All you need to know about car tyres for safe driving
Four small patches of rubber each about the size of your hand are the only parts of the car in touch with the road.
The right tyres, in good condition and correctly inflated are vital for braking and cornering safety – and the only things keeping the car on the road.
Regular checks and maintenance will help to prolong the life of the tyres and keep you on the right side of the law too.
Tyre life & age
Tyre repairs & tyre sealants
Winter tyres & snow chains for travelling to Europe
Reinforced or Extral Load tyres for mpvs
Original fit car tyres
For new cars the car maker and tyre manufacturers work closely to select a make, size and tread pattern that suits the car. Styling, handling, noise and many other factors are taken into account.
When replacing your tyres you must stick to the same size, type and ideally brand and tread pattern too. This is likely to be the tyre best suited to the car. Changing brand or pattern could result in increased noise or adversely affect cornering characteristics for example.
New tyres to the front or rear?
Check the car manual first as some vehicle manufacturers give specific advice on this. If there is no information in the manual, then it's good practice for safety to fit the best/newest tyres on the rear. In wet conditions, this favours understeer rather than oversteer. So if you have the front tyres renewed it's best to have the rear ones moved to the front and the new tyres fitted to the rear.
Basic legal requirements
- Tyres must be compatible with others on the car and generally be in good physical condition
- Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure
- Tread depth must be above the legal minimum which for passenger cars is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference
- You don't have to carry a spare and it doesn't have to meet the legal requirements while it's stowed away.