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Tyres: Some of your most common questions answered

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Regarding proper car maintenance and, more importantly, car safety, nothing is more important than looking after your tyres. The rubber of car tyres is the only part of a vehicle that should ever touch the road. So they must match the expected standard to keep you safe. Poor tyre tread depth greatly affects braking distance and overall road grip. Also, at Gardai Checkpoints, it's becoming ever more common for the tread depth to be checked and for fines to be handed out to drivers who don't meet the expected standard. To stay safe and to stay on the right side of the law, it's vital to understand as much as possible about tyres. As one of Athlone's best tyre retailers, we often get questions on our range from even long-term drivers. We have compiled the most common questions below to make this information easier to find.

How often should I change my car tyres?

The frequency at which you should change your car tires depends on several factors, including:

Tread depth: The depth of the tire tread is crucial in determining how long the tires will last. The tread is what provides traction and helps your car grip the road. When the tyre tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch, it's time to replace your tires.

Age: Even if your tire tread looks fine, tires should be replaced after six years, regardless of their condition. This is because the rubber compounds in the tire can break down over time, even if they haven't been driven much.

Driving habits: If you frequently drive aggressively or brake suddenly, your tyres may wear out faster than if you drive more cautiously.

Generally, it's a good idea to check your tyres regularly for signs of wear and tear and to have them inspected by a professional at least once a year.

How long do car tyres last?

The lifespan of car tires depends on several factors, such as the brand of the tyre, the driving you do, and the road conditions. Generally, car tyres last between 25,000 to 50,000 miles (40,000 to 80,000 kilometres) before needing replacement. However, some tires can last up to 80,000 to 100,000 miles (128,000 to 160,000 kilometres) or more.

Generally, car tires should be replaced every six years, regardless of the wear they have incurred. This is because the rubber in the tyres can deteriorate over time, even if the tires are not being used. Even if they have not worn out, Tyres over six years old can become brittle and more prone to failure.

It's essential to regularly inspect your tires for signs of wear, such as uneven wear, bulges, cracks, or punctures. If you notice any of these signs or if your tires have reached the six-year mark, it's time to replace them to ensure your safety on the road.

In Ireland, what is the minimum tread depth required for car tyres?

In Ireland, the minimum tread depth required for car tyres is 1.6 millimetres across the central three-quarters of the tire and around the entire circumference. This legal minimum tread depth is the same as in many other countries and is set by the European Union.

Its important to note that while 1.6 millimetres is the legal minimum, replacing your tyres before they reach this depth is recommended. As the tread depth wears down, the tires become less effective at dispersing water and providing traction, increasing the risk of hydroplaning or losing control on wet or slippery roads. Many experts recommend replacing tires when the tread depth reaches 3 millimetres for optimal safety and performance.

How old can tyres be for the NCT?

In Ireland, there is no specific age limit for tires for the National Car Testing (NCT) inspection. However, the tires must meet specific conditions and performance criteria to pass the NCT.

During the NCT, the condition of the tires is checked to ensure that they are not damaged, worn unevenly, or have any bulges or cuts that could compromise their safety. The tires are also checked to ensure they have the correct size and load rating.

In addition to the physical condition of the tires, their performance is also evaluated during the NCT. The brakes are tested to ensure that they can bring the vehicle to a stop safely and within a reasonable distance, and the suspension and steering are checked to ensure that they are in good working order.

So, while there is no specific age limit for tires during the NCT, it's essential to ensure that your tires are in good condition and have not deteriorated due to age or other factors. If your tires are over six years old, it's a good idea to have them inspected by a professional to ensure they are still safe for use on the road.

Are you in the market for new tyres from the world's best manufacturers? Then call our offices today.

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