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Tyres are a vital part of vehicle safety. They are the vehicle’s only contact with the road, so they must provide that essential grip and traction at all times, on all surfaces, in all weathers.

Tyre Pressure

Keep tyres at the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Incorrect pressures can affect a vehicle’s handling, cause premature tyre wear and damage a tyre irreversibly.

Motorists should be encouraged to check tyre pressures regularly at least once a month, and before every long journey. That includes the spare.

Tyre pressures should be checked when tyres are cold, before the vehicle has travelled any great distance. As they warm, tyres increase in pressure which is quite normal. 

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Condition and Faults

Inspect the tyre thoroughly, checking the tread and sidewall for signs of any irregular wear or damage.

Below we illustrate what to look out for in your visual examination of the tyre and we give possible reasons for the fault.

Tyres can become unserviceable due to a number of reasons. Rarely is this because of faults in manufacture. In fact, at Maxxis we are so confident of the quality of our tyres that, in the unlikely event that any defects are shown to be the result of manufacturing or raw material problems, we offer a full 100% lifetime guarantee.

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Tread Depth

Check the tyre tread regularly.

Wear indicator bars, which are raised areas at the base of the tread, serve as a visual warning that the tyre is near to or at the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm. 

It is recommended that tyres are replaced when 3mm of tread remains. The less tread there is, the greater the stopping distance in the wet, and the greater the risk of skidding.

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Tyre Life

In the usual course of events, tyres will wear out before they become unsafe through age.

Tyres degrade naturally through exposure to heat, sunlight and rain. It is a slow process - tyres can still be in service many years after production.

That’s why damage through ageing is more common with tyres fitted to caravans or trailers, or cars only used occasionally, such as prestige models.

Check for signs of cracking on the sidewalls of tyres four or five years old, especially if the car is parked outside. Replace tyres if cracking is severe.

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Tyres and the law

Tyres must be fit for purpose, free from any defects and correctly inflated to the recommended pressure. 

In the eyes of the law, fit for purpose means that a tyre must be:

  • compatible with the types of tyres fitted to the other wheels
  • free of any lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of the structure
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Types of Tyres

The modern tyre is an intricately woven mixture of steel belts, advanced fabrics and rubber compounds. A far cry from the solid piece of rubber of early days.  Radial tyres have become the industry standard, displaying many advantages over cross-ply tyres, in terms of wear, heat resistance and rigidity.

Any car less than 20 years old, should be fitted with radial tyres. Never mix radial and non-radial tyres. It could lead to poor handling and loss of vehicle control. 

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Travelling Abroad

Before taking a car abroad, especially in the winter months, research the relevant tyre legislation for that country. In some European countries, cold weather tyres are obligatory. These countries include Austria, Bosnia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Sweden. A number of other nations such as Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland have certain restrictions in specific regions.

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Sidewall Explained

The sidewall of a modern car tyre contains a mass of different symbols, words, letters and numbers. This is essential information about the tyre, so knowing what it all means is important.

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Load Index

The load index is an industry standard that indicates the maximum load each tyre is designed to carry when inflated to the recommended pressure. The load index is shown on the tyre sidewall as a two or three digit number after the tyre’s dimensions. The chart below shows these indices and the corresponding carrying capacity for each value. Fit a tyre with sufficient load capacity as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Fitting an incorrectly rated tyre can invalidate an insurance policy.

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Speed Rating

The speed rating for the tyre is the maximum speed a tyre can sustain under its recommended load capacity.

Speed ratings are based on scientific tests where the tyre is run at speeds in 6.2 mph steps in 10 minute increments until the required speed has been met. The speed rating can be found on the tyre sidewall as a single letter after the load index. Do not exceed the speed rating and wherever possible do not fit tyres of different speed ratings. Choosing a tyre with a lower speed rating than recommended by the vehicle manufacturer can invalidate an insurance policy.

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Tyre Fitting

It is recommended that all new tyres be fitted on the rear axle.

Industry research shows that with new tyres on the rear, surface water will be better dispersed, improving straight line braking ability. Conversely, if the rear has part worn tyres, there is greater risk of the vehicle over-steering

Tyre Fitting

Tyre Rotation

Tyre life can often be increased by occasionally switching tyres around on the car, possibly every 2000 to 3000 miles. This will even out tyre wear.

On front wheel drive cars, the front tyres wear much faster, often doing only half the mileage of rear tyres. On rear wheel drive cars,  there is little noticeable difference between front and rear tyre wear.

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