First Aid Wheels’ Guide to Simple Alloy Wheel Cleaning Hacks

Clean alloy wheels

Alloy wheels are a fantastic addition to your car. Not only do they enhance vehicle performance; they also look the part and often draw admiring glances from onlookers. Indeed, many drivers take great pride in owning a vehicle that is equipped with alloys, so they’ll want to ensure that the quality of the wheels does not diminish.

It’s important, therefore, to clean your alloys regularly, as stains like brake dust and oil can settle permanently if not removed quickly. If you’re going to clean your alloys, you may as well do it right, so learn how to get the best possible clean on your wheels. It will save you having to do it too often!

It is advised that you use prescribed cleaning products for removing stains from alloy wheels, but in the absence of same, the occasional home remedy can work perfectly well. Below, we have listed some household products which could double up as alloy wheel cleaners if ever the need arose, so scroll down for some very useful alloy wheel cleaning hacks.

How to clean alloy wheels: the process step-by-step

Part 1: Cleaning

  1. Rinse the wheels to remove loose dirt and brake dust. A fire hose nozzle emits a powerful stream of water, but not so forceful as to damage the wheels.
  2. Spray each wheel separately with a fit for purpose alloy wheel cleaner. As they are non-acidic, they won’t affect the finish of the wheels.
  3. Agitate the wheel with a soft-bristled wheel brush, which will loosen grime and brake dust but doesn’t scratch the finish. Ensure to reach through the spokes so that they are cleaned both front and back.
  4. Clean the lug nuts (both outside and inside the holes) while ensuring that the wheel is wet. If you let wheel cleaner dry into the wheel, it will leave spots on the finish.
  5. Spray the wheel wells with an all-purpose cleaner, as they are likely to have accumulated dirt and mud. This will probably require a stronger cleaner than what you used on the wheels. It helps to agitate the wells first with a long-handled, sturdy-bristled brush.
  6. Rinse the entire wheel (including wells, lug nuts and between the spokes).
  7. Dry the wheel with a clay lubricant or chamois cloth, which will remove any lingering stains but is still gentle on the wheel.
  8. Repeat as above for the other wheels.

Part 2: Claying

  1. Once the wheels have been cleaned, it’s then advisable to spray them generously with a clay lubricant to remove stubborn contaminants.
  2. Take a quarter of a medium-grade detailing clay bar, flatten it into a patty and rub over the wheels, ensuring to apply it between the spokes.
  3. Fold the clay bar over to a clean side and use it to remove any clay residue before wiping the wheels clean.

Part 3: Polishing

  1. Wipe metal polish onto each wheel separately. Your choice of polish should be determined by the surface metal of your alloys.
  2. Attach a polishing powerball to a drill and spread the polish throughout the wheel, slowly at first before gradually increasing the speed. Keep using the powerball until the polish begins to dry or fade.
  3. Wipe the wheel clean with a microfibre towel and then repeat each step for the other wheels.

Part 4: Waxing

  1. After the wheel has dried, seal the surface of the wheel with a quality wheel protectant.
  2. Apply the wheel protectant with an applicator pad and then buff the wheel. This will give it a nice shine while also preventing brake dust adhesion.
  3. Repeat this process on a regular basis.

Part 5: Dressing

  1. Choose a tyre dressing based on whether you want a glossy shine or a long-lasting protectant.
  2. Follow the directions as specified by your chosen dressing’s label.
  3. Apply coats thinly and allow the dressing to dry in fully before you drive the vehicle.
  4. Ensure that you don’t ‘pool’ the dressing around raised letters and white walls.

How to clean alloy wheelsRegular alloy wheel cleaning is essential.

Alloy wheel cleaning hacks

While you should clean alloy wheels thoroughly using recommended cleaning products, some stains could be removed by home solutions.

