As the only part of a vehicle in constant and direct contact with the pavement, tires play a vital role in your road safety. A large chunk of traffic accidents, fatal or otherwise, occur due to tire fallacies – this is why their maintenance is crucial, not only as a compliment to yourself and your pocket, but as a matter of safety for your passengers, as well as for other road users.
The dangers of using inadequate tires can manifest in terms of reduced road handling, aquaplaning, increased braking distances and many other problems.
First and foremost, it is the driver’s obligation to make sure their vehicle meets that which is stated by law. Each country has its own specifications with regards to tread depth, tire sizes and other technicalities.
What is common all around the globe, however, is that tires have to be the right type and size for your vehicle, they have to be properly inflated, free from defects and tear and they have to have a minimum of 1.6 mm of tread depth.
Should you fail to meet these conditions, you might face a hefty fine, perhaps even up to 3 months in prison – and this is more than appropriate a punishment, seeing as how you are not only putting your own life in danger, but that of others on the road, in addition to your passengers.
Tires are divided into three basic categories:
Winter tires: With tread patterns which are specifically designed to provide more grip on snow and ice and softer rubber so that they can remain more flexible in the cold, winter tires are widely recommended, regardless how low the amounts of snow expected for the winter to come are.
Summer tires: Despite their name, these tires are not made solely for summertime use. Rougher rubber provides less fuel wasting with regards to these. This means decreased pollution; and if you are careful about where you throw away your used tires (more on this at Tyreright), you are looking at turning more green and environmentally aware by the minute.
All-season tires: These tires are designed for international travel. Able to cope with all weather conditions, whether the roads are dry or soaked, all-season tires are a perfect solution for any car tourist.
In order to stay safe in addition to saving up a whole bunch, you need to check your tires frequently. Here are a couple of key points to look out for with regards to keeping your car road-worthy and safe:
Make visual inspections: This should be done daily – if something looks weird, it is probably out of place.
Always check for wear: You can do this with a tread depth gauge (these can be found cheap online). If there’s less than a minimum of 2 mm of tread left in the center of the tread, as well as at each side of it, the tires should be replaced.
Check the pressure: Whether you’ve opted for buying pressure gauges, or if you’re in a habit of visiting your local garage and using the air pump there, maintaining the correct tire pressure is vital for road safety.
Each car has its own specifications when it comes to recommended tire pressure. Checks should be done on a regular basis, seeing as how pressure has a tendency to drop over time. Additionally, pressure checking can warn you of potential slow punctures.
By following these guidelines, you are looking at not only saving up on cash, but also at improving road safety in general. As mentioned, tires are the only part of a road vehicle that is in constant contact with the ground (at least if everything goes according to plan), so doing regular maintenance is vital for any vehicle type.