How To Check Your Tyres (Condition And Pressure)​

With poorly maintained tyres being the main cause of road accidents in the UK, how to check the condition of our tyres is something that all of us as drivers should learn, if not simply for our peace of mind, for the safety of ourselves, our passengers and other road users.

Tyres have a direct impact on car performance, comfort, and fuel efficiency. Here’s how you can complete a tyre pressure check and tyre tread depth maintenance with ease. ​

When Should Tyres Be Checked?

How often you need to check your tyres will depend on a few variables, including how often you drive, how far you travel, and the conditions that you drive in. As a rule of thumb, though, most drivers will benefit from checking their tyres on a monthly basis and before any major road trips. UK tyre laws state that;

  • Tyre tread must be at least 1.6mm.
  • Tyres must be inflated to their recommended psi.
  • No tyres above 25mm must be present.
  • Failure to comply with those regulations can lead to fines of up to £10,000 (£2,500 per tyre) and license penalties. Car insurance claims could also be invalidated while you may encounter increased car repairs.

    In short, if you feel that your tyres need checking, it’s best to complete the task - not least because it delivers peace of mind.

    Close up of a tyre

    How To Check Tyres In Three Easy Steps

    Knowing when tyres should be checked is one thing, but knowing how to do it is another altogether. When you have a genuine problem with your tyres or wheels, a solution can be found as a part of your vehicle servicing routines. However, most aspects of tyre maintenance can be completed by any competent driver. Focus on the three steps below and you won’t go wrong.

    Visual Inspections

    Firstly, you can complete a quick and easy visual inspection of the tyres. Noticeable bumps, lumps, and cuts need further investigation. Meanwhile, you may notice that the tyre looks flat on the ground if the tyre pressure is too low.

    As well as visual elements, you may have noticed changes to the way the car feels when driving as a result of lost tyre pressure or other damage.

    How To Check Tyre Pressure

    Tyre pressure determines how firm the wheels feel while driving, and is measured in psi. Different cars will require tyres to be kept at varying levels, and you should consult your manual to find out the right level for your vehicle. You can use a home gauge or the tyre pressure gauge found at a garage or petrol station. Either way, the tyre pressure check can be completed by;

    • Allowing your tyres to cool for an accurate reading.
    • Unscrewing the valve cap on the tyre and attaching the gauge.
    • Once the gauge beeps, take note of the number.
    • If lower than the necessary level, pump the tyres.
    • Put the cap back on and repeat the process for all four tyres.

    Conversely, if the psi is too high, you’ll need to deflate them instead.

    How To Check Tyre Tread Depth

    Tyre treads are responsible for providing grip on the road, especially when it's wet. It should ideally be at least 3mm (although the legal requirement is only 1.6mm). Whether it happens due to potholes or general wear and tear doesn’t matter, you’ll need to replace the tyres. Here’s how you can test whether this is needed;

    • Place a 20p coin in the tread grooves.
    • If the rim fully disappears from view, you’re fine.
    • If it half disappears, you may want to consider a change quite soon.
    • Should the “TWENTY PENCE” text stay visible, you need new tyres.

    Alternatively, if you’re unsure, you can always contact Swansway Group for further advice.