Hauliers, fleet operators and private motorists are being reminded that not only can they stay safe on the road but they can also reduce the impact of the recent fuel duty rise by keeping their tyres correctly inflated.
According to research carried out 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 pressures, motorists can travel further on each tank of fuel, reduce their CO2 emissions and stay safer.
“Making sure that tyres are correctly inflated costs nothing yet can save motorists significant sums of money,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe.
“By taking just a few minutes once a month to check tyre pressure levels and adjust them to the recommended levels, significant improvements in road safety can be made but also drivers will see a reduction in their fuel consumption, helping to offset the recent rise in fuel duty.”
When tyres are under-inflated, the contact patch with the road surface gets larger, causing increased drag, which in turn places more load on the engine. Keeping tyres correctly inflated minimises this negative effect and ensures that the car continues to operate safely.
Research conducted by TyreSafe revealed that one in 20 motorists were unaware that running a car on under-inflated tyres leads to an increase in 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. Fewer 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 expense to motorists as the tyres wear out quicker. At lower levels of under-inflation, the tyre’s contact patch with the road surface is reduced to two small areas towards the outer edges of the tread. With the full vehicle load placed on these areas, the tread wears at a much higher rate, drastically reducing the performance of the tyre and forcing drivers to replace them much sooner than they would otherwise have needed 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.
TyreSafe’s top tips for checking tyre pressures correctly:
– Check your tyre pressures at least once a month.
– Tyre pressures should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended level which can be found in the vehicle handbook and on a plate which is often located inside the fuel filler cap or on the driver’s door sill.
– Check the pressure when tyres are cold (i.e. when you have travelled less than two miles).
– If you are carrying a full load of passengers or luggage or will be towing a trailer or caravan, pressures should be increased in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
– Ensure a reliable and accurate gauge is used.
– Check the pressure in all four tyres not forgetting the spare as well.
– When checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a visual inspection. Remove any stone or other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts.
If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified specialist.
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%. TyreSafe is a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter which was launched in 2004 with the aim of halving the number of deaths on European roads by 2010.
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