We might not give much thought to them when driving down the road, but our car tyres are constantly working hard to keep us safe. Even if your vehicle has traction control, skid prevention and anti-lock brakes, nothing can compensate for badly damaged, worn-out or incorrect car tyres.
However, tyre maintenance isn’t just important for safety, but also for the general well-being of your car. If youre driving on worn out tyres, theres a good chance youre causing damage to your vehicle, not to mention your drive quality.
But how can you check your tyre pressure, and how do you know when its time to inflate? Again, how do you change a tyre and prevent punctures from occurring? To help out, we’ve put together a handy and simple guide to tyre maintenance. Take a look below.
Checking tyre pressure
In addition to carrying out visual inspections for signs of wear and tear, an essential part of tyre maintenance is keeping a close eye on air pressure. Under-inflated tyres can be the cause of blow-outs due to the increased heat and fiction they encounter. However, overinflated tyres aren’t good either, as they can be susceptible to damage from potholes and bumpy roads.
Therefore, you should check your tyres air pressure at least once a month. The correct PSI (pounds per square inch) should be listed in your owners manual, on the driver side door panel or inside your fuel flap.
Most petrol stations will have a high-quality air-pressure gauge to measure your tyres PSI. Simply unscrew your dust caps, place the gauge over the valve ensuring there is a tight seal between both, and measure the pressure. You can then add or release air as necessary.
How to change a flat tyre
First of all, the following equipment is essential or highly recommended:
- A jack
- A wheel wrench
- A spare wheel
- A warning triangle
- A cloth
- Make sure your car is in a safe location away from any traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and place your warning triangle at least 45 metres behind the vehicle.
- Remove any cover or cap to gain access to the wheel nuts and give them a slight turn to the left with your wrench. Then, place your jack under the jacking point (the location of which can be found in your owners manual) nearest the wheel. You must ensure this is correct to avoid damage or an unstable lift. Turn the jack handle to raise the wheel completely off the ground. You can then remove the wheel nuts and the tyre.
- Lift the spare onto the mounting surface and tighten the wheel nuts by hand. After the first nut, tighten the one opposite and keep going round to ensure an even alignment is achieved.
- Turn the jack handle to lower the car until the wheel hits the ground then remove the jack from underneath. Use your wrench to tighten up the wheel nuts and ensure everything is secure. Drive with caution at first and if using a space saver spare wheel, dont exceed its recommended speed limit.
How to avoid flat tyres
Even though flat tyres are somewhat inevitable for most motorists, you can reduce the risk of punctures and blow-outs through good maintenance and sensible driving. The main preventative measures are:
- Avoiding roads with rough surfaces
- Looking for hazards while driving
- Checking your tyre pressures regularly
- Checking for uneven wear and good tread regularly
- Not overloading your vehicle
We hope that this guide has given you a good introduction to tyre maintenance. If youre still unsure about changing a tyre or checking your air pressure, dont worry. Just get in touch with your local Bristol Street Motors dealership, and well be happy to help you out with whatever you need to know.