Your car tyres endure significant friction over the course of several years. To stay safe on the road, then, your tyres need to comply with Irish tyre legislation. Keeping tyres in a good condition will ensure that you stay safer on the road.
When assessing the safety of your tyres, always keep the following questions in mind:
Are your tyres the right kind and size for your car?
Do your tyres meet the appropriate tyre pressure for your car’s make and model, as dictated by the manufacturer?
Are your tyres defect-free?
Is your tyre tread at least 1.6mm deep?
So long as you comply with these, you’ll have a good, must-have bas safety while on the road and alignment with Irish motorist law.
It’s worthwhile though, to dive deeper into the tyre legislation that keeps Irish drivers safe on the motorways.
The introduction of tyre legislation
As of 2003, the Road Traffic (Construction and Use of Vehicles) Regulations established requirements for the conditions of car tyres and tread. These regulations were put into place because legislators wanted drivers on the road to take greater responsibility for their own safety and the safety of other motorists.
As a result, driving with worn or damaged tyres for an extended period of time now reflects malicious intent. If you do so, you’re not only putting your own life at risk, but you’re also endangering the other drivers around you. If caught driving with tyres that don’t comply with Irish tyre legislation, you risk:
a fine of €2,500
3 months in prison
5 penalty points on your licence upon conviction
Proper tyre inflation
To avoid the aforementioned consequences, you should start by assessing the inflation pressure of your tyres. Tyre pressure impacts your car’s fuel efficiency and separates the mechanics of your car from the motorway beneath you.
Your car manufacturer will list the ideal tyre pressure on the inside of your wheel casings. You may look there and then test the pressure of your tyres with a pressure gauge. You can either use an air compressor to bring your tyres up to their appropriate pressure or take your car to a shop to have this service professionally performed. Inflating tyres takes little to no time at all.
If you take your car to the shop, ask a professional if it’s the appropriate time to have your tyres rotated and re-inflated. You don’t need to know how to change tyres to notice when your tyres need rotating. If you aren’t getting as good of gas mileage as you used to, or if your car wobbles on the road, talk to your mechanic.
Tyre alignments will preserve your tyres in the long run, saving you money and keeping you – and other drivers – safe while on the road.
The ideal tyre size and make
You’ll also want to ensure that the tyres you attach to your car are the appropriate size and make for your vehicle. Tyres that are too large will endure significant damage due to misalignment, and tyres that are too small with fail to support your car’s weight and rotate too quickly.
Consult your car’s manufacturer to determine the appropriate size of tyre that your car should have equipped. Make needs will vary, but you can choose from the majority of well-known brands without fear of compromising your car’s safety. You can also consult a rim size/width calculator to determine which wheels will best fit the rims you’ve purchased.
Types of tyres
You can choose between three categories of tyres when determining which best suit your car in a given time of the year:
Winter tyres – these tyres have tread that will dig into any ice and snow on the roads, and they remain more flexible than standard tyres in the winter.
Summer tyres – not strictly seasonal, these tyres are the most commonly used in Ireland.
All-season tyres – these tyres are ideal for versatile cars and can move from wet roads to dry roads with ease.
Despite the seasonal distinction, you can use any of these types of tyres at any time of the year. Summer tyres are lighter than both of their rubber cousins, and while they are the most common type of tyres seen in Ireland, you may want to invest in a hefty tyre if you do more driving over the course of a year. Storing tyres after season and changing them yearly is a great way to cycle your tyres if you live in an area with especially versatile weather.
Checking your tyres for defects
Getting tyres online is the most convenient purchase option. Whenever you get them delivered, remember to always check if all four are in proper condition.
Except for inspecting your freshly bought tyres, regular checkups are recommended every one and then as well as before every long journey. Keep an eye out for the following:
Cracks or crazing of side walls
Loss of tyre pressure on a consistent basis, despite refills
Bulges or deformations in the tyre that impact symmetry
Vibrations through the tyres as you drive
You’ll also want to ensure that the tread of your tyres isn’t too worn down. The Irish law dictates that you need 1.6mm of tread to drive legally on the road. If you don’t have a ruler to test this right off the bat, you can take a 20p coin and place it inside the groove of your tyre.
If you can no longer see the outer band of the coin, then your tyres are within the legal tread limits of Ireland. If not, you should get your tyres replaced as soon as possible.