tyres should be checked once a fortnight but at the very least once a month.
#5. What temperatures are winter tyres designed to give improved safety benefits in?
Although they’re called winter tyres, a more accurate name is cold weather tyres. They’re designed to perform better than regular ‘summer’ tyres when temperatures drop below 7 degrees C.
#6. What’s the difference in stopping distance in the wet from 50mph when the tyre tread is 1.6mm compared to 3mm?
It takes 8m (about two car lengths) more to stop when tyres are at 1.6mm. Many safety experts and some tyre companies recommend you renew your tyres when the tread depth is down to 3mm. This is because the performance, particularly stopping distance in the wet, deteriorates dramatically when tread is below 3mm.
#7. In the writing on the side of the tyre, the letter R appears before the wheel size in inches. What does the R stand for?
This stems from the old days when tyres were either radial or crossply in their construction. Now virtually all tyres are radial (the belts making up the tyre carcass are at 90 degrees to the direction of travel) but the R remains.
#8. If your car has a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System you don’t have to check your tyres.
This is most definitely false. Most of the TPMS systems that have had to be fitted to cars since 2014 will only alert the driver after a significant loss of air pressure.
#9. Your recommended tyre pressures should be shown in at least one of three places. These are:
You will always find recommended fuel pressures in the user manual. They will also usually be either in the door pillar or inside the fuel filler flap.
#10. One of the most important pieces of information shown on the tyre is its speed rating. How is this depicted?
The speed rating is the maximum speed the tyre is approved for. It’s shown by a single letter between N (rated for a maximum 87mph) and Y (up to 186mph).
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