Friday 23rd August 2019,

How to check your tyres

Phillip Roberts 23. September 2014 Dirty hands, Magazine No Comments

How often do you check your tyres? Our guess is: not very often. So do us a favor and when you finish reading this article, watching the video and you will be heading to your motor to set off home, give them a look around and check your today’s destiny.

It is very dangerous to drive on bald tyres. Let me repeat that; It is very, I mean very, dangerous to drive on bald tyres or even deflated or cracked tyres. Sometimes even if you have good tread but fake quality, you can still risk your life.

An easy trick is in the video below: all you need to do is find yourself a coin that has approximately 3 mm mark (like a 20p or 5 Euro Cents) and shove it between the tread lines. If it’s any lower than your 3 mm mark it’s time to change them.

Bald tyres may drive “OK” but at least in the Northern Hemisphere autumn is here and you will probably see a little more rain than you did these couple of months. If the tread line is less than 3 mm water on the road will have less space to escape from and will try to lift your wheels off the road. Water will be underneath your tyres and you will lose grip. And once you do… you know what’s next.

Under-inflated tyres are also dangerous. If you have less air in your tyres than you should, as they roll, immense heat will be created from the friction of the rubber against asphalt which can on long distance trips evolve into burning rubber.

Such a thing happened to me some years back when I was a novice driver and didn’t have enough money to pay for a full set of Michelin or Bridgestone. So, I bought some cheap tyres instead which later I found did not have texture nor wire ribbing inside. As I was into my 300 mile trip on a hot summer’s day in the fast lane of an Austrian motorway, suddenly white smoke started to enter the car from the boot to the cabin. I immediately stopped on the hard shoulder to put out the fire and assess the damage.

By the time I stopped the car it was all over and the tyre was as good as confetti. Thankfully the car didn’t catch fire. When I wanted to take the wheel off I burned my hands as it was still very very hot. I had a good spare-wheel and so I changed the wheel and continued my trip, but after that I am always very cautious about tyres.

So back to you: don’t forget to check them with a coin and every time you fill up check your pressures too.


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About Phillip Roberts

As a little boy my Dad always told me stories about the glorious days of automotive pioneering and days when classics were common. This has influenced me in such an effect I have become a helpless petrol-head...

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…my driving license was still on it's way when I had bought my first petrol-smelling Italian stallion... No, it wasn't a Ferrari... It was Fiat Regata, twin choke Weber 1.5 in neat condition with bad attitude. It wasn't in any way quick by today's standards nor was it a good handler. More like an SUV actually. It was so high that my girlfriend at the time, (a little taller than a bucket,) almost needed a ladder to get into it. However, it was a good car till the first winter came and I wrecked it.

My next car was a BMW E30 1987 2.4d. It is still my all-time favorite. It just had a black metallic paint job done when I bought it and shiny chrome bumpers. As Steel Panther would say say, "that car was bitchin'." I had nice Alpina alloys that I kept getting nicked for. Apparently they were not marked in my documents so each time the police caught me I got a fine.

After about a dozen fines in 3 months I said `sod it` and had BMW amend my documents. This one wasn't really quick off the mark but once it was up to speed you could throw it into any corner and it would come out still alive and pointing the right way. I sold it eventually because I didn't have the time to get it back to original condition and I later found out that the guy I sold it to wrecked it couple of months after. What a shame.

I also had a BMW E46. I liked the look of it but it was useless. It had so many problems one day I wished someone would run into me so I could get rid of it and get some money back. Guess what... a week later a Spanish fellow in a borrowed company Skoda ran up the boot and parked on my back seat. My girlfriend got a panic attack and became so furious she would have beaten him up if I`d let her. However, I had successfully gotten rid of the car.

So this is the story of my beginnings. There are two things that I love other than music and my family. Writing and cars. Why not combine them? I figured there may be more people like me and so I wanted to participate in this amazing opportunity for everyone to share their knowledge, experience and passion, and build something unique while doing it.

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