Tyre checks and maintenance
Your car’s tyres are the only part of the vehicle that grips the road so keeping an eye on tyre pressure and the depth of tread is really important to keep you safe.
There are three main reasons for checking your tyres regularly:
Under-inflated, damaged or worn tyres can lead to blow-outs.
Over/under inflation means tyres need to be replaced more often.
Incorrect tyre pressure means you won’t get as much mpg.
Your vehicle's recommended tyre pressure can usually be found in your vehicle handbook, on the inside of the petrol cap or on your manufacturer's online portal.
How to check your tyre pressure
Only check tyre pressures when tyres are cold or else you won’t get an accurate reading.
You can check your tyres' air at the majority of UK petrol stations. Unscrew the valve caps off of your tyre/s and follow the easy instructions on the machine. Be sure to put your valve cap/s back on tightly when you’re done.
While you're filling, have a look for nails, cuts, lumps and bumps. If you do find any surface irregularities you're at risk of having a tyre blow-out, so get your vehicle to a tyre professional ASAP.
New tyres start with a tread depth of around 8mm; manufacturers recommend replacing tyres under 3mm for safety.
It’s illegal to drive a passenger car in Europe with a tread depth of less than 1.6mm within the central three-quarters of the tread width. However, bear in mind that at this legal minimum of 1.6mm, your stopping distance can increase by 50% and your tyres can be as little as 55% effective compared to tyres with the 3mm recommended thread depth.*
How to check your tyre tread
You can use a tread depth gauge to measure the depth of the main grooves – any less than 3mm and you should think about replacing your tyre soon.
If you don’t have a tyre tread depth gauge, you can use a 20p coin to give you a good idea...
20p tyre tread depth test
You can use the simple 20p test to check your tyre tread depth:
Insert a 20p coin into the main groove of your tyres in several places around the circumference. If you can’t see the thin border around the edge of the coin, your tyre tread is deeper than 3mm and considered safe. If you can see the border of the coin above the tread then it is less than 3mm and should be checked by a tyre professional.
Tyre repair and replacement
Most leasing companies will replace worn tyres under 2mm tread depth for free on a fully maintained contract.
Covase customers: replacements for worn tyres (2mm thread depth or less) are included in all fully maintained leasing contracts with us so if you are concerned about your tyre tread call the number on your Covase driver card for advice.
A blow-out is not a flat tyre. A blow-out is a violent tyre failure; all of the air is released instantly and can put the driver and other road users in serious danger. The most common causes of a tyre blow-out are:
Incorrect tyre pressure is a major cause of tyre blow-outs.
Heavily Worn Tyres
Dangerous levels of wear on a tyre's tread depth increases the risk of a blow out.
Tyre surface cuts, lumps and bumps can also cause blow outs.
You can greatly reduce the risk of a having a blow-out with regular tyre pressure and tread depth checks.
Tip-Top Fleet Tyres
With millions of drivers unsure of how to do the most basic of vehicle checks, trust your fleet tyre care to the professionals.
*At 50mph in wet weather it'll take you 50% more road to stop than if your tread was at the recommended depth of 3mm. At 1.6mm tread depth, a tyre can be as little as 55% effective compared to a new tyre with 8mm tread depth.