According to the Automobile Association of South Africa, the first thing to consider is which tyre on your vehicle needs to be replaced:
“Ideally you should replace all your car tyres at the same time, but this is rarely practical because front and rear tyres wear at different rates.”
• To aid stability on the road, always fit the newest or least-worn tyres at the back. Although… one of our commenter’s does not agree with this advice, saying that with front wheel drive cars, “the front wheels do the driving, steering and 80% of the braking so they should have a better grip on the road. If the front tyres are worn more than the back, you will get aquaplaning on standing water and a serious under-steer”.
In terms of Regulation 212 of the National Road Traffic Act, your tyres must have a minimum of 1 millimetre tread – anything less and you risk massive fines and points off your licence.
Some tyres, however, have markers on them which indicate when it’s below 1.6 millimetres – if your tread is in line with these, it’s time to be replaced because by law, your car is now unsafe and therefore deemed “unroadworthy”.
A tyre’s ability to grip is affected long before the above happens – especially in wet and extreme conditions such as emergency braking, skidding and cornering.
So, once the thread depth reaches 2-3 millimetre thick (or thin, depending on how you look at it), regard it as done, bearing in mind that a new tyre comes in around the 8 millimetre mark.
• Apart from having sufficient tread around your wheel, the sidewalls, which combine with the air to sustain the car’s load, also needs to be monitored.
• Confused? Concerned? Never compromise your safety – speak to a tyre specialist for sound advice.
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