Tread Carefully

When it comes to car maintenance, tyres are one of the easiest and most obvious parts of a vehicle to check and yet many of us run around on tyres that are under inflated, unevenly worn or damaged!

Legally, drivers must ensure that their tyres are in good, roadworthy condition, that they are correctly inflated according to the car manufacturer’s specification and have a minimum tyre depth of 1.6mm. You can easily check your tyre depth by purchasing a tread gauge which are available from most car part retailers. If you are in any doubt about the safety of your tyres or are unsure of what to look for, simply pop along to a local tyre-fitting garage, they will quickly be able to check them for you and give advice. Worn tyres that do not comply with legal requirements are bad news in wet or icy road conditions, as the grip is significantly reduced, so regular checks are vital. Also important is tyre pressure, every vehicle’s handbookspecifies the recommended pressure levels, which vary depending on the weight being carried. Sticking to these recommended levels will not only help prolong the life of the tyres, but can also aid performance and handling. Tyres that are worn or under-inflated can end up being costly. If stopped by the police, a fine could be imposed and a car with worn tyres will not pass an MOT, resulting in additional re-test costs. What’s more, fuel consumption is greater in worn or under-inflated tyres. This is mostly thanks to rolling resistance (the resistance between the tyre and road), when tyre pressure is reduced, resistance increases, requiring greater amounts of fuel. Tyres are responsible for a significant amount of a vehicle’s fuel consumption (around 20%) and to help consumers make the best choices, new tyres come with a label that gives information about its performance in the wet, noise and its fuel efficiency. Each aspect is graded A (best) – G (worst), it is estimated that an A rated tyre could save up to 80 liters of fuel each year when compared to an F rated one, which equates to around £100! If you find yourself in need of a new tyre thanks to a puncture, be sure you are aware of the rules regarding your spare tyre. Many car manufacturers now fit space saving spare tyres, which while safe to drive on, are not to be used for long periods and often should only be driven at reduced speeds. Check the tyre itself or your handbook for advice. For infomation on changing your tyres you can call 0845 458 8999 or visit our website.

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