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Tyre tread and buying the right tyres

Keeping your car in overall good condition is vital for road safety. However, ensuring that your tyres are well maintained is particularly important as they are the only thing which brings your car into direct contact with the road. You should ideally be checking all four tyres for tread wear, general condition and pressure every 2-3 weeks. Don’t forget to include your spare tyre in those checks as well.

Why is the tyre tread so important?

Your tyres are the only thing which grip the road as you drive. Your car relies on its tyres to come to a safe halt and not enter dangerous, slippery skids. Once the tread depth has reached 3mm then it’s time to think about replacing the tyre in order to maintain optimum braking performance. The legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm around the full circumference of the tyre and then across the central ¾ breadth. Legally, if these requirements are not met then it can result in a large fine and your licence being endorsed with penalty points which could affect your insurance premium as a new driver.

Choosing the right tyres for your car

Buying the correct tyres depends on the age, make and model of your vehicle. You need to establish the right size and consider what type of vehicle you drive. There are different, specific tyres for 4x4s, vans, cars and camper vans. Within your choice range you will then have options as to the quality of tyre that you buy. This will range from very high quality, premium tyres right down to the budget end of the spectrum. Which ones you go for depends on a number of factors and you should consider the quality that you need. This depends on your driving habits, the distance you typically cover and the terrain you drive over. Don’t forget to check that you’ve put down an accurate estimate for the number of miles that you travel each year for your car insurance policy.

Premium tyres

These more expensive, premium quality tyres have benefitted from extensive research and stringent safety testing. They also have:

– Better fuel economy
– Better stopping distances
– Lower noise levels
– A better grip, especially important in inclement weather

They normally last between 15,000-20,000 miles.

Mid-range tyres

These tyres can represent great value for money if your driving habits are not too excessive or extreme. They can also be relied upon to have a comparatively long life span.

Budget tyres

In the summer budget tyres will have almost the same performance as premium tyres. However once winter arrives, that is a very different story and these tyres can sometimes mean compromising car safety on the road. They also usually last just 7,000-8,000 miles. This makes cheaper tyres a sensible choice for some, depending on how much driving you do, but if you do long distances, especially over the winter period, then it may be better to look at slightly more upmarket tyres.

Ultimately, your choice of tyres can represent one of the most important purchases that you will make for your car. Choose sensibly and enjoy the knowledge that you – and your car – are safe on the roads.