At-Home Simple Tyre Safety Inspection: 5 Expert Tips
When last did you inspect your car’s tyres? Seeing as we are all bound to our homes, now might be the perfect time to take a look at your tyres and make sure they’re equipped to take you from A to B - when the time comes.
You don’t need to take your car to the professionals to have your tyres assessed. You can easily do it from your own home. With these simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to assess whether your tyres are in great condition or not. The condition of your tyres can determine how safe you are when you’re on the roads so these tips are definitely something you need to consider.
How to do a tyre safety inspection
1. Take a look at the tyre’s tread depth
Evaluate the tread depth of your tyres to make sure you have enough traction to grip the road. In South Africa, your tyre tread needs to be at least 1.6mm so make sure your tread is at least that height.
To check this easily, use a R5 coin – place the coin in a groove in your tyres, and if the silver edge remains visible, it's time to change your tyres. While you're measuring, make sure that the tread depth is even across the tyre, from one edge to the other.
2. Check for cracking on the tyres
Cracking occurs on tyres when the rubber begins to age. It’s common to see fine cracks forming either between the tread blocks or on the sidewalls, but it should never expose the cords or leak air.
Look at the area between the tread blocks to check for cracking. You may find fine cracks or wide cracks. If there are thin, small cracks, it’s a normal part of your tyre ageing, but they should be monitored regularly to prevent them from getting out of hand.
If there are wide cracks where you can see the steel belts or woven fabric, your tyre is not safe to drive on (make sure to take your car in and have the tyres checked by a pro).
3. Are there objects, bulges or punctures in the tyre?
Visually inspect your tyre tread for anything that doesn’t belong there. Nails, screws, pieces of metal, and large rocks can be embedded in your tyre, puncturing the liner and causing a leak (this can be dangerous).
Items puncturing the tyre may actually leak very slowly because the puncture is plugged with the object, though it still needs to be replaced very soon (better to be safe than sorry).
4. Check your tyre pressure
Ensuring you have the proper pressure in your tyres not only ensures you have a smooth ride, the best handling and traction and optimal fuel efficiency.
Tyres that are under-inflated or over-inflated can feel loose when steering and will have an increased stopping distance in panic braking situations.
Find your owner’s manual and take a look at the specifications section or on the bottom of your driver’s door for your car’s tyre pressure.
Once you know what your car’s pressure should be, check each wheel using a tyre pressure gauge. A few different styles of tyre pressure gauges include a stick gauge, a dial gauge, and a digital gauge.
Remove the valve cap from the valve stem by turning it counterclockwise. Press the tyre pressure gauge squarely against the valve stem to get a pressure reading.
If there is hissing from the valve stem as air leaks out, adjust the tyre pressure gauge more squarely on the valve stem to seal it off. Check the pressure reading on the gauge and compare it to the recommended pressure you found earlier. Inflate the tyres with an air compressor if the pressure is too low. Let the air out of the tyre by pressing on the valve stem needle if the pressure is too high.
5. Evaluate the age of your tyres
It might sound odd but you really need to keep an eye on your tyre’s age. Depending on how much you drive each year, your tyre’s tread may last for years but just because the tread is not worn out does not mean that your tyres don’t need to be replaced. Rule of thumb should be that your tyres are changed at least every 10 years (but this is a stretch!).
To determine the age of your tyres just look at the DOT stamping on the sidewall. At the end of the DOT stamping, there will be a 4-digit number. This is the date code. The first two numbers are the week and the last two are the year. For example, 3619 would tell you that the tyre was manufactured the 36th week of 2019.
Now that you’ve made sure your tyres are ready to hit the road, take a look at these signs that might indicate that it’s time your car goes for a service.
Making sure your car is maintained and regularly serviced is one thing but ensuring you have reliable, honest and upfront car insurance that will cover you from breaking the bank if you ever get into an accident, your car gets stolen or damaged.
Yours in convenient and cost-effective car insurance,