There’s no specific legal time limit stating when tyres need to be changed. The lifespan of a tyre is very much dependent on several key factors, this includes the driver’s habits – this could be something as simple as your driving style as well as the condition of the road, the climate and how well your car is cared for.

The more miles you do, the more frequently your tyres will have to be changed. Nevertheless, on average, you can expect a tyre to last between 20,000 – 30,000 miles. As we stated, there’s no set time for when you should replace your tyres, more manufacturers agree that tyres shouldn’t be used for longer than 10 years after the manufacturing date.

Regardless of if a 10-year-old tyre is within the legal tread depth regulations and doesn’t show any visible signs of ageing, there may be internal damage compromising the safety of your car. To check the age of your tyres, you need to find the DOT code on the sidewall.

The date a tyre was made will be visible on one side in the form of four numbers usually preceded by the letters ‘DOT’.

These numbers indicate the week number and the year. So, if your tyre was printed with the number 2518, it would be the 25th week of 2018.

Once your tyres reach five years old, it’s advised to have them checked by a tyre professional every year to ensure they’re still in good condition and safe for usage.

So taking all this into consideration, in this blog we are going to look into the various signs that your car tyres need replacing and why this is beneficial for you.

When Do I Need To Change My Tyres?

If your tyres are under the ten-year mark, there are three instances when they need to be changed:

When your tyre has a puncture?

Punctures are the most significant form of tyre damage and need to be dealt with ASAP. There are two different kinds of puncture that a tyre can have: fast and slow.

Fast punctures, also referred to as blowouts, happen when the tyre bursts (by driving over a pothole at speed, for example) causing it to deflate. A vehicle with a burst tyre is in no way safe to use. If this happens, you should pull over and put the spare tyre on; if you don’t have a spare car tyre on you, call your breakdown cover to take you to the nearest tyre shop to fit a replacement on.

A slow puncture will happen when a small breach happens in the tyre – this could be caused by a piece of debris stuck in the wall which can lead to a gradual leakage of air. Lots of drivers continue to use a car with a slow puncture for a fair amount of time before getting the damaged tyre changed. This is not recommended. A slow punctured tyre will increase your likelihood of being involved in a car accident and should be changed as soon as you clock on to it.

The tread depth is below the legal limit

Tread is the rubber on the outer surface of the tyre which has grooves to help with the grip of the road’s surface. The depth of the grooves is known as the tread depth. In the UK, the legal tread depth limit is 1.6mm.

There’s an easy way to check whether your tread depth is within the legal limit called the 20p test. Take a 20p coin and put it into one of the tyre’s grooves. If the outer ring of the coin’s design is covered by the tread, then the tread will be safe. But, if the coin’s outer ring is not covered, then the tread is not deep enough and is illegal – you’ll need to replace the tyre immediately.

The tyre is visibility damaged

Prior to you starting a journey, you’ll need to take note of the state of your tyres to see if there are any obvious bulges, blisters or splits in the sidewall. Looking at these indicates serious internal tyre damages.

Also, be sure to check your tyres for ‘blistering’. This is where excessive heat causes chunks of the rubber to sheer off and could cause a puncture while you are behind the wheel.

While you’re checking the condition of the sidewalls, you should also pay attention to uneven patterns of wear-and-tear which can result from misaligned wheels, incorrect tyre pressure or excessive turning. Uneven wear doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to change the tyre immediately, but it will alter your steering and may also lengthen your braking distance.

What impacts the wear and tear of your tyres

If you can identify the signs of tyre wear-and-tear, this is going to make it simpler to realise when your tyres are likely to need changing before they blowout, get below the legal tread limit or become damaged beyond repair. There are a few factors that can further impact how quickly your tyres will need to be changed.

Driving habits

Your personal driving style is the easiest aspect to control. If you constantly drive fast, you will likely wear the tread more quickly, as will aggressive braking, accelerating and cornering. Similarly, the number of miles you cover every year will impact a tyre’s longevity. Tyres that travel 3,000 miles a year will inevitably last longer than tyres that complete 15,000 miles every year.

Road safety conditions

Travelling on a smooth, freshly tarmacked road is obviously going to be more beneficial for your tyres compared to a gravel road. As well as this, a lot of city driving will increase the chances of encountering speed bumps or having to drive on a road littered with potholes.


Harsh weather conditions will increase tyre damage; soaring temperatures will also heat the road up and could lead to cracks, whereas wet weather can directly wear the tread away. If you have a garage or an enclosed parking space, this will certainly help to increase the lifespan of your tyres.

Tyre pressure

Manufacturers always indicate the correct pressure for a tyre – often you can find them in the car’s manual, inside the petrol cap or printed on the inside ledge of the driver’s door.

Tyres that are at a significantly lowered pressure than their optimal rate will wear faster due to the fact that they will flatten and more of the rubber will be in contact with the road, triggering an increased amount of friction.

The most common thing that triggers a tyre blowout is underinflation. The increased friction from the flatter tyre generates heat which weakens the tyre and eventually leads to it bursting.

Buying replacement tyres

When you inevitably have to purchase new tyres, there are a couple of simple things you can do to get good results:

Attempt to replace all four at once – although this can be expensive, getting a full set of new tyres will provide ideal handling and control. With this in mind, always replace tyres on the same axle and at the same time – whether it’s the front or rear, you need to replace both of them to retain wheel alignment and ensure an even them with the older tyres.

Try to get the same brand, load capacity and tread pattern as the ones you’re replacing keep the same speed rating – particularly if you’re not replacing all four at one time, otherwise, some of your tyres may be capable of higher speeds than others will be.

Your tyres are the only section of the vehicle that comes into contact with the road, so it’s especially important to keep your tyres in the best possible condition to improve your safety and the safety of others drivers.

Looking for a garage near you? Look no further than Portsmouth Exhausts & Tyre Services – We offer quality car tyre repair

At Portsmouth & Petersfield Exhaust and Tyre Services, getting your car back on the road quickly and safely is our top priority. With our range of garage services in Portsmouth and Petersfield, we’re proud to be the go-to car garage for drivers in the local area. We always put our customers first, and are dedicated to making car servicing, repairs, tyre replacements, MOTs, maintenance services and much more simple, convenient and cost-effective. If you’re looking for a reliable auto garage near you, look no further than the mechanics at P.E.T.S. Book your car into a Portsmouth or Petersfield branch today or to find out more about the services we offer, please get in touch.