WHY TYRES NEED REPLACING?
The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, but most tyre manufacturers recommend tyres are changed at 3mm. The reason they recommend this, is because braking performance is greatly reduced as the tyre nears the minimum tread depth.
All new tyres have a tread depth of 8mm. Mileage, how the tyres are driven and poor tyre maintenance have a bearing on the life span of a tyre. So, the need to replace a tyre could be sooner than you think.
How tyres are measured?
Most tyres have tyre wear indicators, see below:
You can also check your tyres' tread depths using a 20p, the tread depth should be measured across the central three quarters of your tyre and at several places around the tyres' circumference. If the rim of the 20p is visible your tyres may be close to or below the legal minimum tread depth.
You could be fined up to £2,500 if you drive with illegal tyres and you may have three penalty points added to your licence per illegal tyre.
You should also check the general condition of your tyres regularly. Cuts, bulges and abrasions can cause damage to the inner fabric, which can weaken the tyre and increase the risk of blow-outs. This kind of damage can make the tyres illegal.
Under-inflated tyres can cause rapid wear to the edges of the tread and over-inflated tyres can cause rapid wear to the tread centre. Uneven tyre wear can also make the tyres illegal, so please remember to check tyre pressures regularly.
Are your Tyres Safe?
Please listen to the advice from TyreSafe in the video below and stay safe on our roads.
WHAT TYRES DO I NEED?
There are so many different types of tyres, cheap tyres, mid-range tyres, premium tyres, 4x4 tyres, summer tyres, winter tyres, all-season tyres, run-flat tyres, but which tyres do you need?
Some people want to maximise their car's performance, some people look for value for money, some people are very concerned with safety, some people want comfort, some people want tyres to be fuel efficient and some people just like to stick to the same brand. Whichever type of tyre you prefer, we sell a huge range at extremely competitive prices.
To help you choose the right tyres for your vehicle, we would like to explain the difference between each type of tyre which is currently available in the tyre market, read below…
What are Summer Tyres?
Summer tyres are very popular amongst motorists in the UK, as we generally have a milder climate. These make a perfect choice for driving in weather conditions that don't fluctuate a lot and for short spells of very cold weather. If you want Summer tyres, search your tyre size, select your wheel size, then filter by Season.
What are Winter Tyres?
Winter tyres are a very good choice if you travel a lot during the cold weather. They are made to perform best in cold, wet and icy conditions, and temperatures under 7°C.
Winter tyres' tread patterns are different and help disperse more water, giving you better grip in cold weather and reduces the chance of your car aquaplaning. If you want Winter tyres, search your tyre size, select your wheel size, then filter by Season.
What happens when you aquaplane?
Video reproduced courtesy of TyreSafe
What are All-Season Tyres?
All Season tyres are exactly what their title suggests, they are good for all seasons, offering excellent performance during the summer and winter. If you want All-season tyres, search your tyre size, select your wheel size, then filter by Season.
What are Run-Flat Tyres?
help with driver safety after a puncture. Technology within the tyre allows you to drive on safely after a puncture for up to about 50 miles, at a reduced speed. Run-flats are protected and don't suffer the usual effects of a deflated tyre, this means there is no need to stop and change your tyre at the roadside. If you want Run-Flat tyres, search your tyre size, select your wheel size, then filter by Run Flat.
We recommend the award winning DriveGuard Tyre from Bridgestone.
What tyres to buy?
We sell a huge range of budget, mid-range and premium brand tyres, across 20 different tyre manufacturers, choosing might seem daunting, but with our simple to use tyre finder you will find the right tyre, at the right price to suit your budget.
Which tyres are best?
Vehicle manufacturers would recommend OE tyres, which stands for original equipment. These are tyres that are designed with the vehicle and are rigorously tested to produce maximum driving performance. Although, there are many tyres in the market that would also be suitable for your vehicle. Often drivers change their tyres to suit weather conditions, changing from Summer to Winter tyres during the cold weather.
What tyres fit my wheels?
Tyre sizes can be found on the sidewall of your tyres, some vehicles have different sizes front and back, but will always have the same size across the same axle, so please make sure you know the correct size when purchasing.
