With the autumn months having landed and winter creeping closer, it is important to ensure your tyres are in top condition for the approaching weather. As beautiful as this season may be it can be extremely problematic for road users as cold and damp roads significantly affect your driving performance. It is important that you check your tyres on a regular basis and before long journeys to ensure they are legal and safe.
When carrying out tyre checks there are a few key things to look out for to make sure your tyres are roadworthy, not damaged or displaying any signs of wear and tear or abnormalities. By carrying out these simple checks it can help you extend the life of your tyres, reduce your fuel bills and emissions, as well as ensuring that your vehicle can perform properly and safety.
According to charity, Tyre Safety, there has been 15,000 tyre related convictions in the past three years. Driving a vehicle with an illegal or defective tyre could lead to you being fined up to £2,500 and three penalty points on your licence.
1. Tyre Pressure
Having the correct tyre pressure levels are vital for making sure your tyres are at a sufficient level for good fuel economy, law, braking distances and maximum safety. Under inflation can have a harmful effect on vehicle handling, cause deterioration and rapidly wear the tread of your tyres. Whilst over-inflated tyres can wear quickly and lead to earlier tyre replacement or damage alloy wheels. The tyre should be inflated according to the manufacturer's recommendations and vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. You can find the recommended tyre inflation pressures in your vehicle handbook. The pressure of your tyres should be checked every two weeks when the tyre is cold and has not been recently run. You can check the tyre pressure and inflate at any petrol station by using a pressure gauge.
2. Tyre Tread Depth
The tread of a tyre refers to the rubber on the circumference which has contact with the road. Through use the tread is worn off which consequently leads to a reduction in the effectiveness in providing traction. The depth of your tyres is important to ensuring that they are roadworthy and legal, the minimum legal UK tread depth is 1.6mm and as this decreases your stopping distance in wet weather conditions will increase. As the temperature falls below seven degrees the rubber in your tyres harden and reduces your grip as a result of there being less rubber. It is recommended that tyres should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 3mm as the performance of the tyres will significantly reduce when levels are below this.
You can check whether your tyre is legal by carrying out the 20p test. Simply place a 20p coin into the tread, at three different locations around each tyre. If the outer band of the coin is visible this indicates that the tyre requires changing and may be unsafe or illegal.
3. Overall Tyre Condition
It is important to check the overall condition of your vehicles tyres for any signs of damage, and a simple visual examination is all that is required. Keep a look out for any cracks, bulges, stones or cuts as these can lead to blowouts and slow punctures. Driving with worn tyres also reduces your tread depth, which in turn affects your vehicles ability to perform, brake and turn effectively.
4. Feel the Drive
You can give your tyres a daily once over by simply paying attention to the feel of your tyres on your journey. If your tyres are worn or damaged you may notice disturbances whilst driving such as vibrations or a rough ride. If so, inspect your tyres for any signs of damage, or take your vehicle to one our retailers for a tyre inspection.
Don't forget to also check the pressure, tread depth and condition of your spare tyre - it could be your saviour one day!
Why not pop in to one of our retailers for a free vehicle health check to ensure your tyres are ready for the road.
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