Monday, April 9, 2012
Essential Tyre Safety Tips
Tyre maintenance is a matter of critical importance. As the only point of contact between the road and your vehicle, tyres largely determine how safe and stable your car is out on the road. Furthermore, the pressure placed on tyres over long periods can lead to a significant deterioration in quality, putting you or your family at risk.
Fortunately, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure that your tyres are road-safe and reliable. Following these tips will grant you peace-of-mind, improved on-road performance and a dramatic increase in vehicle safety.
It may sound obvious, but if your tyres are not properly inflated then they will just not work as intended, leading to sub-optimal performance and safety. Under-inflated tyres also deteriorate much more quickly and lead to greater fuel consumption, which means a significant extra and unnecessary financial burden.
It's important that you check your tyres' pressure at least once a month and that you check the pressure when the tyres are cold in order to get an accurate reading. The correct pressure for your particular tyres will be outlined in the manufacturer's handbook or outlined on the tyres themselves, so make sure you follow the right guidelines and always have tyre pressure in the back of your mind when starting your journey.
A more serious safety risk arises when your tyres' tread depth is at an unsafe level. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm, although it's generally advised that anything less than 2mm is unnecessarily risky. Tread depth plays a pivotal role in braking distance, especially in adverse weather conditions, so if your tread depth is insufficient you're at substantial risk of being involved in an accident.
Checking tread depth is simple. Take a 20p coin and insert it into your tyre tread. If you can see the outer band of the coin protruding from the tyre, then the depth is dangerously low, and you should consider replacing your tyres as soon as possible. Unlike tyre pressure, tread depth cannot be remedied through a trip to the air pump.
Perhaps the most obvious indicator of wear is the external quality of the tyres. If there are nails or other objects protruding from the tyre wall, then it's essential to remove them and check for significant damage. Also, look closely for evidence of cuts, cracks or bulges, especially on the sidewalls. Damage to the sidewalls could put you at risk of a dangerous blowout on the road, and it goes without saying that you should get the tyres replaced if you suspect such damage.
Even with all these safety tips in mind, it's always a great idea to have a spare tyre on hand to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. Even with well-maintained tyres, there are always going to be risks that will be out of your control. At the same time, a clear focus on tyre safety will do you and your vehicle immeasurable good, so keep these tips in mind every time you turn on the engine.
Tim Machin works for Tyre Medics, a UK company specializes in the supply and mobile fitting of car tyres, batteries and brakes. With over 2500 types of tyres for sale online, from all of the leading manufacturers, mobile tyre fittings can be booked in advance, or arranged through Tyre Medic's 24 hour emergency service.