Simply enter your registration or tyre size into the search here, don't forget to check your load index and speed rating and choose from the options provided.
If you need more help, please don't hesitate to contact our knowledgeable customer service team on 0800 731 0133, we're open 24 hours Monday to Saturday. We also have a chat live facility.
CAN TYRES BE REPAIRED?
This is a frequently asked question and the answer will be dependent on what has caused the tyre to need repairs.
Damage to the tyre caused by pot holes and kerbing
Tyres can be easily damaged by pot holes and clipping kerbs, these should be checked as soon as possible, as they could have dangerous damage, which could cause handling issues and an increased risk of tyre failure. Often tyres damaged by clipping kerbs will need to be re-aligned.
If you have damage to the tyre casing, which includes cuts and abrasions, these can penetrate through to the inner fabric and would be extremely dangerous. This damage increases your risk of blow-outs and we would advise that you drive slowly and change your tyre ASAP.
So, damage to the tyre casing, sidewall and outer edge of tyres cannot be repaired.
Buy a new tyre for your vehicle here.
Can tyre punctures be repaired?
This really depends on what has caused the puncture.
If you have a puncture caused by a nail or sharp object, this can often be repaired safely, providing the damage is in the area marked T on the image below. With the exception of Run-flat tyres, please see info below this section.
Please note tyres will not be repaired if they are below the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, if the tyre is showing signs of rubber deterioration, there is bead damage, exposed cords or poor previous repairs. Our advice is to change your tyres, quickly, as these are dangerous to drive on and will be classed as illegal tyres and you don’t want to risk a fine or points on your licence. Click on this link to see how to check your tyres' tread depth.
Can tyres go flat without a puncture?
Yes, they can.
Faulty valves are the most common cause of flat tyres without a puncture.
You could also have a poor seal around the tyre and the wheel rim, causing air to leak out.
If your tyre keeps going flat without a puncture, we strongly advise that you take your vehicle to a tyre specialist for checking.
Can Run-Flat tyres be repaired?
The major manufacturers advise against repairing Run-flat tyres. Punctures to Run-flat tyres can damage the structure of the tyre, as these tyres can be driven on longer with a puncture, making it difficult for a tyre technician to tell how long the tyre has been driven on and at what speed. Damage to the structure of the tyre can be dangerous and result in a complete tyre failure.
Find your tyre replacement here and get it fitted at a local fitting centre near you.
WHY TYRES WEAR ON THE OUTSIDE EDGE?
There are quite a number of reasons why tyres wear on the outside edge, this may be caused by under-inflated tyres, the wheel alignment is out or dare we say it, the way you drive your car round corners.
Under-inflated tyres cause a host of problems, including accelerated wear on the outside edges and the longer the tyre is driven on low pressures, the quicker they can wear down and become illegal.
If you don't know the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle let us help find these for you. Simply enter your registration number here.
Hitting kerbs, potholes, driving too quickly over speed bumps and even normal wear and tear can cause wheel alignment problems. When wheels are re-aligned, the angles are adjusted to make the wheels parallel to each other. Wheel alignment can also be called tracking. Wheels that are misaligned can cause rapid and uneven tyre wear.
The most common signs of poor wheel alignment. are uneven wear to the inner or outer edges of your tyres and steering pulling to one side, causing you to drift or wander off course.
If you suspect your wheels are misaligned, then we would advise you to get these checked immediately, simply add a wheel alignment to your next tyre purchase at the checkout basket
Which tyres wear faster?
It tends to be the front tyres that wear the fastest. When you turn right the front left tyre works the hardest and the bulk of the vehicle’s weight is transferred to the left tyre. It is worth remembering that in the UK we have lots of roundabouts, so we have more right turns.
In front wheel drive vehicles, the front tyres are responsible for transmitting acceleration, steering, including parking and are also used for most of the braking forces. Normally tyres are changed in pairs, two front or two back and the patterns must be the same.
ARE TYRES PART OF MOT?
Yes, tyres are part of MOT tests.
