How to check the condition of your tyres

How to check the condition of your tyres

Tyres are an integral part of safety and performance when it comes to operating machinery, and being able to assess their condition yourself can be a huge advantage. By copping plenty of punishment throughout their lifetime, even the toughest tyres will slowly deteriorate over time and start to lose grip. We’ve compiled some tips for checking the condition of your tyres so that you can include a quick inspection as part of your proactive maintenance regime.


Just like your car, industrial machinery needs tyres with just the right amount of pressure to avoid excessive wear and improve braking capability. Poorly pressurised tyres will also negatively impact grip, comfort, fuel economy and handling. Check with the manufacturer for recommended pressure and ensure you regularly check tyres when they are cold.

Tread wear

Damage to the tread of your tyres can be pretty easily spotted with the naked eye, as gashes and bald or worn patches will affect the pattern of the tread. However, the best way to check the significance of the damage is the wear indicator that is present on almost any tyre you buy. If you haven’t seen a tread indicator before, it’s a raised section of the tyre within the major grooves, perpendicular to the direction of the tread—kind of like a dam in the middle of a canyon. The bar sits equal to the minimum recommended tread; when the surface of your tyre has worn to be level with this bar, it’s time to get a new one.

Sidewall damage

The sidewall of your tyre is important for its overall strength and stability, so damage can often warrant a full replacement. Visually inspect both the outside and inside of the sidewall, keeping an eye out for any tears, scraps or bubbles. There is a grey area around how much damage warrants a replacement, so feel free to contact the manufacturer for advice if you are not able to make the judgement call yourself.

Tyre separations

Tyre separation usually shows as grooves or bulges towards the edges of the tyre, and can result in catastrophic damage if left unnoticed. Separation is often attributed to excessive heat, overloading and low tyre pressure—if you notice damage around the shoulder of the tread which could lead to separation, it’s important to get it replaced as soon as possible.

Wheel nuts

If wheel nuts are not properly torqued, you could end up with some serious damage on your hands—and not just to the tyre. A poorly tightened wheel nut can affect the entire wheel assembly, including the brakes, which is why you should always make sure they are tightened to the right torque as recommended by the supplier.

Published 10 May, 2016
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