  • Aluminium tinfoil & cola: If you have rust spots that need removing, this mixture works excellently. Soak a piece of aluminium foil (also called tinfoil) in some cola and rub it against the rust like you would if you were sanding a piece of wood.
  • Vinegar: Lingering grease can affect the quality and appearance of your alloys, but it can be removed with an application of white vinegar on a microfibre cloth. Cider also works well for this purpose.
  • Lemon juice: If you’ve managed to remove the toughest stains from your alloys, why not make those clean wheels even more distinctive by adding a splendid shine? Squeeze some lemon juice onto the alloys (or apply with a cloth) and leave it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off with water.
  • Oven cleaner: Brake dust is quite hard to eliminate, even with plentiful scrubbing, but an oven cleaning product can remove this stubborn stain. Shake the container, spray it into the wheels (be careful not to get any on the bodywork of your vehicle) and leave it for a few minutes before a quick scrub and hosing.
  • Baking soda: When allowed to set into your wheels, rust can be damaging, so baking soda is an ideal home remedy. Mix with water to create a paste, apply the mixture to your wheels and rinse off afterwards.
  • Baby oil: For shiny, rust-free alloy wheels, you could do a lot worse than apply a dab of baby oil on a cotton cloth. Dab is the operative word here as you don’t want to go overboard on the quantity, and it’s especially important not to get the oil on your tyres.
  • WD40: Few products remove tar better than WD40. Spray the substance onto affected areas of the wheels and scrub with a stiff brush before rinsing with a hose, as any lingering WD40 could seep onto the tyre and make it dangerously slick.

This video shows how effectively vinegar can clean and shine alloy wheels.

 Tips for cleaning alloy wheels 

  • Never clean alloy wheels with abrasive products, polishing compounds or steel wool. These will harm the quality and longevity of your alloys.
  • If you avail of an automatic car wash, find out if it uses acid-based cleaners or heavy duty brushes, as these could ruin your wheels.
  • Don’t wash your wheels until they have cooled, as the heat will evaporate the water and leave soap spots on your alloys. Spraying a wheel when it’s hot could warp your brake pads, too.
  • Never steam-clean your wheels, as this could harm their finish.
  • Change the cloth with which you clean your alloys after each cleaning so that you don’t scrape the wheels with particles that the used cloth had already gathered from the wheels.
  • Apply a good wheel wax at least once every three months for enhanced protection and shine.

Infographic - A Comprehensive Guide to Tyres

The modern vehicle has dozens of different components making it work, but unless your four tyres are doing their job, you'll literally be going nowhere. This infographic outlines basic points that all drivers should know about their tyres, including how to perform simple yet essential checks.

A Comprehensive Guide to Tyres

All You Need to Know About Alloy Wheels: A Guide by First Aid Wheels

What are alloy wheels

What are alloy wheels?

The term ‘alloy wheels’ refers to wheels which are produced from a mixture of aluminium and traces of other metals, a combination which helps to create a wheel that is very strong yet also lightweight. While they are more expensive than steel-plated wheels, they add a fantastic visual enhancement to your vehicle and they can increase a car’s overall value.

Aluminium on its own is rather lightweight, but when it is combined with other metals for the formation of alloy wheels, the entire product becomes substantially reinforced. They are primarily used in high performance vehicles, particularly those for racing purposes, although they have become a common sight on public roads in recent years.

The benefits of having alloy wheels

• They have a huge aesthetic appeal in comparison to steel wheels and hubcaps.

• They decrease a vehicle’s unsprung weight (weight not supported by the vehicle’s suspension), leading to better handling and acceleration.

• They increase brake clearance, which gives drivers greater control over deceleration.

• They are very durable due to the alliance of aluminium with other metals.

• The dispersal of heat reduces the likelihood of the wheels cracking or bending, as well as allowing for more efficient braking.

• They allow air to flow freely around all of the tyre, which helps to cool the brakes.

• They increase the value of your vehicle for all of the above reasons.

Alloy wheels vs Steel wheels

Alloy wheels

• Aluminium alloy can be cast and customised to a huge range of designs, giving cars a more bespoke, individual appearance.

