It makes good sense to have your tyre specialist regularly check your tyres. This allows defects to be identified at an early stage, which can extend tyre lifespan and prevent many dangerous situations.
Modern car tyres feature many types of protection against punctures. If you still get a puncture, however, you must quickly stop and replace the tyre. A flat tyre should always be removed from the rim and checked for further damage. If the tyre 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 tyres with the speed symbols W, Y and (Y).
While the legal minimum tread depth in Europe is 1.6 mm,, we advise you to replace tyres at a depth of 2 mm at least. The tread grooves on a tyre have a Tread Wear Indicator (TWI). When the tread of the tyre is worn down to these indicators, the tyre has reached the minimum legal tread depth.
For winter tyres, weather considerations mean that the wear limit is set at 4 mm. Winter tyres with less than 4 mm tread depth in principle cease to be winter tyres. In some countries, this is also laid down by law. In addition to the TWI, winter tyres also have a Winter Wear Indicator (WWI) with a height of 4 mm indicating the limit for winter conditions.
Car tyres are composed of various rubber components, each of which is subject to a certain amount of ageing. The extent to which a tyre 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 tyre pressure checks. Weather conditions, tyre load (i.e. normal load or maximum load) and the way in which the tyre 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 tyre can be used. Remember that the older the tyre is, the greater the chance that it will need to be replaced.
For a tyre to have as long a lifespan as possible, we recommend that you have it occasionally checked by a tyre specialist in addition to carrying out a monthly check yourself. If the minimum tread depth of the tyre has not yet been reached after six years, we advise having the tyre checked by a tyre specialist at least once a year.
Please note: Ensure that extra attention is paid to tyres fitted on vehicles such as trailers, caravans, camper vans, boat trailers and horse boxes. As tyres 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 tyres, including sharp objects such as nails and screws as well as kerbs and other obstacles. If the tyre carcass is visibly damaged, the tyre must be replaced. If in doubt, always have tyres assessed by a tyre specialist.
Uneven or irregular wear can have many different causes. The tread of a tyre should wear evenly across the width from one shoulder to the other. It should also wear regularly around the circumference of the tyre. If the tyre 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 tyre 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 tyre tread, we recommend that you regularly (around each 7500–10,000 kilometre mark) switch tyres from front to back and vice versa.