As with everything, car tyres suffer wear and tear with use. As the tyres wear and tread depth decreases, your grip reduces and stopping time increases in wet conditions.
It's important to check your car tyres regularly to ensure they are roadworthy; paying attention to inflation pressure, wheel alignment and balancing and age.
The legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm and tyres with depth lower than this have twice the stopping time. Motorist driving with tyres under the legal limit could be faced with a fine. Proper tyre maintenance will ensure improved road safety for you and for others, better handing of the car, longer tyre life and better fuel consumption.
Tyres can show some signs of deterioration which are easy to recognise. Cracking on the side of the tyre, distortion of the tyre tread, deformation of the main body of the tyre, damage, persistent loss of inflation, deep cuts, bulges, separated or perished rubber, vibrations through the tyre while driving. If you notice any of these visible signs of tyre deterioration contact a tyre specialist for a service.
Tyres more than ten years old should be replaced even if they do not appear to be worn. Tyres which have not been in use should not be used if more than six years old, even if they have just been kept in storage. The age of your tyres can be found by searching for the manufacturing date on on the side of the tyre. The serial number will begin with DOT, with the last four digits referring to the date of manufacture by the week and the year.
It's advisable to check your tyres regularly to ensure you're getting the most out of them. The NCT guidelines explain exactly the state your tyres should be in.