• The mixture of aluminium and nickel is quite light, allowing for greater agility while driving and improved acceleration.

• This smoother drive makes driving on alloys quite enjoyable during the summer months.

• Alloy wheel covers can be polished, painted, machined or chromed to provide a sleek, classy appearance.

• Alloys are often the preferred option for motorists who want a high performance drive in an aesthetically outstanding vehicle.

Steel wheels

• Steel wheel designs tend to be generic and pragmatic.

• They are quite heavy, which makes them robust but less spectacular in terms of driving performance.

• They are more ideal for winter months, as their superior weight will bite snow harder and provide better grip.

• Steel wheel covers don’t have huge visual appeal and they can be prone to damage or coming loose entirely.

• Steel wheels tend to be more popular for no-frills drivers who simply want their vehicle to get them from point A to B.

Benefits of alloy wheels – colour customisation
Bespoke colour customisation is one of the many benefits of alloy wheels.

What is wheel offset?

Wheel offset refers to the distance between the centreline and the hub mounting face at the back of the wheel. The offset figure is generally stamped or engraved on the wheel and is measured in millimetres of ET (deriving from the German word Einpresstiefe, literally translated as insertion depth). An offset reading falls into one of three categories – positive, zero or negative – depending upon the location of the mounting face.

Positive offset wheels have their mounting face towards the front of the wheel and most front wheel drive cars fall under this category.

Zero offset wheels have their mounting face even with the centreline of the wheel.

Negative offset wheels have their mounting face towards the back of the wheel and most rear wheel drive cars fall under this category.

What is PCD?

Pitch circle diameters (PCD) refer to the diameter of a hypothetical circle drawn through the centre of a wheel’s bolt holes. It is measured in millimetres and indicates the number of studs or bolts that the wheel can have.

Taking Volkswagen as an example, their alloy wheels usually have a PCD of 4 x 100 (4 bolt holes drilled through the centre of an imaginary circle) or 5 x 100 (5 bolt holes drilled through the centre of an imaginary circle).

What is centre bore?

An alloy wheel’s centre bore refers to the size of the hole at the back of the wheel into which the hub fits. In order for the wheel to sit properly, the hole and the hub need to be exactly the same size.

The majority of contemporary wheels are hub centric, meaning that the hub protruding from your vehicle is load bearing – the studs and bolts simply secure the wheel in place onto the hub. With older, lug centre wheels, you will need to keep a sharper eye on your studs and bolts and replace them every once in a while. Ensure to tighten the wheels to roughly 75% of maximum tightness so that they are centred.

Find out the ideal wheel offset, PCD and centre bore for your car here.

This video offers a neat 3-minute summary explanation of wheel offset, PCD and centre bore.

How to fit alloy wheels

1. Ensure that you have the right type of bolts, as they are available in a large variety of diameters, threads and seatings.

2. Ensure that you have the 4 plastic spigot rings which help the interface between the wheel and the hub.

3. Ensure that your handbrake or parking brake is applied and then jack up your car.

4. Put a wheel up to your car and make sure that the bolt holes are aligned correctly, the wheel is correctly located on the hub and that there is wheel arch, suspension strut and brake arch clearance.

5. Tighten the bolts and nuts to the manufacturer’s specified torque – usually about 75% of maximum tightness.

6. Take the jack off your car.

How to find out alloy wheel sizes

To find out the diameter of your alloy wheels, check your tyre’s sidewall for an alphanumeric reading, which will usually read something like 205/45 R15. The latter figure refers to the radial diameter of the tyre, in this case 15 inches.

If you wish to find out the width of your alloy wheels, you will have to look at the wheel itself. Each alloy wheel has its size stamped into it – this is most often found on the inside of the wheel on the back of the spokes, although it can occasionally be visible on the wheel’s outside. The stamp will usually read something like 17 x 7, in which case the wheel is 7 inches wide and has a 17-inch diameter.

