Some important tyre facts

winter tyres

When buying, using or taking care of your tyres there are a few tyre facts that are good to know. The most important fact is that the car tyres are very important for your car’s safety. Without good quality tyres your safety will be compromised. You also need to make sure that you have the correct tyres for the conditions that you drive in. This means both for the weather as well as the surface. While driving during the warmer seasons, like spring, summer and autumn, you should have summer tyres on your car. If you drive during winter season or any period where you have subzero temperatures and possibility of snow and ice, you will need to have winter tyres on your car. If you drive on paved roads you can manage with normal tyres, while if you drive off-road or in harsh conditions you will need to have tyres that are made for off-road or the specific conditions you aim to drive in.

You are also not allowed to drive with tyres that are worn out, where there are tread depth limits, where you can’t go below. It is recommended not to go below 4 mm as the key properties start to decline below this limit. You can easily test the condition of your tires by using items that can be found in most homes. You can e.g. use a match or a coin, where the tip of a match tends to be close to the 4 mm. You can basically measure on any item that can be inserted into the tread, where the 4 mm mark can easily be identified.

Some tyres are equipped with Driving Safety Indicators, DSI, which is an indicator that allow you to easily check the condition and safety of the tires. The indicator is located on the centre surface of the tire, and it indicates the depth of the tire’s main groove in millimetres; in other words, it shows how much tread remains, without having to use any tools. It is recommended that the tire be replaced once the “4” has worn away.  On some tires, DSI also includes a rain drop symbol. When this has worn away, the tires’ aquaplaning capabilities are no longer optimal, indicating it is time for replacement. By monitoring the tread wear, you can get more mileage out of your tires by rotating the positions of the tires between the front and rear axles, this should be done when there is a difference of 2-3 mm between the front and rear.

For the seasonal tyres there might be legal restrictions of what tyre you have to use and when you cannot use certain tyres.  This is valid for winter tyres, which have to be on the car during certain time periods and when you have winter conditions, if you want to comply with local laws. Studded tyres are also restricted to time period that they can be used if they are at all allowed to be used. It is important to check the quality of the studs and if they are still attached. Studs that bends will not penetrate the ice and will have weak grip on slush and snow. According to the legislation, the maximum allowed variation in the number of studs between the tires is 25%.

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