Taking care of your tyres

Look after your tyres and they'll look after you. Fact: the only things connecting you and your car to the road are your tyres. And while it's all too easy to ignore your tyres, they can only give you their best if you take a little time to look after them properly. Don't feel daunted by the need to take care of your tyres - regular checks (at least once every couple of weeks) needn't take long. Check those pressures: Tyre pressures must be checked at least monthly and you'll find the right tyre pressures for your car in the handbook.

Check those pressures

Tyre pressures must be checked at least monthly, you'll find the right tyre pressures for your car in the handbook. If you can't, or have lost the handbook, ask your local Avon dealer to look them up for you.

If you're checking the pressures yourself, try to use a digital tyre pressure gauge - they're not expensive but they are more accurate than the gauge on most garage forecourts. It's important to check the pressures when your tyres are cold, so wait for about an hour from when you last drove on them.

Another thing to remember is that if you're driving at constant high speeds or are carrying a heavy load, the pressures can be different - again, consult your car's handbook or ask your Avon dealer for advice.

Under or over inflated tyres can seriously affect your car's handling, ride and braking behaviour and could lead to an accident. In other words, it pays to get the pressures right. It's worth noting that you can't always tell just by looking, so always use a gauge. Also bear in mind that a wrongly inflated tyre will wear out quicker, which will leave a nasty feeling in your wallet.

How's your tread looking?

Peer into the bottom of the tread grooves of your tyre and you'll see raised rubber strips. These are the Tyre Wear Indicators; if your tyre tread wears down to their level on any part of the tread, it's definitely time for new tyres, because you're approaching the legal minimum.

Best not to wait until then, though, because the more tread depth you have, the better your tyre will perform in wet conditions. And never let your tread wear down further than the Tread Wear Indicators or you could face a very large fine and other legal punishments. What's more, your car's handling and roadholding will become unstable and unpredictable - not good.

It doesn't take long to cast your eye over your tyres' treads, and it's time well spent.

Other things to watch out for

Uneven wear - If your tyre tread is badly worn in some parts but not in others, it could mean that your tyre pressure is too high or too low; check it.

Tracking problems - Excessive wear around the outside edges of your front tyres could mean your front suspension has been knocked out of line through hitting a deep pothole or banging against a kerb. Ask your Avon dealer to check your car's tracking; if it is out of alignment, getting it fixed will make your car feel much better to drive.

Wheels out of balance - Wobble through the steering wheel? This may mean your wheels and tyres are out of balance because a 'balance weight' has dropped off. Having your wheels balanced at your Avon dealer is quick and inexpensive.

Sidewall damage - Look out for cracks, bulges, kerbing damage and splits in the sidewall of your tyre, as they are potentially dangerous and could be illegal. Ask your Avon dealer to examine any defects to assess whether they are repairable, or whether you should replace the tyre. Don't be tempted to 'risk it'.

The spare tyre - Easily forgotten until the dreaded day you actually need it. Check its pressure regularly and ensure it's not damaged or too badly worn.