Typical alloy wheel damage

Chipping: Alloy wheels can become chipped upon impact and visible small chunks are taken out of the wheel.

Cracking: Any impact on alloy wheels while driving could cause the wheel to become cracked, which could be a serious problem. If a crack develops on a delicate part of the wheel, or grows to a substantial size, it is likely that the wheel will need to be scrapped.

Corrosion: The reaction of the alloy wheel with salt on the road could cause the wheel to become corroded. Damage of this nature is normally identifiable by the appearance of white dust on parts of the wheel and could sometimes lead to structural damage.

Kerb damage: Scraping your wheel off a kerb could cause substantial damage, the extent of which will vary depending on the nature of the wheel and the scale of impact with the kerb.

If you notice these, or any other, types of damage on your alloy wheels, it is likely that they will need a full refurbishment, a service that you can get from the team at First Aid Wheels.

Alloy wheel damage
Cracks such as this can be seriously problematic for alloy wheels.

How to avoid damaging alloy wheels

• Avoid hitting obvious dangers such as potholes, kerbs and raised manhole covers.

• If you regularly drive on a road that has any of these obstacles present, remember where you’ll come across then or perhaps consider taking an alternative route.

• Watch out for cars ahead of you to see if they swerve to avoid any obstacles.

• Be mindful of ‘freeze/melt’ cycles where water seeps into a crack and freezes, breaking up the concrete around it, before melting and causing the crack to expand into a full-blown pothole.

• Avoid puddles, full stop. It’s unlikely that you would drive into a puddle in any case, but be particularly mindful of it on potholed roads or after freeze/melt cycles. A seemingly miniature puddle could be concealing a substantial pothole.

• If you hit upon a sneaky pothole, or you have no alternative but to hit it, try to drive through it rather than being tempted to slam on the brakes. Driving straight through it will spread out any damage evenly across the whole wheel, whereas slamming a brake-locked wheel into it will concentrate the force of the impact on a particular area, which is more likely to damage the wheel significantly.

Bent wheel symptoms: warning signs to watch out for

Unexplained vibration: If you feel a sudden, inexplicable vibration while driving, this could indicate a bent wheel. If the vibration comes from the steering wheel, the front wheels could be bent; or if a vibration is felt in the seat, it could be emanating from bent rear wheels. These are not exact diagnoses but they should help with troubleshooting the overall problem.

Shaky steering: If your steering feels shaky or unresponsive, this is a definite red flag. Take corners and bends as smoothly as possible until you can get to a garage for a proper diagnosis, as tight cornering on a bent wheel could easily lead to tyre blowout.

Punctured tyre: A bent alloy wheel will lead to a puncture if it is not treated. As the tyre sits flush against the wheel, even a slight bend in the rim will slowly leak air your tyre until it is rightly punctured.

Bent rim: On an alloy wheel, a bent rim should be instantly noticeable. If you notice even a tiny bend, take your vehicle to a garage for further inspection.

Need alloy wheel refurbishment? Give First Aid Wheels a call

Infographic - A Second Hand Car Buyer’s Guide

Many motorists choose to buy vehicles second hand and while you can pick up some great bargains for great cars, you could also be taking a chance on a vehicle that is destined to give you trouble. This infographic identifies all the things you should find out about a second hand car before you decide to buy.

A Second Hand Car Buyers Guide

All You Need to Know About Tyres: A Guide by First Aid Wheels

First Aid Wheels tyre guide

The importance of car tyres comes down to logic as simple as this: without a good set of them, you won’t go too far. Those black circles around your wheels keep the vehicle in motion and need to be treated right, because if they’re faulty, your car could suddenly come to a halt and you’ll be left stranded.

This comprehensive tyre guide delves into a number of practical topics, such as how to change a tyre, check tyre pressure and tread, what is the legal tyre tread and why is tyre rotation so important. There’s also plenty of tyre maintenance tips for motorists, so read on to see how you can get the best out of your tyres for the longest possible time.

