It’s important to check your tires thoroughly after a prolonged period of not using your car very much, especially now the UK is preparing to come out of lockdown. Your driving habits may have changed dramatically from early last year, as home working has become much more prevalent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Tires can degrade over time, and you might need to replace even nearly-new tires if your car has seen a lot less use than in previous years.
Michelin has reminded drivers to check their tires over before using their vehicles frequently again. It has provided a step-by-step checklist so you don’t forget any part of your tires and wheels.
The company’s technical manager, Brian Porteous, said: “This is especially relevant as the way we live evolves after the pandemic. Flexible working and homeworking are likely to become more common, while many meetings will continue to take place digitally. This means mileage will drop and tires will last longer and be more open to age and the long-term effects of minor damage. There will also be longer periods between servicing, so more than ever drivers have to take responsibility for inspecting their tires regularly – for the sake of their safety and their wallets.”
Tires will lose pressure gradually, and an underinflated tire can lead to fuel economy, handling and braking getting worse. A tire without enough air in can also degrade quicker than the expected lifespan. Your car might have flat spots on the tires if it has been parked up in one place for a long period of time, and they can get damaged if you have parked in water, oil or on stones.
It’s important to make sure to inflate your tires to the pressures recommended by your car’s manufacturer, plus check for any imperfections such as bulges, cuts or large cracks. Then, ensure the tread depth of your tires is more than 1.6mm across three-quarters of the tire. It’s recommended that you move the car a few inches forward or backwards, and then do the tests again - and check for any flat spots. A tire that has been used for more than five years needs to be inspected every year, and tires that are more than ten years old should be replaced anyway, even if they appear to be fine.
You can find the Tire Reviews guide to looking after your car during lockdown here.