Every single road-going car on the planet uses tyres. These inanimate objects give our cars traction on the road, and mean the difference between life and death. Vulcanised rubber is the main component used to make tyres. In the late 19th century, Charles Goodyear invented vulcanised rubber.

Thanks to him, we don’t have to drive on wheels with bands of metal wrapped around them anymore! Tyre technology has come a long way since those days, and we can enjoy the benefits of tyres that are durable and long-lasting.

Image credit: Peter aka anemoneprojectors

Like all items used to make a car, tyres only have a limited lifespan. The older a tyre is, the higher the probability of blowouts, cracking and age-related problems.

What happens to tyres as they age?

You know how old rubber bands crack as they stretch, and often split when you stretch them far enough? A similar thing happens with car tyres.

As you know, car tyres are just big rubber rings. They contain chemicals to slow down the ageing process, but there is no way you can make a tyre last forever.

Old tyres will often have cracks running along the sidewalls and in the main tread areas. Every time you drive over bumps in the road, you increase the stress that your tyres get subjected to.

It’s that extra stress that increases the likelihood of bad things happening. Unless you drive over spikes in the road, your old tyres will most likely suffer from a blowout when it can’t handle the stress any longer.

When should I change my tyres?

Every tyre ever made has a week and year stamp on the sidewall. For example, your tyres might say “1410.”

There is some debate on how old a car tyre should be before it needs replacing. Most tyre experts advocate replacing your car tyres if they are five years old.

Another situation where you need to change your tyres is when the tread runs low.

Brand new tyres have a tread depth of 8mm. In Europe and other parts of the world, the legal limit is 1.6mm. I recommend replacing your worn tyres when they get to around 3mm. Even the legal limit of 1.6mm is quite dangerous in adverse weather conditions.

Are budget tyres OK?

The short answer is “it depends.”

New tyres on the market are suitable for specific target audiences. Budget tyres are good for cars that are quite old and where maintenance budgets are tight. Mid-range and premium tyres are for cars where durability, traction and looks are key.

The guys at RRG Nissan recommend mid-range tyres for everyday cars. And premium models for high-performance and exotic cars.

Where should I buy new tyres?

Anywhere that sells tyres, of course!

Some people prefer to buy their tyres on the Internet, whereas others will visit their friendly local tyre fitters. A few people might even get new tyres from a car service centre. As long as the place you buy your tyres from are experts at their jobs, and don’t appear to be “dodgy” you will be OK.

Thanks for reading today’s article!


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