Functions of Tyres

Your car’s tyres are essential components of the vehicle and these rubber circles act as the intermediary between your vehicle and the road. Your tyres perform several vital functions:

 They support the weight of the vehicle, as well as the people and objects within it.

 They transfer torque, traction and braking forces to the surface of the road.

They perform an essential cushioning function by absorbing rod shocks.

 They provide a stable response to changes in the car’s direction resulting from your steering.

Types of Tyres

Summer tyres: Warm, sunny weather is the easiest in which to drive, and summer tyres usually come with a simple block-shape tread pattern to ensure rigid contact with the road, maximising the friction between tyre and road surface for optimum grip.

Winter tyres: In stark contrast to ideal summer conditions, the snow and ice of the winter months can make driving extremely hazardous. Specially-manufactured winter tyres come with added grip to improve car control and braking performance on icy roads, thanks to the deep, wide grooves which provide increased traction.

All-season tyres: For motorists fortunate enough to live in an area where extreme weather conditions are rare, a good economical option is to fit all-season tyres on your car. However, they do not perform as optimally as season-specific summer or winter tyres, and if roads are very icy, they may not provide sufficient grip, even with the good traction they offer.

Wet weather tyres: Wet roads can be dangerous, especially if heavy rain follows a long dry spell where roads could become oily and slippery. Wet weather tyres come with a larger than usual tread depth (it should always be at least 1.6mm) to expel the rain away from where the tyre is in contact with the road. A larger tyre depth increases the tyre’s ability to evacuate water.

High performance tyres: These are manufactured chiefly for luxury and sports cars. They are softer and grip better than regular tyres and they are also better for cornering, but they have a rather short lifespan and, in wet conditions, they cannot dissipate water as quickly as normal tyres.

All-terrain tyres: Also known as off-road tyres, these can operate smoothly on regular tarmac roads as well as rougher terrains. Their strong traction enables them to handle sandy or marshy roads, the bold tread pattern prevents mud and water from clogging and they also provide a quite comfortable ride quality, even on rocky terrain.

Run flat tyres: A newer addition to the tyre market, run flat tyres can keep going even if they are punctured and lose air pressure. That said, you will still need to get the damaged tyre changed once you reach home or get to a garage; you’ll simply be able to avoid having to pull over in the event of a puncture or loss of pressure.

Eco tyres: With more and more motorists becoming environmentally conscious, eco tyres allow for a reduction in fuel consumption without compromising on performance. Silica is added to the tyre’s tread compound, which decreases the resistance of tyres during ‘rolling’ without a corresponding loss of grip, and it also lowers fuel consumption. Eco tyres can potentially save motorists more than £50 a year.

4x4 tyres: These are designed specifically for vehicles with four-wheel drive. 4x4 performance tyres provide motorists with excellent grip on all road surfaces and have all the quality of high performance tyres, except with a far greater lifespan due to their hard tread compound.

Asymmetric tyres: These have differing tread patterns between their inner and outer edges, with the small inner tread blocks improving grip on wet roads and the large outer tread blocks helping with cornering. The middle of the tread is stable and consistent, and these tyres provide an excellent overall performance.

Directional tyres: These are designed to rotate in one set direction as indicated by an arrow on the tyre’s sidewall. They are ideal for dispersing water, reducing road noise and improving directional stability.

Temporary tyres: Widely known as spare tyres, these are contained within the boot/trunk of your car and are smaller and lighter than normal tyres. They are intended solely as an emergency back-up measure and should be returned to the boot/trunk as soon as you can get the original tyre replaced adequately.

How long do tyres last?

How long do tyres last?

In truth, there is no hard or fast answer as to how long a tyre should last. The reality is that the lifespan of your car’s tyres can vary depending on several factors, as outlined below:

Tyre type: As outlined in the previous section, certain types of tyres are designed to provide high quality in certain conditions, although this can be offset by the tyre having a shorter lifespan than normal.

Driving style: Sharp cornering and sudden braking will cause your tyres to wear very quickly.

