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Reading the Tyre Side Wall

Every tyre sidewall shows information about the manufacturer, size, model etc. Here’s a summary of the most important information and what it means. Example: 205 40 R17 84W 205  – means the tyre has a  nominal section width  of 205 millimetres. 40  – is referred to as the  aspect ratio  and is the height of the tyre sidewall as a percentage of the nominal section width. R  – means the tyre has a  radial construction, the most commonly used of three different types of tyre construction: cross ply, radial and bias belted. 17  – means it fits a 17″  diameter  wheel. 84  – is the  load index. This identifies the maximum load capacity of a tyre when driven at maximum speed. Overloading a tyre, by carrying more weight than it is designed to or running at a lower than specified pressure can cause heat build up and blow outs. Load indexes for passenger cars usually range from 70 – 110 and the maximum load per individual tyre is shown in the table below.

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Puncture Repair

Puncture repairs can only be carried out within specific legal guidelines. When assessing a tyre many factors must be taken into account including the location of the puncture, the remaining tread depth, age and deterioration of the tyre rubber, secondary damage caused by the injuring object or by running the tyre flat. This assessment will determine if the tyre can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced, safety being the main priority at all times.

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Tyre damage

Tyres should be checked regularly to ensure there are no visable faults such as cuts, breaks or abrasions and to ensure they have the correct pressure and tread.

By law tyre tread should be at least 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre.

Check regularly to ensure your tyre are legal but most importantly safe to be on the road. We offer free tyre safety checks.

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Tyre Maintenance

Tyre maintenance is crucial for any vehicle owner. Not only is it a legal requirement to have the correct legal depth of tread, it is essential for your safety, your passengers and that of other road users. The condition of your tyres will affect not only safety but the vehicle performance and mechanical wear.

Regardless of whether you’re travelling long or short distances, whether you’re doing the school run or going to work, whether you do 10 miles or 1000 miles a week, please ensure you check your tyres regularly.

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Tread Wear

Car tyres often need to be replaced before their specified life has been reached for many different reasons. If the car has been in an accident or if a tyre picks up a puncture which is unrepairable. However, one of the most common reasons tyres need to be changed more frequently is due to rapid or uneven tread wear.

The most common causes of avoidable tread wear are as follows:

Over inflating – which can cause rapid wear along the centre of the tread

Under inflating – which can cause rapid wear along the edge of the tread

Faulty brakes or shock absorbers – which can cause flat spots around the tread of the tyre

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Wheel Balancing

To keep tread in contact with the road, the wheel and the tyre have to be correctly balanced. Wheel imbalance can cause shaking or vibration through the steering wheel which may noticeably increase with speed. If wheel imbalance is left unchecked it can cause excessive mechanical wear and tread wear.

Wheel balancing is easily corrected using a computerised electronic wheel balancing machine to measure the imbalance. Once calculated, a small metal weight can be added to ensure the correct balance is achieved.

The Law

UK law states that there is a legal minimum of 1.6mm tread for your car tyres with a preferred value of 2mm+. Currently there is a £2,500 fine and 3 penalty points on your license for not having legal tyres. Not sure if your tyres are legal? It’s better to be safe than sorry. If in doubt pop in and we can check your tyres are legal and safe.