5 Mar 2018
HOW TO TELL WHEN IT'S TIME FOR NEW TYRES
The lifespan and distance you’ll get from your tyres depend on a number of things: your driving habits, your local climate and road conditions, the design of the tyre itself and how well it is maintained. Here are our top four ways to know when it’s time to replace your tyres, plus some tips on getting the best life out of them.
Length of time
After 5 years, if they’re still good, make a point of having them inspected thoroughly annually.
At 10 years it’s time to change them. Rubber is a natural material so it will degrade over time. No matter how worn (or not worn), 10 years after manufacture is the use-by date for tyres and we recommend replacing them all at this stage. This includes the spare. It’s easy to forget but if it is over 10 years old you need a new one.
To find out when your tyres were manufactured look for the DOT code on your tyre. It will appear on the sidewall of the tyre as the letters ‘DOT’ followed by a sequence of letters and numbers (eg. DOT PJAH D21V 3012). The last four numbers are the date; the second two are the year it was made, the first two are the week of that year. In the example above, 3012 means the tyres were made in the 30th week of 2012. This system only appears on tyres manufactured after 2000. If you see three letters and a triangle it means your tyres were made before then and it’s definitely time for new ones.
New tyres are needed if the tread is worn down to the minimum tread depth levels. 1.5mm is the legal minimum but you’ll often find that wear is not equal across the whole tyre so while one part of it might look ok, another part might be below the minimum. Also, a bare minimum is not an ideal level to aim for. We recommend getting new tyres before then. Tyres have wear indicators in between the grooves. When it gets down to those it’s time to book EasyTyre. To locate your wear indicators look for a small triangle symbol or the letters TWI on the shoulder of the tyre, the tyre wear indicators will be directly in from these symbols.
Any hole in the tread greater than 6 mm in diameter will also require replacement.
Check the bead (the edge of the tyre that sits on the wheel) and sidewall for fraying or splitting. If you notice any, change immediately!
Sidewall bubbles or bulges indicate structural damage and that air is leaking from the inside into the body of the tyre. They damage the sidewall cords and significantly weaken the tyre. Most bulges are caused by impact damage. When you go over a sharp or hard object in the road the force from the weight and speed of the car is concentrated in one small area, compressing the tyre so that the inside of the sidewall pinches and splits causing a small hole in the inside liner layer. They cannot be fixed and full replacement is necessary as soon as possible. It’s probably a good idea to switch to your spare as soon as you see a bubble.
It doesn’t feel right
Pay attention to the how your car and tyres feel when you’re driving. If you’re noticing it’s a bit rough, this could mean your tyres are damaged or worn and in need of changing.
Increased vibrations or other disturbances could also indicate a serious issue. If your car is shaking pretty bad, pull over right away (or when you can do so safely) and check your tyres. Replace a damaged tyre with your spare. If you can’t spot any damage it’s worth getting it checked by a professional.
What damages tyres?
- Wear and damage from driving over potholes, obstacles, kerbs, sharp objects, speed bumps
- Extreme temperatures, heat, rain, snow and ice
- Incorrect tyre alignment
- Oil, grease and other chemicals
- Strong sunlight and ozone
- Quick starts and emergency braking
- Driving on damaged roads
- Neglecting air pressure
- Unbalanced tyres
- Mixing tyre types
- Using incompatible wheel and rim sizes
- Tyres that don’t have speed capability and load index as the OE tyres
- Re-inflating a tyre that has been run flat or seriously underinflated
When inspecting your tyres, check for:
- The right air pressure (read our blog on this)
- Shallow or uneven tread
- Troublemakers (rocks, nails, etc.)
- Damaged areas (remember to check the sidewall and bead as well as the tread)
- Damaged valve caps
How to make them last longer:
- Proper care expands the lifespan of a tyre so ensure you have the correct air pressure once a month.
- Give your tyres a once over at the same time as checking the air.
- CHECK YOUR SPARE!
- Make sure they are properly aligned and balanced.
- If your car has OE tyres (this stands for original equipment, the tyres installed at manufacture) follow the maker’s tyre replacement recommendations.
- Rotate them. Tyres wear at different rates depending where on the car they are. Rear wheel drive cars will wear out the back wheels faster so why not switch them around every 5000km.