Get a grip during Tyre Safety Month
It’s been pouring with rain for ages now, confirming October as one of the wettest months in the year. That’s why it’s Tyre Safety Month of course, to remind us that our car tyres need to be checked to be at their best to keep us safe in the wet and ahead of winter.
Tyre stopping distances
To understand why this matters, let’s look at the stopping distance facts when you need to brake suddenly, in wet conditions, driving at 50mph. When your tyres are just on the safety limit i.e with 1.6mm tread, it’ll take you 37.8 metres to stop. Whereas, if you are driving a car with new tyres i.e with 8mm tread, you’ll stop in 25.9 metres. That’s a massive stopping difference of some 12 metres and this could be the difference between avoiding an accident or not.
How to check your car tyres
Whether you have a spare wheel on-board or not, checking your tyres should involve three separate practices.
1) Check the general condition of your tyres
If you get into the habit of walking round your car before every journey, you’ll soon spot any signs of a slow puncture or tyre wall damage done by kerbing a tyre or wheel. It’s also a lot cheaper to get these repaired sooner rather than replaced with new ones when you leave the damage for too long.
This is a good discipline to adopt. The only problem is that I can’t stop checking other car tyres too - as a pedestrian or when parked in a supermarket car park for example!
2) Check your car’s tyre tread
I suggest you check your car tyre tread monthly and schedule this in your diary or calendar so it doesn’t get missed. Park your car with the wheels turned at an angle so you can see the tyre tread more easily. You need to check that the total part of the tyre that meets the road has a legal tread level of 1.6mm but hopefully more.
To do this take a 20p coin and insert this into three tyre tread gaps across the road facing surface. If you can see the rim part of the coin (looking at it sideways) when it’s in the groove then your tyres are fine. If you can’t, chances are your tyre needs checking or attention. If it’s illegal ie less than 1.6mm you could be fined £2500 per tyre, have 3 points added to your licence and risking an accident.
Just for the record, I change my tyres at 3mm tread and don’t wait until 1.6mm. I do this because I have test driven tyres in the wet on 1.6 mm, 3 mm and 8 mm tread levels. Quite honestly the 1.6 mm tyre tread isn’t good enough for me.
I see changing my tyres in the same light as I do filling up my car with fuel. I prefer to do both before I need to. It’s reassuring to know I won’t run out of fuel – or my tyres won’t get to be illegal or dangerous if I take any unnecessary risks here.
3) Check your tyre pressure
If your car has a TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) it will tell you of any significant drop in pressure via a dashboard light. If your car has run flat tyres you have a range of 50 miles to drive carefully (at 50mph) to a tyre centre. If your car has no spare wheel know what to do with any onboard tyre repair kit provided.
Protyre offer Free TPMS checks, click the button below for more informatin and book your vehicle in at your local Protyre garage:
Free TPMS Check
Whatever your situation, I recommend that all motorists check their tyre pressures monthly. You’ll find the correct pressure levels in the car’s handbook or the driver’s door reveal/inside sill. Remember that these pressures can vary depending on the weight (usually based on the number of passengers) carried.
Properly inflated tyres can improve your mileage by up to 3% per tank but it’s the tyre’s road safety, handling and braking properties that matter too. Too much pressure in a tyre is as bad as too little and both are a sure way to wear your tyre out sooner than it might otherwise.
The quickest way to check them yourself is to use a hand-held pressure gauge, remove the valve dust cap from the tyre valve and place the gauge into the tyre valve stem. Press the gauge down evenly on the valve stem to ensure you get an accurate reading. Then top them up with a pump.
The easiest way to DIY topping up your tyres is to keep a tyre pressure gauge and pump in the car so, when necessary, you can simply plug one end into the lighter adapter (while engine running) and the other into the tyre itself to top up tyre pressures as needed.
Need new tyres? Buy online at Protyre and save £££s!
Claim a free gift during Tyre Safety Month
One of the benefits of being a Protyre customer is that women drivers can claim a free gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club with Protyre’s compliments – the benefits are explained via this link:
Just enter 'Protyre' in the Referring Organisation box.
In a nutshell, your critical tyre safety checks are as simple as 1, 2 and 3 above and should be carried out monthly at least, not just during Tyre Safety Month. But for those who haven’t a safe area at home to check their car tyres or would like the professionals to show them how or do this for them, just ask at your local Protyre garage.
That’s priceless tyre peace of mind, for free, and if you need new tyres at any stage, you get great prices too.
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