Position: Tyres at the front of your car will wear quicker due to the level of strain put upon them while driving. It is strongly recommended to rotate your tyres frequently so as to ensure an equal lifespan for the full set of tyres on your vehicle.

Speed: Regular driving at high speed will wear down your tyres very quickly.

Weight load: The more weight that is in the vehicle from passengers and luggage, the more of a strain is put on your car’s tyres, causing them to wear more quickly than usual.

Tyre pressure: Tyres should be inflated to a specified pressure. Going too far under or over this specification will lead to the tyres wearing very quickly.

Alignment: Your wheels should be aligned correctly so as to avoid uneven and premature tyre wear.

How to calculate your tyres’ size

If you look closely at your tyres, you may see a set of numbers like 200/50/16, to give an example. Each of these numbers corresponds to the size of the tyre. Taking the example above, let’s examine what each of these numbers means.

The first figure (200) refers to the width of the tyre in millimetres.

The second figure (50) refers to the percentage ratio of the tyre’s width to its height. In this case, the tyre has a height of 100 mm (200 x 0.5).

The third figure (16) refers to the inside diameter of the tyre in inches.

To calculate the standing height of your tyre, convert its aspect height (100 mm) into inches by dividing by 25.4. In this example, the tyre is 3.94 inches high. As you need to account for both the top and bottom sidewall, multiply the height by two (7.88 inches in this example) and add the inside diameter. We have now determined the standing height of the tyre, in this case 23.88 inches (7.88 + 16), and when purchasing new tyres, you now know the size of the tyre that will fit best for your car.

You can find an online tyre size calculator here.

Changing a tyre: instructions and advice

Changing a tyre

Changing a tyre is something that all of us will have to do at some point, so it is hugely important for drivers to know how to change a tyre.

Instructions

1. Ensure that there is nobody inside the vehicle.

2. Pull up the handbrake and put the vehicle in park (if automatic) or in first gear (if manual).

3. Block the wheels on the side that you’re not lifting.

4. Remove the wheel cover and loosen (but don’t remove) the wheel nuts with a wrench while all of the vehicle’s wheels are still touching the road.

5. Place the jack in the correct jacking point on a firm, even surface and slowly raise the vehicle.

6. Remove the wheel nuts (you should be able to do this by hand provided they’re loose enough) and then use both hands to pull off the wheel.

7. Attach the spare tyre and replace all the wheel nuts, twisting them in by hand as far as possible.

8. Use the jack to lower the vehicle back onto the ground and tighten the wheel nuts with the wrench.

9. Replace the wheel cover and go straight to a tyre shop to get the damaged wheel replaced or repaired.

Advice

Practice changing a tyre while parked outside your home if you haven’t done so before. When doing so, make sure that there is somebody with you who can affix the tyre if you struggle with changing it.

Always keep a small plastic sheet or mat, a pair of gloves and a torch with spare batteries in your car, as you may have to change your tyre at any time.

Put on your vehicle’s hazard lights if changing a tyre at the side of the road.

Do not attempt to change a tyre without the correct tools. If you don’t have a jack or adequate tools to hand, call for assistance.

If there is another person with you when changing a tyre, either get them to guide you as you change the tyre, or vice versa. If changing a very heavy tyre, ask them to help you with moving it.

How to check for the correct tyre pressure: instructions and advice

Instructions

1. Find out the correct pressure for your tyres by checking either the vehicle’s handbook or the inside of the driver’s door or fuel cap. You can also calculate the correct pressure for your tyres here.

2. Unscrew the plastic cap on the tyre’s air valve.

3. Press the tyre pressure gauge against the valve and keep it held firmly. If you hear a hissing noise, this means that air is escaping and you will need to press harder.

4. Read the measurement that the gauge is showing.

5. If you need to add more air, keep pumping the gauge until it shows the correct tyre pressure. If you need to deflate the tyre slightly, stop holding the valve firmly until such a point that it shows the correct tyre pressure.

