New tyres take a little bit of gentle running in. Discover why – and how to drive on new tyres to optimise performance and safety.
Just driven a new car off the forecourt? Or perhaps you’ve got new tyres, fresh off the manufacturing line, to replace your well-worn set?
Before you hit the accelerator to see what those new tyres can do, there’s something you should know: just like a new pair of shoes, new tyres need to go through a running-in period before they can drive at their best. Discover why and follow our tips to help safely ready your new tyres for long-term service.
What’s different about new tyres?
There are a number of factors that will make your new tyres perform a little differently to your older ones.
Lubricants. During manufacturing, a release lubricant is used to help remove tyres from their moulds. This substance remains on the tread until it wears off on the road. Before it has completely worn off, it could reduce your traction.
Antioxidants. These are applied to help keep the tyre rubber from breaking down when exposed to environmental factors such as fluctuating temperatures and oxygen. They may make tyres feel slick at first.
Tread depth. New tyres will naturally feature maximum tread depth. This fresh tread is stiff, smooth, deep and could feel like unyielding, thick cushioning between you and the road at first. This may lead to something called squirm.
What is “squirm”?
Tread squirm, or tyre squirm, is a little bit of excess movement you might feel when steering a vehicle that has recently been fitted with new tyres. This movement comes from the flexibility in the rubber between the tread surface and the carcass.
- Slick racing tyres – with no tread – have little to no squirm.
- Snow tyres – with deep tread – have a large amount of squirm.
Isn’t new, deep tread a good thing?
You’d think so. But actually, it works better once it has spent some time on the tarmac getting slightly roughed up. Once this has happened, tyres are able to exert their optimal gripping and handling capabilities.