Over time, your tyres will naturally lose some pressure. It is estimated that on average this will be around one psi per month, and one psi for every drop in temperature that is more than ten degrees centigrade. Get yourself a tyre gauge so you can check the pressure on a regular basis. Find out what the correct pressure is, by checking in your owner's manual. If you are going on a long journey, test pressure before you start. Let your tyres cool down after you have used the vehicle before pressure testing. Friction will heat the rubber and distort the results. It is best to do this when the tyres are cold.
Not only are tyres that are under-inflated a safety hazard, but they can also cost you money by increasing fuel consumption. Always put some air in straight away, and please, don't make the mistake of forgetting the spare.
The depth of tread
It is a driving offence in the UK to have tyres that are under the correct tread depth. This is illegal for a very good reason. It is dangerous. Rotating tyres every 5000 to 8000 miles will ensure that they all wear at the same speed. It is always best to buy four at once. The twenty pence test is a good way to see if your tread is under the required legal dimensions. If you can see the outer edges of the coin after placing it in a groove, then it indicates that you need a change. Always consult a professional if you are not sure whether your tread is illegal. In terms of stopping distance, it could be the difference between life and death.
As well as looking at the tread, check for damage at the side. Inspect for bulges, cracks, and cuts. This type of problem is difficult to repair and means that you could need to change.
Any sort of vibration felt on the steering may be down to your tyres. Maybe one of the weights have been lost, and you need to rebalance. This is an inexpensive job at your local garage and makes your vehicle safer.
The right tyres for the conditions
Although most vehicles come with all-purpose tyres, if you live in a region that is susceptible to snow, think about getting a set of dedicated snow tyres.
We know that tyres can be expensive, but they are fundamental to the safety of you and your passengers. Even if you have all of the state-of-the-art gadgets fitted with anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, if your tyres are a hazard you are still unsafe.
Especially this coming winter, stay safe and look after your four best rubber friends. Any doubt, and go and see the tyre experts for peace of mind.