6. Once the correct amount of pressure has been reached, screw the plastic cap back onto the valve.

Advice

Check the pressure of your tyres at least once a month.

Only check for tyre pressure when the tyres are cold, so as to get a true reading.

Always check the pressure of your tyres before undertaking long journeys.

Underinflated tyres can go flat and build up internal heat, as well as reducing fuel economy.

Overinflated tyres have very little grip on the road and can easily be damaged if they encounter debris or potholes.

How to check tyre tread

This video shows you how to check tyre tread in order to ensure that the legal tyre tread requirements are met.

The legal tyre tread depth under UK law is 1.6mm. If your tread is any lower than this, your tyres are very unsafe and immediately need to be replaced.

You can easily pick up tyre tread depth gauges to measure the depth of your tyres’ tread. To check the tyre tread, slot the gauge into one of the grooves on your tyre and take a reading from the gauge.

A brand new tyre will usually had a tread depth of approximately 8mm. This will wear down throughout the lifespan of the tyre and when the tread reaches 3mm, it is recommended that you change your tyres, as the performance of tyres begins to reduce substantially once the tread is less than this. It is illegal to drive on tyres with a tread depth of less than 1.6mm.

You should check your tyre tread at least once a month, as well as before and after long journeys. There are also some warning signs to look out for which, if apparent, may have a critical effect on your tyre tread. These include:

Being able to see the tread wear bars on the tyre’s sidewall.

An item (e.g. a nail or thumbtack) being lodged in the tread.

The tyres appearing worn on their edges or in the centre.

Uneven wear across one or all of your tyres.

A saw-toothed/feathered appearance around the edge of the tyre.

Tyre rotation guide – what is the proper way to rotate tyres?

This diagram shows the proper way to rotate tyres for both front wheel drive and rear wheel drive vehicles.

Tyres wear out at different rates, depending on where they are positioned. Tyres at the front of your car will wear considerably quicker than those at the back, as there is greater pressure being applied to front tyres, so it is well worth rotating your tyres every few months in order to get the most out of them. That said, rotating your tyres won’t correct any problems associated with overinflated or underinflated tyres.

Generally speaking, you should rotate your tyres every 10,000 km (6,250 miles) so as to maximise the life of your tyres. However, depending on your driving circumstances, rotation may be needed even sooner. For example, if you drive for a living and you routinely carry heavy loads or travel long distances, your tyres are going to wear at a faster rate than normal. Also, if you notice warning signs such as uneven tyre wear or a humming noise on a smooth road, rotation is advisable.

While many motorists attempt to rotate their own tyres, it is a job that is best left in the hands of a professional mechanic, who has instant access to all of the best tools for the job and who can carry out an expert service while also dispensing some essential advice. Let them do the dirty work; your leisure time is for enjoyment!

Tyre maintenance tips

In the event of scratched or damaged tyres/wheels, it is often a good idea to get them refurbished.

Don’t spin your tyres excessively if your vehicle is stuck in tricky conditions such as snow, ice or mud. This could cause tyres to overheat and become irreparably damaged. A gentle back and forth rocking motion is a far better way to get your vehicle out of such difficult terrain.

When carrying out your monthly pressure check, inspect all of your tyres fully for signs of damage such as cracks, bulges and buckling. If you notice any such warning signs, take your car to a garage without delay.

Never attempt to mount your own tyres.

Never mix tyre sizes and types. For best results, all of your tyres should be from the same manufacturer.

Always consult the vehicle owner’s manual when changing tyres to ensure that you are abiding by the car maker’s specifications.

Do not overload your vehicle or use tyres with an insufficient load-carrying capacity.

If using specialist tyres such as winter tyres, ensure that all of the wheels are fitted with the same type of tyre, i.e. don’t just put winter tyres on the two front wheels.

Your tyre selection should be consistent for all of the wheels, i.e. same type, speed rating, etc. It is OK to use a mixture of radials and non-radials, but not on the same axle.