Cardiff is surprisingly close to London given that it is the capital city of a different country – just over three hours drive. But no matter how far you are driving or the quality of the roads, you should always make sure that your tyres are in great condition before you set off. Here are five things to look for when changing your tyres.
Replace Like for Like
Make sure you choose replacement tyres that match the tyres originally fitted to the car. All tyres might look superficially alike, but there is a code embossed into each tyre that will let you know everything important about that tyre: its exact dimensions, year and week of manufacture, weight and speed limits and more. Your owner’s manual (or the internet) will let you know which tyres are best for your make and model of vehicle, so you can choose wisely. Tyres of the wrong size can, at worst, damage your car, and, at ‘best’, cause excess wear and tear to both the tyres and your wheels and suspension.
What Quality Can You Afford?
Tyres come in three groups: budget, regular and premium – or, another way to phrase it is ‘basic, better, best’, with a nod to The Antiques Roadshow! And this is a good way to describe these tyres: budget tyres are cheap and cheerful, very basic, but will do the job and are certainly better than risking an accident in worn tyres. Regular tyres are mass-produced using fairly up-to-date means, and premium tyres enjoy the benefits of all the latest in engineering and manufacturing innovation. Always buy the best quality tyres that you can comfortably afford: the more expensive tyres do go some way to mitigating their cost by lasting much longer than their cheaper counterparts.
Wear Patterns in the Old Tyres
Examine your old tyres when they have been removed (or ask your mechanic to do it for you). This can give you an insight into your driving, the condition of the roads you regularly use, and even alert you to signs of imminent breakdown. Tyres should wear evenly on the contact surface, and not show signs of strain in any one place on the rubber. In case you are travelling somewhere in London, you can benefit from London’s top tyre fitters: DAT Tyres; where you can choose a variety of different tyre options on their website.
Look for Signs of Damage
Before replacing your tyres – in fact, you should get into the habit of regularly examining your tyres for signs of damage so you can quickly spot and remedy small issues before they have the chance to become big ones – check the tyres carefully, looking for any signs of damage. Knowing that your tyres have – for example – been scraped along the sidewall, can be a learning moment, encouraging you to park a little further from the curb when parallel parking. The best way to make sure your tyres last a long time in good condition is to drive with care and attention at all times.
Balance and Align
Once your new tyres have been fitted, it is always worthwhile paying the extra to have the wheels balanced and the tyres aligned. Wheel balancing ensures that the weight of your car is spread evenly over the four wheels, so that no single tyre is taking more weight than it should be. Alignment means fitting the tyres onto the axle in such a way that they sit exactly crosswise to the axle – which in turn means that they will pull together, all their energy invested in pushing the car forward rather than resisting the axle and the opposing push or pull of misaligned tyres.
With new tyres correctly fitted, you will soon be leaving the hustle of London in your rearview mirror as you head to modern and thriving Cardiff, city of castles, to enjoy your business trip or leisure break – with the peace of mind that comes with new tyres.