Motorists urged to ACT on tyres before summer break


TyreSafe advises British motorists to take care of their tyres as the country prepares for the busy summer break.

Before setting off on a long journey, TyreSafe is advising motorists to check tyre pressure and tread depth, as well as the general condition of all tyres, including the spare tyre. TyreSafe has compiled an easy-to-follow three-step process for checking tyre safety, ACT.

With families about to take to the roads for their summer break, making sure that tyres are in good condition and inflated to the correct level is fundamental to driver and passenger safety, and can have a significant effect on vehicle handling.

The three fundamental principles of ACT are:

Air pressure
Check the manufacturer’s manual to confirm the correct tyre pressure for the vehicle. Families travelling with a full car and heavy luggage are urged to check the recommended tyre pressure for the vehicle when fully laden.

Condition of tyres and wheels
Clean the dirt from the valves and make sure that valve caps are fitted to each wheel
Remove stones and other foreign objects from treads
Steering alignment should be corrected if front tyres show signs of excessive or uneven wear
If motorists spot uneven tyre wear or signs of vibration when driving, they are advised to have their wheels and tyres balanced.

Tread depth
Current tread depth legislation requires that car tyres must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width and over the whole circumference of the tyre. TyreSafe recommends that motorists consider changing their tyres before the legal limit.

Under-inflated tyres can overheat, while over-inflated tyres can lead to poor vehicle handling. With soaring fuel prices and the cost of car maintenance in the spotlight, it is also important to remember that maintaining the correct tyre pressure helps to maintain optimum fuel efficiency. Research conducted by a leading tyre manufacturer and TyreSafe member reveals that a tyre under-inflated by 10psi increases fuel consumption by approximately 2.5 percent, which is equivalent to three pence per litre. Keeping tyres correctly inflated over a period of time also helps ensure the longevity of the tyres. Under or over-inflated tyres tend to wear more quickly than those with correct pressure and need to be replaced more regularly.

Given the unpredictable weather that often plagues the British summer holidays, it is vital that motorists are aware of the potential dangers of low tread depth. When driving in wet weather, the tread pattern of the tyre helps to evacuate water. As the tread begins to wears down, the tyre gradually loses the ability to evacuate all water from the road surface, and the lower the tread depth the greater the risk aquaplaning. Tread depth also has a significant effect on braking, with performance tests indicating that a vehicle braking in the wet with low tread will require a much longer braking distance.

Motorists preferring to have their tyres checked professionally can take their vehicle to any reputable tyre retailer, who will be able to provide tyre safety advice and information.

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Katharine Earley
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