Tyre pressures: A difference of only 2 PSI in pressure can change the way a car reacts to both normal and emergency manoeuvres. Most recent cars have a sticker inside the driver door or sill with the correct tyre pressures displayed. Otherwise check your vehicle owner manual, or ask your local car or tyre dealer for the information needed. A foot pump with a pressure gauge will suffice, though a proper tyre pressure gauge is preferable. Nearly all petrol stations have tyre pressure gauges and pumps.
Tread depth and condition: Any bald patch on any tyre is illegal, but more importantly very dangerous. A bald tyre will perform badly in dry conditions, and dangerously in wet or damp conditions. There should be clear tread over the entire tyre, at a depth of more than the wear markers (lumps moulded in the grooves of the tyre).
Tyre side wall: The wall of the tyre should look the same all the way around, except (obviously) for the writing. Any bulges or dips in the tyre wall should be investigated immediately. Any split in the tyre wall should be investigated also. Try not to leave a car parked with the tyre touching the kerb, as this can damage the side wall. Check that the tyre valve is not damaged too!
Uneven tread wear is an indication that something is amiss with the wheel alignment on your car. Most tyre suppliers will check your alignment for free, and adjust it for less than £20. If you doubt the honesty of their opinion on this or tyre condition, then visit more than one dealer; if the answer is the same at both outlets you can reassure yourself the problem is genuine.
New tyres can be remarkably cheap, certainly cheaper than an accident! Ring around your local suppliers, you don't need to be an expert to get a good deal. If you're in any doubt over the importance of tyres, remember that rally and racing drivers change tyres all the while, to keep the newest and most suitable tyres on the car. Your road car is no different!!
Disclaimer: APCsport takes no responsibility for the actions of people who have read this website. The advice is common sense, not rules of the road and you should always make decisions based on your own situation and safety!!