How to check your tyres

In this video we explain how to do the most common checks on your vehicles tyres, namely checking you have the right pressure, their overall condition and making sure the tread depth is legal...

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James Baggott: Right, I’m here with Tim Shallcross from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, who’s going to show us how to check a tyre quickly and safely before you set off on a long journey.

So Tim, where do I start?

Tim Shallcross: Well we are looking at three things, condition, tread depth and pressure.

Check the condition

So, condition is a visual inspection, have a look at it, are there any cuts in the side wall, are there any stones or nails or anything like that in the thread – if there are just flick them out – it’s hard to see the inside of the tyre sometimes, but if you put the front one on a tilt you can have a look at it.

So, visual inspection, make sure there is nothing untoward about it.

Check the tread depth

Next thing is tread depth, the law says a legal minimum of 1.6mm, common sense and road safety says, if it’s getting down to 2 or 3mm, get a new tyre.

You can check the tread depth with on one of these depth gauges, you simply slide it down – they cost a few pound or you often get them as giveaway’s – but it’s much easier actually, just use a 2p coin.

The distance between the bottom of the coin and the bottom of the number two is 2mm, so the gives you a nice little depth gauge. Pop it into the tread, if the two is covered up, that means you’ve got more than 2mm of tread depth, the tyre is fine. If you can see the whole of the figure two, you need a new tyre.

Check the pressure

Pressure is really important, now the problem is, in the hand book it give you the right pressure but that usually the pressure when the tyre is cold.

If you drive to a filling station to use their equipment to pump the tyre up, the tyres got warm which means the pressure is higher; effectively you are automatically under inflating it.

So, it’s a good idea to get your own little tyre pressure gauge, they are only a few quid - this one I got at one of these cheap German supermarkets, but they are available all over.

JB: And would you do them in a garage or at home?

TS: Well, at home is far better, and to be perfectly honest you can get one of these little devices, they are available all over - 15 to 20 quid you can get them for when they are on offer – and its ideal, you can check the tyres at home.

You simply dial up the right pressure for the tyre, put that on the tyre and push the button, up its goes, it turns its self-off when the tyre is at the right pressure, it couldn’t be simpler and most important you are doing it at home when the tyres cold so you are getting the right pressure.

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