The lockdown has meant many cars have been left standing for weeks or months on end without use. Before driving out to get supplies or travelling to do some exercise, Pirelli, the Italian tyre manufacturer, has shared five checks you can do yourself to ensure your next drive is a safe one.
Check for lumps and deformations
The first and easiest way to check your tyres is to see if there are any lumps or deformations present around the tyre wall and within the tread. You’ll also want to check for damage cuts, abrasions, and any bulges in the tyres. Sometimes, if a car has been left idle for a prolonged amount of time, air might have expanded in places it shouldn’t. Ensure the valve caps are tight, too.
Check tyre pressures
Checking these before you set off can be tricky if you don’t have the appropriate gear. However, if you have a tyre pressure gauge or knows someone who does, you can use one to check if your vehicle’s tyre pressures are where they should be. To know how many bars or pascals are needed for your vehicle, check the owner’s manual or look inside the fuel/charging flap for the correct level. If tyre pressures are far lower than they should be, you’ll need to inflate them before you set off on your journey.
Check for tyre wear
Tyre wear can lead to an on-the-spot fine or an MOT failure. You’ll want to ensure the tread depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm. You can use a coin to check for the depth. In the UK, use a 20p coin to determine if the thread limit is acceptable. If you don’t see the first border of the coin, you’re close to the legal limit. As such, your tyres will need to be checked with an accurate gauge and potentially changed.
Check for wobble
If all of the above is fine, you should drive the car out slowly to check for wobble. Here, it’s worth knowing that if your car has been left standing for a long period of time there might be small wobbles as you drive – these should go away after the first few miles. If it persists, go to a tyre specialist and get them checked. Note: if you had a tyre imbalance or another steering-related issue before lockdown started, you’ll want to check if the wobble has increased.
Check that you’ve got the right tyres
Most cars will come fitted with all-weather tyres. In some cases, some have winter tyres to help them drive in trickier situations. With summer soon upon us, you’ll want to switch to your summer tyres. This will ensure you’ve got the most efficient and best driving possible.