How to know when your tyres need to be changed

By Anna Kantilaftas, 22 Oct 2016 Car Advice

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How to know when your tyres need to be changed

It’s easy to check your tyres to ensure their tread is still safe and legal.

No one likes spending hundreds of dollars on four rubber rings. At least, most people don’t. But replacing old tyres can be the difference between staying safe, or ending up in a bit of a pickle.

Knowing when it’s time for new tyres isn’t really that difficult. It all comes down to one feature – tyre tread.

Tyre tread is the part of your tyre that connects to the road and provides it with grip. It pushes water away to ensure the rubber has maximum connection with the road during wet weather. Over time, as your tyres start to wear, the tread starts to burn away. This reduces the tyres’ ability to grip the road.

Not only is tyre tread an important safety factor, but it’s also a legal issue. Anything below 1.5mm tread depth deems your car illegal.

Luckily, ensuring your tread is 1.5mm is easy thanks to a small indicator features on every tyre called the tread wear indicator (TWI). This is indicated by the letters, TWI, on the edge of your tyres – when the tread becomes level with this bar, it’s time to invest in a new set of rubber.

But the tyre tread can tell you more about your tyres than their wear. It’s also an indicator as to whether your tyres are under or over-inflated. If your tyres are under inflated, the shoulder of the tyre, that is, the outside, will be worn more than the centre. While centre wear indicates over inflation.

It’s also important to note that spare tyres that have never been used may also be past their used-by date. Some specialists suggest consulting a specialist every five years to check if the tyre is still in good condition.