With petrol prices reaching record levels in 2008, TyreSafe, the UKs leading tyre safety organisation, is advising motorists that they can make a significant reduction to their motoring running costs by keeping their tyres correctly inflated. According to research conducted by a major tyre manufacturer and member of TyreSafe, driving on tyres which are just ten psi under the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure can increase fuel consumption by 2.5 percent. By keeping tyres at their correct pressure, motorists can travel further on each tank of petrol and help reduce CO2 emissions.
“Checking tyre pressure is a straightforward procedure, yet many drivers simply don’t make time for it,” comments Rob Beddis, TyreSafe chairman. “By taking just a few minutes every month to check the pressure of each tyre and adjust it to the recommended level, significant improvements to road safety will be made and motorists could also save money through reducing fuel consumption.”
When tyres are under-inflated, the contact patch with the road surface increases, causing increased drag, which in turn places more load on the engine. Additionally, the rolling resistance of the tyre increases as it requires more energy to return to its original shape after each contact with the road. Keeping tyres correctly inflated helps to minimise these two negative effects and ensures that the car continues to operate safely.
A recent survey conducted by TyreSafe revealed that five percent of motorists were unaware that running a car on under-inflated tyres leads to increased fuel consumption. The research also showed that even those people who were aware that fuel consumption would increase were still not checking their tyre pressures regularly enough. Less than half of respondents had checked their tyre pressures within the last month, the maximum period recommended by TyreSafe between checks.
As well as increasing fuel costs, running under-inflated tyres adds further financial burden to motorists as they wear out quicker than those that are correctly inflated. At lower levels of under-inflation, the tyre’s contact patch with the road surface is reduced to two smaller areas towards the outer edges of the tread. With the full vehicle load being placed on these areas, the tread tends to wear at a much higher rate, drastically reducing the performance of the tyre and forcing motorists to replace tyres much sooner than they would otherwise need to. By running tyres at just 80 percent of the recommended pressure, motorists can expect tyre life to be reduced to around 75 percent. If the pressure falls to 60 percent, motorists can expect to achieve just 35 percent of the potential mileage from the tyre.
For further information about the importance of correct tyre pressure, Tyre Safety Month, or advice on how to check tyre pressures, visit www.tyresafe.org.
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres. TyreSafe has campaigned consistently to underline the importance of tyre safety for more than 15 years and was rewarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2001.
TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18% to 12%.
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