As the winter is fast approaching, October has traditionally become the month when motorists are encouraged to prepare for the seasonal change, and pay particular attention to one of the most crucial elements of a car, one which is so easy to check, and yet one which is so often neglected, as we join in with recognising that October is TYRE SAFETY MONTH.
Checking your own tyres is not as difficult as you might think, and should be performed on a regular basis anyway, at least once per month, and before a long journey, but the more frequent the checks, the better.
You should check each tyre (including the spare if your vehicle has one) for signs of damage. Pay close attention to indentations, fragments that may be lodged in the tyre, and even small cuts.
You should check the side walls of each tyre, including the inner side of the wheel, which might mean getting your hands dirty, but it is worth it.
When you check the contact surface of the tyre you should also look for wear. Firstly, make sure that the tyre has enough tread. In between the main cavernous areas, you should find what are called principle grooves, where there is an indicator as to the tread depth.
Pay close attention that the tread is wearing in an equal manner across the width of the tyre. If not, it could indicate that the tyre isn´t properly inflated. Continue checking for damage at the same time.
You also need to check the tyre pressure, even if you think they look okay, and a calibrated machine is the best way of ding this. Modern cars have a plate affixed to the frame of the driver´s door which indicates the correct pressure. Make sure you check this and vary the pressure depending on the load you will be carrying.
Tyres should always be checked when they are cold, before setting off on a journey. If you have any doubts or concerns, then it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to tyres and get them checked by a professional.
However, tyre checks should be part of your regular routine, and you may also want to consider changing for a more seasonally appropriate set, depending on where you live and the sort of roads you will be driving on.
Finally, although not directly related to tyres, it is also a timely reminder that during the winter, in some places in Spain, snow chains become mandatory at times, and so whilst checking the tyres now, it is worthwhile checking your show chains if you have them, or considering purchasing them if you live in an area likely to see snow.