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changing a tyre

The ultimate guide on how to change your tyres

Having your tyres inspected by a professional is the best way to find out if you need new tyres, but you can check them yourself.

Tyre treads need to be at least 34mm deep to meet UK safety standards. It is advisable to replace your tyres if they do not meet or are approaching the 3/4 standard. Optimal performance and safety also require that tyres are free of sidewall damage and irregular wear. Another important factor that needs consideration is the type of damage the tyre undergoes in its normal wear and tear. This will help better inform your decision to replace a tyre or not.

By performing a visual inspection, you can determine whether your tyres need to be replaced. You should start by looking at the tread of the tyre, which makes contact with the road surface. The tyre tread should be deep enough and worn evenly across the entire surface without any irregularities. There are tread wear indicators built into all regulated tyres commonly referred to as wear bars that let you know when the tread is wearing thin. You can find these indicators in various places throughout the tread, and they will be even with the tread surface when the tread has worn down to 3/4 of an inch. Additionally, you should inspect each tyre's sidewall to ensure there are no visible damages.

Conduct a 20p test

If you can see the bottom outer rim of the 20p coin from side-on when inserted into the shallowest part of the tyre - or more precisely, if you can insert the outer rim of the coin, which measures 2.7mm in diameter - then you should consider changing your tyres. Alternatively, you can check the tread depth of your tyre by using a tread depth indicator that is attached to the rubber of your tyre, or by using bespoke instruments available at tyre fitting facilities or parts outlets.

When should your tyres retire? 

No. Regardless of how new your tyre is, industry standards recommend that you check the inflation pressure every month and get regular inspections. Too much use of the tyre will constantly speed up its normal wear and tear. Not to mention that in five years, after it has been used quite extensively, it is crucial to test and consider retiring the tyre for safety reasons.

It is recommended that tyres from ten years ago (or older) be removed and replaced with new tyres. This goes for spares as well. Even if it appears new, or has had very little mileage, it needs to be replaced after 10 years.

You should keep in mind that the age of a tyre is not the only indicator of its need for replacement. Due to routine tread wear and other conditions such as punctures, impact damage, improper inflation, overloading, and more, many tyres will need to be replaced before they reach age ten. No matter when a tyre was manufactured or purchased, if it is worn out or otherwise unserviceable due to damage or conditions of use, it should be replaced.

Are all four tyres required to be replaced at once?

Another question regarding tyre buying is whether or not all four tyres should be replaced at once. This is a straightforward answer. To make sure that your tyres are as identical as possible, it is recommended you replace all four at once. Your tyres are critical to the performance and handling of your vehicle. A vehicle with mismatched tyres won't be able to respond as quickly as the other end, causing difficulty controlling it. Having an even surface is important for your tyres, which are what connect your vehicle to the road.

In cases where you will need to replace fewer than four tyres, choose tyres that are similar to those that are currently installed on your vehicle. Only two tyres should be changed if all four are being replaced, and those two tyres should be installed on the rear axle. Only choose tyres that are within the same category as your existing tyres, otherwise, it would not be a smooth and seamless driving experience.

If your vehicle came with staggered fitment with different-sized tyres on the front and back, you should consult the owner's manual to determine whether they need to be replaced.

Is it better to buy new or used tyres?

With the purchase of used tyres, there are many risks involved. The lack of knowledge about a tyre's history makes it difficult to determine if they have been underinflated, overloaded or suffer any internal damage that could cause an unexpected failure. The worn-out tyres may also cause noise, vibration, or other problems, requiring replacement sooner than they would if they were new. You should replace worn tyres with new ones of the same size, load capacity, speed rating, and category as recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

Consult the pros

There's no point in guessing. Ensure that you choose the right tyres for your vehicle by consulting a tyre dealer or other authorized professional. You should check to see if tyre rotation and balancing are included with your new tyres. You might be able to bundle the maintenance services if they are not. Be sure your new investment is protected in the long run by asking the dealer about the manufacturer's warranty and replacement options, and ask if there are any specials they might be offering. With all of these in mind, you can be at ease as you pick out the next tyre which will be your partner for the years to come.

As part of Imperial Tyres' efforts to raise consumer awareness and educate drivers about safe driving and tyre safety, our stores, dealers, and media campaigns constantly connect with consumers. Consumers are encouraged to learn as much as they can about tyre safety and why having their tyres regularly inspected by a qualified professional is so important.