Prepare for MOT Test
General Car maintenance
|Check your tyres.
Checking your tyres is a very quick and easy task. Usually you
will not need any sort of tools to carry out this check. You
should visually check the tyres for tread depth and condition.
Another important thing to check is the condition of the tire
side walls. Any damage should be further investigated by a
trained mechanic or tyre fitter.
You may wish to buy a tyre tread gauge This small tool can be
very useful for taking accurate measurements of your thread
You should also make a point of regularly checking your tyre
pressures. Please consult your owners manual or log book for the
correct pressure settings.
When checking tyres you should also look out for abnormal
wear. For example excessive wear at both outside edges of a tire
may indicate that your tire pressure is to low, if there is more
wear at the centre then the tire may be over inflated. If there
is a lot more wear on one side as opposed to the other then your
wheel alignment may need to be adjusted. Please consult a
mechanic regarding this.
A cars tyres are the only part of the vehicle that makes any
contact with the road surface, for this reason the tyres play a
critical role in the handling and safety of the entire vehicle.
Tyres are critical for steering and braking. Tyres should always
be in a safe condition.
The Current laws on car tyres are very strict. Any tyre fitted
to a car must have at least 1.6mm across the centre 3/4 of the
tread. The diagram above is a simple way to demonstrate this.
You can measure your tyre tread depth using a depth gauge, these
are available from most car parts and accessories stores. Most
tyres also provide a warning that the tread is getting low
called a "tread wear indicator" The tread wear
indicator is designed to alert you just before your tyre reaches
the legal limit.
The above picture shows a tyre with a clear tread wear
indicator. You can see that the tread is deeper that the
indicator. If the walls of the tread where only as high as the
tread wear indicator it's self then you would know your tyre is
at or below the legal tyre tread level. Once the tread wear
indicator and the tread surface become flush there is no way of
telling just how much below the legal limit you actually are
without taking a reading using a tyre tread gauge.
The side wall of your tyre is a vital part of the tyres
structure. You should check your tyres sidewall condition
periodically. Damage to the side wall of the tyre is the most
common cause of tyre blowouts. If you find any damage in your
sidewall you should have it checked out as soon as possible.
Generally speaking any minor cut that extends for 25mm or more
is not safe, as is any serious cut of any size. If in any doubt
have it checked by a tyre centre or competent mechanic.
Correct tyre pressure is vitally important for tyre safety.
Incorrect tyre pressure can not only reduce the lifespan of a
tyre, it can also be dangerous. Your tyre tread wear can be an
early indication if tyre problems.
More wear in the centre of the tyre usually means the tyre has
been over inflated, more wear to the outside edged of the tyre
generally means the tyre is running under inflated. It makes
sense to check your tyre pressures at least once a week.
You can find your correct tyre pressure settings by consulting
your vehicles handbook or asking your dealer. It is important to
follow your manufacturers guidelines.
You should also check the tyre pressure for your spare wheel,
you never know when you will need to fit it to the car.
If a tyre is worn or damaged to the extent that it needs to be
replaced it is important to choose a tyre that is suitable for
the vehicle it will be fitted to. In most cases the garage or
tyre centre who fit the tyre will be able to make
It is also worth spending a little more to get a good tyre as
opposed to a bad tyre. I recommend against ever buying
"part worn" tyres. You just do not know the history of
the tyre. It may have been involved in a serious collision or it
may have been discarded.
There are reported cases of tyres that had been disposed of in
landfill being sold on to motorists as part worn tyres.
Choose a tyre that is new, is of the correct size and of the
correct speed rating for your vehicle. Again the garage of
fitting centre who fit your new tyre will be able to make