Avoid Easter roadside misery with pre-travel tyre checks


28thOct08With motoring organisations predicting that this Easter break will be one of the busiest on the roads for several years, drivers are being reminded to check their tyre pressures before setting off to avoid any roadside misery and unnecessary additional expense.

According to TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, drivers failing to ensure that their tyres are properly inflated are much more likely to suffer a serious failure, will suffer from increased tyre wear and will experience higher fuel bills.

“With the additional Bank Holiday this Easter, many more motorists are likely to take to the road either heading away for a mini-break or day out,” comments Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “In many cases, this will mean that the car is loaded with additional passengers and luggage. This added weight makes it particularly important that drivers check their tyre pressure, condition and tread depth before setting out. It will only take a few minutes but could help to prevent a ruined weekend.”

To ensure tyres can cope with additional vehicle loads, car manufacturers often specify different pressure settings for laden and unladen vehicles. These recommended levels can be found in the vehicle manufacturers’ handbook, on a plate on the driver’s door sill, or inside the fuel filler cap.

When tyres are under-inflated or overloaded, extra heat builds up inside the tyre which greatly increases the likelihood of failure. This dangerous event is most likely to happen on motorways at high speeds, when tyres have run under-inflated for a prolonged period.

Fuel bills are also higher for drivers running on under-inflated tyres. One TyreSafe member estimates that when tyres are under-inflated by just 6psi, or around 20 percent, fuel bills rise by 3 percent.

Furthermore, under-inflated tyres cause additional unnecessary expense for drivers as they wear out much quicker and need replacing sooner. When run at 80 percent of the recommend pressure, it is estimated that tyre life falls to around 75 percent. At 60 percent pressure, tyre life falls to just 35 percent.

To make things easier for driver’s, TyreSafe has developed a free iPhone app which gives them the correct pressure settings for their car. Users simply need to input their registration details and the correct settings are displayed. For drivers without an iPhone, a similar version can be found by visiting the TyreSafe website.

How to check your tyre pressures correctly:

– Pressures should be checked at least once a month or before a long journey

– Pressures should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended level. This can be found inside the vehicle handbook, on a plate on the driver’s door sill or inside the fuel filler cap

– Check your pressures when the tyres are cold (i.e. when you have driven less than two miles)

– If you are carrying a full load of extra passengers or luggage, or towing a caravan or trailer, tyre pressures should be increased in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations which can be found in the vehicle handbook

– Ensure a reliable and accurate pressure gauge is used

– Check the pressure in all four tyres, not forgetting the spare tyre as well

– While checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a thorough visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts.

If in doubt, take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts

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