Driving basics: Looking out for your tyres

30 Nov 15

Even if you don't have the first idea about car maintenance under the bonnet, one of the simplest ways to keep your car running smoothly is fortunately something that anyone can keep an eye on: the tyres. 

With a few simple precautions, you can ensure the tyres on your car are safe and enabling your car to be as fuel efficient as possible.

The importance of having the right tyre pressure

When your car originally rolled off the production line, the manufacturer will have specified the recommended air pressure for optimum performance. This level is usually found on the inside of the driver's door, or in the owner's manual.

As noted by the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA), tyre pressure can have a significant impact on the handling of your car, and subsequently your fuel efficiency1. Improper pressure could also lead to a diminished life span of your tyres according to the NRMA1

When your tyres are under-inflated and your car is overloaded, this is when tyres can fail, leaving you in a sticky, if not dangerous situation. 

Checking your tyre pressure is easy - most petrol stations have facilities where you can do just this, allowing you to refill your tyres if need be. Aim to do this every second or third time you fill up your car for optimum handling and performance, as well as to keep an eye of for signs of a puncture. 

What should I look out for when inspecting tyres on a used car? 

A CarHistory report can potentially illuminate all sorts of information about a vehicle, but only you can judge the car's tyres in person. 

Tyre manufacturer Michelin notes that signs of uneven wear in abnormal patches around the edge or centre could indicate an underlying problem such as suspension, incorrect wheel alignment and transmission, which could end up costing you more down the line to get fixed2. The company also recommends that any tyres older than five years should be annually checked by a professional to verify they are fit for use2

One of the extreme results of poor tyre maintenance is a blowout, when the tyre itself explodes when you are driving. While this is thankfully something you will never have to experience, when choosing your used car, make sure to inspect the tyres before you hand over the cash.

1NRMA, Tyre pressure. Accessed September, 2015.

2Michelin, When should I change my tyres? Accessed September, 2015.