The summer months are now upon us and time spent ensuring your rubber is ready for action will pay dividends in the long run.
It’s tempting to just roll a car or motorbike out of the garage, check the pressures and top up the oil, and then head off -but, given the essential nature of tyres, there are some easy actions that will help ensure that your drives this year are memorable for all the right reasons.
Proper planning prevents poor performance
Think back to the last time you used your vehicle, and then consider how long those tyres have been fitted. You’ll hopefully understand the importance of replacing aged rubber, but it’s easy to lose track on just when they were bought.
Also consider how long the vehicle has been sat idle for, and did you use a cradle to help keep the tyre’s shape? You may have deliberately over inflated the tyres before storing (a good tip to help avoid flat spots). In any event, check and adjust pressures accordingly and then measure again a week later – you’ll then know if there’s the chance of a slow puncture.
Inspect inspect, inspect
When you get your vehicle out in the fresh air, this is the ideal opportunity to inspect the tyres properly. Vehicles over 40 years old don’t require an MOT, but that means they may miss out on a thorough inspection. As a result, you’ll need to consider not only tread depth, but also wear across the face, deep gouges, or scrapes, as well as bulges in the sidewalls. It’s also worth checking the inside edge of a car’s tyres, as tracking issues could mean the shoulders are ruined.
If you do need to find new tyres, make sure to shop around. Changing tyres in pairs is also worth strong consideration (even if one may not be completely worn) and selecting the cheapest brand may not save you money long term. Purists may select tyres that are considered the same as those originally fitted, but they can cost noticeably more.
Hit the road
Once you’re on the move, give some thought to the cars handling – does it feel as sharp as it should? Older cars can be a little woolly but, because they’re not driven regularly, it’s easy to miss subtle changes over time. If you think there is an issue, it may be worth getting the wheels’ balanced (the weights do fall off) and the tracking checked. Even small discrepancies can affect a car’s handling, especially for sports and performance models, and issues will result in faster tyre wear.
Finally, keep your eyes peeled for potholes. The weather over the last 12 months has taken its toll on road quality – especially near the gutter, so try and avoid the deepest. Not only will your alignment take a battering, but it’s easy to tear a sidewall if you’re caught out.
Do you have any tips we've missed from this list? Leave them in the comments below!