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How to check your tyres: are they roadworthy?

By  AAMI

Your tyres take you to all kinds of places, from the mundane to the memorable. And this leads to wear and tear! Don’t leave tyre safety ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Tyre checks should be a big part of your accident prevention plan. After all, your tyres are where your car meets the road.

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Assess tread depth

Tread depth: the depth of the grooves that run vertically across each tyre, and step one of your tyre safety checklist.

A survey by the Australian Road Safety Foundation shows that a shocking 40% of Aussie drivers are unaware of the minimum legal tread depth. Be a road safety warrior and repeat after us: the minimum legal tread depth in Australia is 1.5mm. Anything less reduces your grip levels and puts you at risk of sliding on rainy days. A good rule is to replace your tyres when their tread depths drop below 3mm.

How to check tyre tread depth

Tread depth can be assessed with a tread wear indicator (TWI). This isn’t some fancy gadget you have to buy — it’s a small bar on every tyre next to the letters ‘’TWI’’. When the tread is worn down to the level of the TWI, it’s time to change those tyres.

(Close-up of a TWI)

Not keen on hunting for the TWI? All you need is a coin. Place an Aussie 20c coin into a tyre groove; if the tread doesn’t reach the bill of the iconic platypus, you have less than 3mm of tread left. Time to head to the service station!

(Testing tyre tread depth with a coin)

Inspect the sidewalls

Our Aussie roads can be rough on your tyres, especially if you’re a dirt road-lovin’ road tripper! Gravel, debris and poor road conditions really wear down your rubber. So, regular sidewall inspections are crucial. Signs of damage include cuts, bulges or gouges. If you spot any damage, replace the tyre immediately.

Adjust tyre pressure

Tyre pressure: get it right and you’ll have better grip and longer-lasting tyres. Get it wrong and you’ll have a risky time on the road (and a hole in your wallet).

Check your tyre pressure in the morning when the tyres are cool. To find the right tyre pressure for your car, read the placard bolted to its door frame. It’s important to get the correct figure: over or underinflation leads to uneven wear. Repeat this process at least once a month.

If you’re planning an extended road trip; first off, we’re jealous. Secondly, remember to match your tyre pressure with the extra weight of your luggage. If you’re unsure how to do this, your local service station will help.

Rotate your tyres often

Uneven tyre wear plagues car owners nationwide. Luckily, there’s a hack for that! Get your tyres rotated professionally. Front tyres take on more stress than rear ones. Rotating your tyres will give more even wear, as the load of getting you places is equally shared.

Check your wheel alignment

Wheel misalignment is another silent cause of premature tyre wear. If you notice a wobbly steering wheel or the car drifting to one side, you may need to get your wheels aligned. Leave this one to the professionals.

Avoid sudden jerks

It may seem like once you screw the tyres on and set off, everything is left to the unpredictable road. But no! The way you drive significantly affects the condition of your tyres. So, drive carefully, and no sudden braking — it wears out your rubber.

When you’re a safe driver, your tyres will thank you, and so will we. AAMI knows the value of road safety, so we reward good driving with Safe Driver Rewards credit on your AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance Policy. Safe drivers rejoice!

Don’t forget the spare!

Is your spare tyre lying dusty and forgotten in the boot? Well, spares need some TLC too! Perform the same safety checks on the spare tyre, especially before a long drive. Pay close attention to tyre pressure. Spare tyres ten years or older should be replaced, even if they appear fine.

And remember, while it’s smart to be prepared, no one can be truly certain of the road ahead. This is where AAMI can help! Our Comprehensive Car Insurance covers you in case of damage to your car as well as other people’s vehicles and property. Add on AAMI Roadside Assist so you don’t have to worry about getting stranded in Woop Woop! Cheers to peace of mind!

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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance.
This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.