Drivers are drastically cutting short the life of their car tyres, endangering the lives of themselves and other motorists and adding unnecessary expense to their annual motoring costs by failing to keep their car tyres correctly inflated. The warning comes from TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, as part of Tyre Safety Month, which is being held throughout October.
“Motorists who fail to check their tyre pressures at least once a month can expect to see quite a drastic reduction in the performance and longevity of their tyres,” explains Rob Beddis, chairman, TyreSafe. “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, which is not uncommon, motorists can expect to achieve just 35 percent of the potential mileage from the tyre.”
When cars are run on under-inflated tyres there is insufficient air within the tyre to support the weight of the vehicle and its occupants. As a result, the sidewalls of the tyre have excessive forces placed upon them and suffer extreme flexing. This leads to an extreme build up of heat and poses a great safety risk as there is an increased likelihood of the tyre delaminating, more commonly referred to as a sudden rapid deflation. This type of tyre failure incident often occurs at high speeds on motorways when substantial heat has been generated within the tyre, and can cause catastrophic results for drivers. Many vehicle manufacturers are now fitting vehicles with run-flat tyres to avoid the problems and dangers of sudden rapid deflation.
As well as increasing the likelihood of premature tyre failure, under-inflated tyres will wear out quicker than those that are correctly inflated. At smaller 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 highly stressed 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 then they would otherwise need to.
Research conducted by TyreSafe indicated that premature tyre failure or excessive wear could be affecting more than half of motorists, as this was the number who admitted to not checking their tyre pressures within the last month, the maximum period recommended by TyreSafe between checks.
“As well as affecting the finances of motorists who are not achieving the full potential mileage from their tyres, under-inflation poses an important safety hazard,” continues Beddis. “Tyre failure at high speeds not only affects the driver and passenger of the car with the faulty tyre, but also other motorists potentially travelling at high speeds who are forced to take emergency action to avoid any debris left on the carriageway
Checking tyre pressures is a simple maintenance activity that is free and only takes a few minutes to complete. If motorists are unsure how to check their pressures or do not know where to find the manufacturer’s recommended pressure they should visit one of the many tyre fitting centres across the UK that will be offering free tyre checks throughout Tyre Safety Month.”
For further information about the importance of correct tyre pressure, run-flat tyres or Tyre Safety Month 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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