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How Do I Know When To Change Tyres or Tyres Need Changing?

13 April 2023

How do you know when to change tyres? Although there’s no telling exactly how long a tyre will last, you need to know when wheels need changing. 

Road safety can rely on the performance of your van’s tyres. The lifespan of them is dependent on several factors, for example the design of the tread, driving habits, the weight you are carrying or climate and road conditions.

When To Change Tyres?

If you’re a tradesman on the road, check your tyres regularly. In general, it’s recommended when to change tyres or wheels when they reach a certain level of wear. 

This can be determined by the tread depth. In the UK, the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6 millimetres across the three treads in the centre of the tyre.

Another factor to consider is the age of the tyre. Michelin recommends changing wheels around the five-year mark. The maximum should be 10 years — even if the tyre appears to be in usable condition.

As a general rule, most mechanics say to replace wheels that are more than six years old. Even if the tyre has not been used extensively. This is because the rubber can start to deteriorate over time. Degraded rubber naturally impairs performance and safety.

It’s important to regularly inspect your tyres for signs of wear, damage or deterioration. Knowing what causes damage to tyres can also give you some indication of when to replace them. 

How to Inspect Tyres?

It’s important to regularly inspect your tyres for signs of damage, wear, and tear. The bullet points below will help you on how to know when tyres need changing.

  • Check Tread Depth: Check the tread depth of each tire using a tread depth gauge. Alternatively, you can also use the tread wear indicator bars located in the grooves of your tyres. If the tread depth is less than 2-3 millimetres, it’s time to replace your wheels.
  • Look for Visible Wear and Damage: Check each tyre for signs of visible wear, such as cracking, bulges, or cuts. Also, look for any signs of damage, such as punctures or tears. These can be signs of tyre damage or ageing, and it’s important to replace the tyre if you notice any of these signs.
  • Check Tyre Pressure: Check the tyre pressure using a pressure gauge. Make sure that the pressure is at the recommended level specified in the owner’s manual or on the tyre placard.
  • Check for Uneven Wear: Check for any signs of uneven wear on each tyre. Uneven wear can indicate alignment or suspension problems, which can cause further damage to your tyres and affect your vehicle’s handling.
  • Check for Age: Check the age of your wheels by looking at the date code on the sidewall of the tyre. If they are more than six years old, they should be replaced, even if they appear to be in good condition.

When To Change To Winter Tyres? 

Some experts recommend changing the wheels of your van for the winter months. Knowing when to change to winter tyres in the UK is weather dependent. 

It is generally recommended to switch to winter tyres when the temperature consistently drops below 7°C (45°F). This is because these are designed to remain flexible in colder temperatures. They provide better traction and grip on icy and snowy roads.

Even if there is no snow on the ground, knowing when to change to winter tyres is still beneficial in colder temperatures. They provide better braking and handling on cold, wet roads compared to all-season or summer ones.

It’s important to note that winter tyres are not just for driving in snow and ice. They are designed to improve the performance of your steering, particularly if you’re carrying heavy loads. 

Bear in mind that installing van racking in your van will add extra weight. If your tyres are not at optimal performance, you are risking your safety and the safety of other road users. 

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