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Car driving in the city on Continental tyres.

Inspect your tyres to ensure that they are safe and performing at their best.

When was the last time you gave your tyres an inspection? It’s important to give your tyres the once over to ensure that they are safe and performing at their best.

Here at Continental, we consider safety one of our top priorities. Tyre safety should be high on your list too. You should check the condition of your car’s tyres regularly. Learning to identify the warning signs of old, worn and damaged tyres will help to keep you safe on the roads. 

Some forms of tyre wear can be obvious, while others are not. We have compiled a list of 5 common concerns and the simple tyre safety checks that you can easily do at home.

Car driving through water.

1. How worn are your tyres?

The legal tread limit in Australia is 1.5mm. If your tyres have worn to 1.6mm of remaining tread depth, now is the time to look for new tyres.

Did you know that low tread is a contributing factor to reducing your car’s traction on the road surface? Your ability to effectively brake, corner and generally drive safely are all dependent on suitable tread depth.

There are many things that you can plan for on your holiday but weather conditions are not one of them. Suitable tread depth is also needed for effective water dispersion, which aims to reduce your chances of aquaplaning. 

The good news is that checking your tyre tread is a relatively simple task. You can assess your tread wear in several ways:

  • Tread Wear Indicator: all tyres have a tread wear indicator in their tread. This becomes increasingly visible as the tread wears down. Once you can see that the tread is worn level with the tread wear indicator, it is time to buy new tyres.
  • Tyre tread depth gauge: you can purchase a tyre tread depth gauge from your local car part store. It’s important that you measure the tread at least three times. Measure the outer and inner sides of the tyre, as well as in the middle, taking care not to place the gauge on the wear bar itself.
  • Use a 20c coin: it’s true, you can use this easy ‘hack’ to measure your tyre tread depth! Place a 20c coin into the tread of your tyre, if the tread doesn’t reach the bill of the platypus this indicates that there’s less than 3mm of tread remaining.

2. Can you see cracks, gouges or bulging on your tyres?

Completing regular visual inspections of your car’s tyres can help to identify any signs of cracks, gouges or bulging. These problems can place your tyres at risk of a slow leak, or lead to a blowout, which you want to avoid at all costs.

If you notice a crack in the sidewall of a tyre, it is recommended that you have the tyre assessed by a professional. A crack in your tyre’s sidewall indicates that the tyre is developing a leak. Your chances of a tyre blow out are greatly increased by cracks and gouges. 

A bulge is an indication that the outer surface of the tyre is becoming weak. It is recommended that you have a tyre showing signs of bulging assessed by a professional. Weak spots can result in a sudden blowout.

3. Do you experience excessive shaking/vibrating in the steering wheel?

If you notice excessive shaking or vibrating when driving, particularly at higher speeds, it may be an indicator that it is time to buy new tyres.

There can be many causes of a shaking or vibrating car. Shaking experienced in the steering wheel when driving can be the result of a number of issues. These include misaligned or unbalanced tyres. It can also be an indication that there is a problem with the interior of the tyre. 

As a result, it is best advised to consult with a professional who can accurately pinpoint the issue for you.

4. Do your tyres show signs of uneven wear?

Uneven tyre wear can be caused by a number of factors. These can include tyres that are under or overinflated, or may possibly be the result of a bad alignment.

Maintaining correct tyre inflation pressures is essential to even tyre wear. A monthly tyre pressure check can ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated at all times.

It is also recommended that you have your tyres rotated at regular, recommended intervals to assist in achieving even tyre wear.

Build date on a Continental tyre.

5. Do you know how old your tyres are?

Your tyres need to pass more than the tread depth test to be considered safe. Tyre age is also a safety factor.

Rubber compounds in a tyre deteriorate over time, regardless of the condition of the tread. This means that there can be instances where your tyres look fine but in actual fact require replacement due to their age. This can often be the case in regards to spare tyres, trailers or caravans that are used less often.

All tyres come with markings on their sidewall, which indicate the age of the tyre by specifying the week and year of manufacture. This is displayed as a four digit number, known as the build date. The first two digits represent the week of production during the year (from 1 to 52) and the second two digits represent the year of manufacture. For example, 2219 would mean that the tyre was made in the 22nd week of the year 2019.


Once a tyre is five years old, it’s a good idea to closely monitor its condition and have it inspected by a professional. Regardless of tread wear and general appearance, any tyre that was manufactured more than 10 years ago should be replaced.

Always remember to include the spare tyre in your inspections - you never know when you may need it!

Why not make the time to give your tyres the once over this weekend? Learning how to identify signs of tyre wear can greatly assist in keeping you, and your passengers, safe on the roads.