When should I replace my tires?
It makes good sense to have your tire specialist regularly check your tires. This allows defects to be identified at an early stage, which can extend tire lifespan and prevent many dangerous situations.
Here are the five main reasons to have a regular check-up:
Modern car tires feature many types of protection against punctures. If you still get a puncture, however, you must quickly stop and replace the tire. A flat tire should always be removed from the rim and checked for further damage. If the tire needs to and can be repaired, this should be done as quickly as possible to prevent further internal damage. As the person carrying out or commissioning the repairs is responsible for the outcome, it is important that repairs are made by certified professionals. Because of the very large forces involved in travelling at high speeds, we advise against repairing tires with the speed symbols W, Y and (Y).
Wear down to the legal minimum
While the legal minimum tread depth in Europe is 1.6 mm, we advise you to replace tires at a depth of 2 mm at least. The tread grooves on a tire have a Tread Wear Indicator (TWI). When the tread of the tire is worn down to these indicators, the tire has reached the minimum legal tread depth.
For winter tires, weather considerations mean that the wear limit is set at 4 mm. Winter tires with less than 4 mm tread depth in principle cease to be winter tires. In some countries, this is also laid down by law. In addition to the TWI, winter tires also have a Winter Wear Indicator (WWI) with a height of 4 mm indicating the limit for winter conditions.
Car tires are composed of various rubber components, each of which is subject to a certain amount of ageing. The extent to which a tire ages depends on various factors, such as the number of kilometres driven per year, the frequency and duration of use (e.g. daily or a few times per year), the speed driven and the regularity of tire pressure checks. Weather conditions, tire load (i.e. normal load or maximum load) and the way in which the tire is stored when not in use are all factors that affect the ageing process.
As a result of all of these different factors, it is impossible to say exactly how many years or how many kilometres a car tire can be used. Remember that the older the tire is, the greater the chance that it will need to be replaced.
For a tire to have as long a lifespan as possible, we recommend that you have it occasionally checked by a tire specialist in addition to carrying out a monthly check yourself. If the minimum tread depth of the tire has not yet been reached after six years, we advise having the tire checked by a tire specialist at least once a year.
Please note: Ensure that extra attention is paid to tires fitted on vehicles such as trailers, caravans, camper vans, boat trailers and horse boxes. As tires in these applications are only used from time to time and are constantly subjected to maximum loads during use, they can age more quickly.
Certain external factors can damage tires, including sharp objects such as nails and screws as well as kerbs and other obstacles. If the tire carcass is visibly damaged, the tire must be replaced. If in doubt, always have tires assessed by a tire specialist.
Uneven or irregular wear can have many different causes. The tread of a tire should wear evenly across the width from one shoulder to the other. It should also wear regularly around the circumference of the tire. If the tire wears more on the inside or outside shoulder, this may indicate a problem with the car suspension or that the tracking is misaligned. If the cause is identified and repaired at an early stage, the tire can be retained. Uneven wear across the total circumference of the tread can be a sign of worn shock absorbers.
In addition to defects, certain types of cars are very sensitive to uneven wear. Front wheel drive cars are generally more susceptible to uneven wear on the rear axle and rear wheel drive cars on the front axle. To prevent uneven wear around the circumference of the tire tread, we recommend that you regularly (around each 7500–10,000 kilometre mark) switch tires from front to back and vice versa.