During the MOT test your vehicle’s tyres will be inspected for their general condition, tyre size and type, whether they are fitted correctly, tread depths and tyre pressures.
General tyre condition check
Your car will fail the MOT test if your tyres have dangerous defects, which include bulges, cuts and whether the rubber is perishing. It is very important to check your tyres for defects regularly, especially after hitting pot holes and clipping kerbs, as defects can increase the risk of blow-outs.
Tyre size and type check
Your car will fail the MOT test if you have incorrect tyre sizes and types for your vehicle. Tyre sizes can be found on the outside wall of your tyres and are usually listed in your handbook. Please remember to check the load index and speed rating when replacing your tyres.
You will also fail the MOT test if you have different tread patterns across the same axle. Find the correct tyres for your vehicle here. You can search by vehicle registration, tyre size, car type or tyre manufacturer.
Search by TYRE SIZE
You will need to make sure your tyres are fitted correctly and all wheel nuts are tightened. After fitting new tyres, it is normally advisable to have these checked again after driving 50 miles.
Tread depths check
Your tyres will fail the MOT test if the tread depth is below the legal minimum depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre. Most tyre manufacturers recommend changing tyres at 3mm, as lower tread depths have less grip, increasing your risk of aquaplaning, increasing your stopping distances and increasing your risk of car accidents.
This short 360° video created by TyreSafe demonstrates the dangers of low tyre tread depths.
It is very easy to check your tread depths at home, by using the 20p test. Insert the 20p coin into the tread grooves, legal tyres will cover the 20p outer edge, but if your tyres’ tread shows the 20p outer edge, they may be near to or under the legal limit, see images below. Don’t forget to check across the central three quarters of the tyre.
Driving with illegal tyres could result in a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points on your driving licence for each illegal tyre.
As from 20th May 2018, under-inflated tyres will fail the MOT test.
It is really important to check your tyre pressures regularly, as incorrect tyre pressures cause a host of problems and increase your risk of accidents. We recommend you check tyre pressures at least once a month, every month.
When tyre pressures are too low the tyre sidewalls are compromised and the tyre flexes too much, creating higher internal temperatures, which increases the chance of tyre blow-outs.
Under-inflated tyres also increase fuel consumption, due to increased friction, also known as rolling resistance.
Under-inflated tyres will also decrease the life span of your tyres, even as much as 35%.
Over-inflated tyres reduce the contact with the road, reducing your grip and making your ride more uncomfortable. Over-inflation can cause uneven tyre wear, especially to the centre of the tread.
If your vehicle is fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), this must be working, otherwise this will also result in a MOT failure.
Tyre pressures can be found in your vehicle’s handbook, in the sill of the driver’s door and often inside the fuel cap. We can also help you find the Tyre Pressures for your vehicle, simply enter your registration number number here. Please bear in mind, that tyre pressures will need to be adjusted depending on your vehicle load.
What happens when you have incorrect tyre pressures?
This short video courtesy of TyreSafe demonstrates what happens when you drive on incorrect tyre pressures and why it is important to check your TPMS is working.
HOW TYRES ARE MANUFACTURED?
Making tyres is literally an art. Up to 30 different ingredients go into the manufacturing process of making tyres, depending on the performance requirements. We explain the different parts of a tyre and the manufacturing processes below:
THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF A TYRE
The tyre’s skeleton is made up of layers of fabric called plies. The fabric’s cord fibres are woven together and coated with rubber. Plies are placed above the inner lining of the tyre, strengthening the tyre’s structure.
Ultra-strong steel coated rubbers are called the beads and form an airtight seal between the tyre and the wheel rim.
Steel belts made of steel wire woven sheets are placed around the tyre, to provide rigidity and reinforce the strength. Sometimes a cord called Kevlar can be added, making the tyre even stronger, increasing durability and can make the tyre puncture resistant.
The sidewall has extra thick rubber running from the bead to the tread, to make the tyre laterally stable. This is also where manufacturers put information about the tyre, i.e., tyre size, tyre model etc.
The shoulder of the tyre is the bevelled edge where the sidewall meets the tread. It plays a very important role in how the tyre performs taking corners.
