When, how and where to change your tires? In theory, all four tires should be changed at the same time to maintain a balanced behavior of the vehicle.
However, for cost reasons, uneven wear between the different axles, the tires are generally changed two at a time. In this case, it is advisable to put new tires on the rear of all vehicles (wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 × 4).
When to change tires?
Tires are an important part of vehicle safety. Therefore, it is necessary to change it as soon as signs of wear are evident or damaged. The Highway Code (article R.134) requires that the tires have relief sculptures, have no rips on the sidewalls and have no visible part of the canvas. Furthermore, the maximum allowable wear is 1.6 mm.
To check the depth of the tread, the tire wear indicators are located at the bottom of the engraving and are distributed throughout the tire. They are placed by brands “TWI” engraved on the sidewall of the tire. When the tread depth reaches 1.6mm, the wear indicator begins to align with the tread surface.
To carry out this check, there are depth stops that can be obtained at any specialized store. You can also insert a € 1 coin into the slot of the tire design: if the stars drawn on the edge of the coin are visible, the tires need to be replaced! Driving with tires in poor condition can lead to immobilization of the vehicle, in addition to a € 200 fine.
Good to Know: A tire with 50% wear means 20% less grip on the road.
How to choose your tires?
Objective and exhaustive tests are the best tool to choose the right tire. Mandatory in-store labeling also gives an idea of tire performance based on three criteria:
– rolling resistance;
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– grip on wet roads;
– rolling noise.
This European Union label is a first indication, although it cannot in any way replace a greater analysis of the different options and brands.
Where to buy tires?
To change your tires, you have many options to choose from, you can go to dealerships, mechanical workshops or specialized centers. You can also buy your tires on the Internet. In the latter case, it is necessary to ensure that the seller’s site offers a solution for mounting (for example, the requested rubbers are delivered to a partner workshop who will then take care of installing them).
No matter which track you follow, you are free to benefit from the competition. For the same reference, the displayed price is rarely the same from one point of sale to another, and the difference can be large. From one brand to another, many promotions are also regularly offered (for example, two tires for the price of one). Sometimes the installation and balancing package is even offered.
How should the tires be mounted?
First of all, it is advisable to choose tires that meet the dimension criteria (width, height, etc.) of the vehicle. Editing cannot be improvised: you should always contact a specialist. Identical tires must be mounted on the same axle. And if you only change two of the four tires, the new tires (which have better grip) should preferably be installed at the rear of the vehicle, which will prevent it from skidding, especially during sharp decelerations in a curve.
Changing tires necessarily involves balancing the wheels to avoid vibrations once the vehicle reaches a certain speed. In addition, lack of balance can lead to premature wear of the shock absorbers and ball joints on the vehicle’s front axle. As this operation is usually included in the “assembly packages”, it is normally carried out without the customer even having to complain.
What to do with your used tires
A 2002 decree obliges the distributor to “recover used tires free of charge within the limit of the tonnage and types of tires that he himself sold the previous year”. If, in its March 2007 survey, Que Choisir found that a significant number of retailers were unaware of the law or did not return old gum for payment, this practice is now well enforced.
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Second hand tires
We strongly discourage the use of second-hand tires. In fact, it is impossible to know if these tires have been subject to incidents that could have affected their performance in terms of safety.