If you need new tyres, talk to the experts you can trust.
Is there an age where tyres need to be changed?Generally speaking, a vehicle’s tyres should be replaced after five years, regardless of the amount of wear.
Do all four tyres on my car need to be the same brand?Provided the tyres are the correct specification for the vehicle, you do not need to have the same brand.
How often do I need to check my tyre air pressure?RAC advise that tyre pressure should be checked monthly, when the tyres are cold.
RAC tyre service
Tyres can be deceiving. Although there may not be any hairline cracks, bulges or missing bits of rubber, the tyre can still deteriorate. This is due to UV light, weather conditions and the quality of the tyres. A tyre can look new or in good condition but not be fresh and pliable. Generally speaking, a vehicle’s tyres should be replaced after five years, regardless of the amount of wear showing on them.
Provided the tyres are the correct specification for the vehicle, you do not need to have the same brand front and rear, though we recommend having the same brand and age of tyres across each axle.
Using wheels and tyres which are different in diameter and width from those originally supplied with the vehicle may cause speedometer inaccuracies and some suspension issues over time. This also applies to front-wheel drive vehicles in a general sense. Get at least three different quotes for new tyres.
While it is legal to put tyres with different tread patterns on a vehicle, it is recommended to at least retain the same tyre brand, tread pattern and specifications across the same axle. In other words, the two front tyres should be the same and the two rear tyres should be the same. The tread pattern of a tyre controls how the car grips to the road, disperses the water and generally how the car handles. It is unlikely that tyres with different tread patterns would cause any issues with the driveline. Ideally though, it is recommended to change either two or all four tyres at a time. It is also important to ensure the tyres have the same size, speed and load rating.
A wheel alignment is a process by which small adjustments are made to ensure all four wheels on your car are aligned correctly in relation to one another, meaning they are sitting parallel to one another and perpendicular to the ground.
When your wheels are properly aligned it ensures your tyres can move with less resistance on the road which improves vehicle handling, such as helping ensure the steering doesn’t pull in one direction. It also reduces excessive wear on your tyres.
If your car’s steering seems to pull in one direction, either towards the centre of the road or towards the kerb while you’re driving, the wheels may need alignment. Other possible causes of the steering pulling in one direction are the brakes being out of adjustment, worn suspension or having uneven tyre pressures. Want to learn the difference between needing a wheel alignment and wheel balance, read our article on this topic.
On the side wall of your tyre, you’ll find the size detail for your tyres. It will also be listed in your tyre placard. There are several types of tyres that come in a variety of sizes, specifically designed to fit onto cars, four-wheel drives, light trucks, utes and vans. We have a handy article with a diagram to help decode.
RAC tyre maintenance
A tyre is legally worn out when it has less than 1.5mm of tread. Not only is it important for our own safety and for others on the road but it’s also a legal requirement to have at least 1.5mm of tread on your vehicle’s tyres. Worn tyres can cause a lack of control, hydroplaning, blowouts and understeering. In wet weather, worn tyres considerably increase effective braking distances.
Did you know that brand new tyres come with 8mm of tread, and then slowly get worn down? If your tyres are below 3mm, it's highly recommended that you look at changing your tyres.
If you need new tyres, RAC can help, our mobile tyre van can come to you* or choose one of local service centres.
RAC Tyres advise that tyre pressures should be checked at least once a month, and it is best to check when cold.
Tyre pressures should be set to manufacturer specification, which can be found on the tyre placard. This is usually located in the driver's door jamb, under the bonnet or in the glove box.
A tyre pressure gauge is used to measure tyre pressure, essentially it measures the air in your tyre. To check your tyre pressure, you need to:
- Remove the valve cap from your tyre
- Place the pressure gauge on the valve stem. You need to press hard enough so the sound disappears
- Your gauge will then provide your tyre pressure
While pure nitrogen does have some advantages over air for racing car tyres, where pressures are subject to more potential fluctuation due to temperature changes, the use of pure nitrogen for road car tyres is less essential.
Remember that regular air is already 78 percent nitrogen, so paying extra for pure nitrogen (which may not actually be pure nitrogen) would for most people be poor value for money given the imperceptible difference it would make.
I want to learn more about tyres
Your tyres have a lot of useful information printed on the sidewall about the type of tyre, loadings and tyre dimensions. Here’s how to read the markings on your tyre:
A. The brand, make and model of the tyre.
B. These three numbers show the tyre width in millimetres. This is the total inflated width at its widest point (excluding sidewall ribs and lettering). The ‘P’ indicates this is a passenger car tyre.
C. This number shows the height of the tyre as a percentage of the section width (B). This P205/60 tyre shows the section width is 205mm and the height is 60 per cent of that. The lower this number, the lower the tyre profile.
D. This letter shows the type of construction. R stands for radial, B for Bias.
E. This number represents the rim diameter which fits the tyre. This measurement is always in inches.
F. This number is checked against a chart to identify the maximum load the tyre can carry at the speed indicated.
G. This letter represents the maximum safety speed. Passenger tyre speed ratings start at N (140km/h) and go to Y (300km/h).
*Mobile service areas and availability may be limited and fitment locations must be suitable for practical reasons. 10% discount applies to tyre and fitting only. MRB 723