Tyre treads can have different patterns and is the only area that makes contact with the road. Depending on the design and compound selected, it provides grip and cushioning and is one of the most important performance and safety features of the tyre.
Tyre Sipes and Grooves
These are the tread blocks grooves. The deep grooves help disperse water, ice, snow and mud and the smaller grooves (Sipes) give extra grip, especially in ice and snow.
THE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES
Different types of rubber are blended with fillers and various ingredients, which are mixed in giant blenders to create a black gummy compound, this mixture will then be sent to the next process milling.
After the rubber has cooled, it is cut into strips and this will form the basic tyre structure. During this stage, other elements are prepared for the tyre, and some are coated with other types of rubber.
At this stage, the tyre begins to take shape and is constructed from the inside out. Other elements including textile, ply, beads, steel, belts, tread and various other components are put into a tyre-building machine. At this stage the tyre looks almost finished and is referred to as a ‘green tyre’.
The ‘green tyre’ is moved to a curing machine, where hot moulds vulcanise the tyre and all the parts are compressed to form the final shape, tread patterns and sidewall markings.
At the final stage, the tyres will be inspected by quality control engineers before they are allowed to be shipped. They are checked for imperfections and some tyres are put through an x-ray machine to check for potential weaknesses.
Pirellidemonstrates the art of making tyres:
Finding the right car tyres for your vehicle at Tyre Shopper is a simple process and we want you to know that we compare our prices every week to ensure that our tyre prices cannot be beaten! Simply enter your registration number or tyre size here.
WHY ARE TYRES BLACK?
You will be surprised to know how many people ask this question and how many people actually don’t know that tyres used to be white! Well in answer to the question ‘why are tyres black’ the simple answer is ‘carbon black’.
Rubber is naturally white in colour and this is why the first rubber car tyres were white. White rubber car tyres date back to the late 1800s and were still around to as late as the mid-1900s.
As cars developed, it was soon apparent that the white tyres were not great at adhering to the road and didn’t last very long. Manufacturers started adding soot to their tyre compounds and this increased the tyre’s life and road traction, and changed the tyre rubber to the colour ‘black’.
As more research into the durability of a tyre was done, carbon black replaced the soot and introducing this to the tyre compound dramatically increased the tyre’s strength, durability and road safety.
Carbon black also goes into other products like plastics, belts, hoses, adhesives, inks and paints, but is most commonly used in tyre rubber. It was originally produced organically by charring materials like bone or wood.
These days carbon black goes through a manufacturing process, using gaseous or liquid hydrocarbons, like oil or coal. The carbon black chemical compound is great for conducting heat, especially away from the tyre’s tread, which get extremely hot during driving, this adds considerable life to the tyre and increases safety.
Carbon black also helps protect tyres from UV light damage, even when your vehicle is stationary.
Tyre compounds are constantly being updated and are manufactured for different road use and road conditions.
Thanks to Goodyear Tyres for helping us explain 'why are tyres black?.
CAN TYRES BE RECYCLED?
Yes, tyres can be recycled.
There are around 50 million vehicle tyres discarded each year in the UK, which are usually collected from tyre businesses by licensed waste recycling companies. Our tyre fitting centres send all tyres for recycling.
Most old tyres are granulated to make chippings and then are recycled to make sports surfaces, playgrounds, carpet underlays, garden mulch and are often added to road surfaces.
Sometimes old tyres go through a process called baling and compacting, this process reduces the waste volume and this type of waste is often used in construction for foundations and drainage etc.
Recycled tyres can also be used for fuel. The tyres are converted into oil using pyrolysis technology, which is a thermal decomposition process produced by very high temperatures and is often sold for heating furnaces.
There are also other uses for old tyres, which doesn’t involve a mechanical recycling process. Tyres can be used as bumpers on track race courses and go-kart circuits etc.
Sometimes people use old tyres in playgrounds as swings, climbing frames, mini circuits and seats, or they can be used to make garden planters and tables.
Picture credit Upcycled Wonders.
There are some very creative people who make sculptures out of tyres. Check out some amazing sculptures created by Blake McFarland for Goodyear Tyres in the video below: