Car Mechanics


Do-It-Yourself tyre maintenance is straightforward but limited. Do not be disheartened. As tyres are expensive and the highest financial outlay comes with seeking replacements, the informed car owner can obtain the best value tyres and make them last longer, by keeping in control and being well-informed.

Getting in the groove

Most road tyres possess four tread pattern types. The most popular symmetrical design means that they can be fitted to any position on the car but noise and overall grip compromises are the downsides. Asymmetric treads possess fewer flexible blocks on the outside, for superior cornering grip, while the smaller inner edge blocks are for water dispersal. To work properly, the edges must be the correct way round, so it is imperative that the ‘outside’ mark on the sidewall faces away from the car. Directional tyres are designed to rotate in only one direction for superior water dispersal; any arrow markings on the sidewall must face in the direction of forward rotation.

Fitted to very high-performance vehicles, composite tyres combine both directional and asymmetric tread characteristics and, as such, share both fitting compromises. An MOT major defect notice will result, should a tyre be installed in a way that disobeys the sidewall instructions.

Treading carefully

Diminishing tyre tread depth is the most obvious sign of normal and inevitable wear. Presuming that you maintain the correct pressures, the optimum suspension alignment and do not drive erratically, tread depth should remain even. Yet, we have heard of some cars in good mechanical condition exhibiting more wear in some parts of the tread than the others, in which case, it is worth questioning the dealer, tyre fitters, or even joining a social media group for your model, to establish if the issue is an undesirable model trait. The situation can happen, as some car manufacturers maximise grip by scrubbing the tyres. Yet, do not excuse unusual tyre wear as an unavoidable characteristic automatically, when worn suspension, incorrect suspension alignment and modifications (such as

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