Checking your tyre treads By Jamie Doutt

February 27th, 2013 in Car Maintenance Tips

How the Queen’s Face Keeps Me Safe

I was at the office the other week when I ‘overheard’ a conversation. A co-worker of mine was discussing whether or not he should invest in new tyres or a whole new surround sound system in his living room. Admittedly, being beaten on Fifa by a 10 year old somewhere in the world, shooting the French on Call of Duty or watching Die Hard or any other mind blowing, explosive, action packed movies with no plot are all undoubtedly experiences that are enhanced by the addition of pointlessly large speakers.

I presumed, possibly incorrectly, that my opinion would be highly valued on this matter. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Right? I asked my colleague if he was definitely sure of his need for new tyres. If he hadn’t had his tyres looked at and was just working on the basis that it had been a certain length of time since he had to buy brand new ones, he may no longer have a decision to make. I persisted to impart my wisdom upon the fortunate individual, or unlucky depending on your view.

We went out to the car park on our dinner break, armed with simply a 20p coin. If you look at a 20p coin you will notice the outer area, around the Queen’s face, is a elevated margin. I turned the steering wheel so that we could measure the tread of the entire wheel; a number of people forget the inside of the tyres which is no less important just because you can’t see it. You should check a number of spots on the tyre, having one weak spot can lead to aquaplaning and other serious accidents.

•             Last year 1168 people were hurt in incidents where faulty tyres were a contributory factor.

•             36 deaths through accidents, where on evaluation, the tyres were regarded as unsafe and needing replacement

•             The tyre is the only point of contact between you and the road

Lots of people don’t really know what tread achieves. Tread lifts the water off the road surface as you drive. Without tread none of your tyre would be in contact with the road, you will actually be in contact with a thin layer of moisture that sits between the road and your car. This is what is usually known as aquaplaning.

Anyhow, back to my story before I get an even higher sense of self significance and superior knowledge (If only I had knowledge on a topic that could earn me an early retirement!)

I proceeded to place the 20p coin in the tread, showing my colleague that if you can’t spot any of the raised margin on the face of the 20p (pictured) then the tyre is still in good condition with regards to tread and wear. I would recommend separate testing for pressure and visual checks on damage that wouldn’t be picked up by placing the Queen’s face on your tyre!

Turns out he had no reason for brand new tyres and subsequently I have formed a friendship with said colleague. The friendship has nothing to do with the fact he has new speakers and a gaming experience that is far better to mine, I swear!

Jamie Douttis a new blogger with a keen interest in anything to do with cars. He has a particular passion for road and tyre safety. If you want to find out more about tyre safety click here.