We’ve written previously about budgeting for tyres and the differences between budget tyres and premium tyres. But many tyres we see in our Darlington workshops need replacing due to the fact that sadly, haven’t been looked after. Many drivers don’t realise that neglecting your tyres can result in them needing replacement many thousands of miles earlier than if they’d had some simple checks undertaken. Looking after your tyres isn’t a time consuming thing. A few simple checks each month can help you keep them in optimum condition and help you spot when something may be going wrong before it becomes too late to rectify.

Here are our top five reasons for premature tyre failure and how to avoid them.

Under Inflation. Probably the single biggest reason for tyres wearing out too soon. It’s easy to forget to check your tyre pressures. Often you don’t have spare change to use the filling station air machines, or it’s simply raining and you want to get home! The best time to check your tyre pressures is at home when you’re washing your car. Tyre pressure gauges are small and inexpensive and you can let it live in your glovebox. It only takes a minute or two and can add months onto the life of your tyres.

Under inflated tyre wear out at the edges. Plenty of tread left in the centre, but the tyre is illegal
Under inflated tyre wear out at the edges. Plenty of tread left in the centre, but the tyre is illegal

Abuse and Neglect This tyre below failed as a result of chronic neglect. It’s a top quality Michelin tyre, will have been a significant cost, yet the owner never checked the tyre pressures. For whatever reason, perhaps a slight valve leak, the tyre pressure fell. Instead of checking it, the owner just kept driving and the tyre failed due to overheating. It need not have happened, there were many thousands of miles left on the tread.

This tyre failed from the inside as the owner just kept on driving even though it was almost flat
This tyre failed from the inside as the owner just kept on driving even though it was almost flat

Over inflation Often, this is due to the owner not understanding the car’s manual. Tyre pressure settings in car owner’s manuals can sometimes be confusing and it can be easy to put too much air in. Over inflated tyres wear out down the centre line as the contact patch is smaller

Driving up kerbs. This one makes us wince when we see it. An average car weighs around one tonne. Can you imagine the stress placed upon a tyre when you drive it at a kerb to park in a narrow street? All of the weight is momentarily hitting just a single point of contact on the tyre, pinching and squeezing it. this causes damage to the sidewall. Sometimes this is visible as a ‘blab’ or bulge in the tyre sidewall, but all too often the damage is invisible until the day it fails. Additionally, you are almost certainly affecting the alignment of your suspension, which brings us to our next favourite.

This tyre wore away on the edge because the car's suspension was out of alignment
This tyre wore away on the edge because the car’s suspension was out of alignment

Badly aligned suspension. Over time, even the best cared for car can have suspension become mis-aligned. But very often, bouncing the car up and down kerbs can cause significant suspension alignment issues. When this happens, the tyres are no longer running at the optimum parallel setting and instead are scrubbing along slightly sideways. This will result in the edge of the tyre wearing out way before the rest of the tread. You can detect the start of this by looking regularly at your tyres. Also, try driving along a flat, straight road and relaxing your grip on the steering wheel. Does your car drift significantly aware from dead ahead? A gentle drift towards the kerb on a cambered road is OK, but if you notice a significant drift, or your steering wheel is slightly off centre, then you have a problem. If so, your tyres will be wearing due to this issue.

Take some time, just one a month and check your tyres and tyre pressures. It’s not a difficult or dirty job and it could save you significant amounts of money.