Tyres that are correctly maintained and in good condition are hugely important when it comes to not just safety but fuel efficiency, performance and handling too. We all know we should keep our tyres inflated correctly to avoid dangers such as blow-outs, poor performance and handling in wet weather, and poor fuel economy.
But when should a car's tyres be changed? And what are the indicators you should be looking for that can let you know it's time to have new tyres fitted?
The legal requirements
In the UAE, tyres have to reach certain standards to be legal on the road. Depending on your vehicle category, you must have a minimum tread depth visible across your tyre. For light vehicles (which includes all cars), that minimum is 1.6mm. A tyre below that depth not only decreases the handling and performance of your car (including its braking distance) but could land you with a heavy fine too.
Tyres in the UAE must also be able to cope with our unique weather conditions, which means tyres in Dubai and across the UAE must be able to withstand temperatures of up to 50°C.
Many drivers don't realise that tyres have a finite lifespan. As the rubber ages, it deteriorates, eventually leading to cracks, splits and even blow-outs. Manufacturers recommend that all tyres, whether they've been stored or in use, should be replaced after a certain period. That amount of time varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but in general, you should replace tyres older than 5-10 years old. That includes the spare tyre as well.
You can check the tyre's age by looking for the markings next to the 'DOT' symbol on the sidewall. Next to that, you will see a number code. The first pair of numbers are the week of manufacture, and the second pair represents the year. So a tyre with 2117 would have been made in the 21st week of 2017. If you see a three-digit number, this indicates a tyre made before 2000, which should be replaced straight away.
Damage to the sidewalls
While it's most likely to pick up a puncture in a tyre's tread, it's sidewall damage that can be really dangerous. Accidentally hitting a kerbstone at the side of the road may do more than damage the surface of the rubber – it can split or damage the sidewall, compromising its safety.
Tyres that are old, that have been exposed to UV radiation, run for long periods at below the correct pressure, or allowed to sit 'flat' for a long time can also develop serious cracks in the sidewalls. A visual inspection will give you adequate warning of damage to the sidewall. If you see any indicators that your tyres have been compromised, get them changed straight away.
Talk to the professionals
At Al-Futtaim Lexus, we offer a wide range of tyre services, including rotating and balancing as well as fitting new tyres that are rated correctly for your car. We ensure that our tyres are stored according to UAE law (stored in conditions of under 25°C and not 'stacked' on top of one another). Our technicians are skilled at recognising the warning signs of tyre degradation and will happily advise you on the best tyres for use in the UAE.
If you’re worried that your tyres are performing below their best, visit your nearest Al-Futtaim Lexus Service Center today.