Four patches of rubber on your tyre each about the size of an adult hand are the only parts of the car in touch with the road so having the right tyres, in good condition and correctly inflated is important for your safety.
Regular checks and maintenance help to make tyres last longer, and keep you on the right side of the law.
The manufacturers of cars work closely with tyre manufacturers to select the size and tread pattern that will best suit a new car. There are many factors taken into consideration including styling, handling and noise.
Try to stick to the same size and type of tyre (and ideally the same brand and tread pattern) when renewing tyres. Changing brand or pattern could mean more tyre noise and could affect the handling.
New tyres to the front or rear?
Always check your vehicle handbook first as some give specific advice for the model.
It is good practice to fit the best or newest tyres at the rear. This favours understeer rather than oversteer, especially in wet conditions.
If you have the front tyres renewed have the rear ones moved to the front and the new tyres fitted to the rear.
Tyres with deep tread are less likely to puncture, plus it is more difficult to control a car with a damaged rear tyre.
Legal requirements for tyres
- Tyres must be in good physical condition
- Tyres should be compatible with others on the car
- Inflate tyres to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure
- Tread depth must be above the legal minimum
For passenger cars this is 1.6mm on a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference
You will be interested to know that you do not HAVE to carry a spare, and that spare doesn’t have to meet legal requirements while it’s stowed away. However, please note: it could affect your breakdown cover if you do not have one in good working order.