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Tyre Care - black, round and... crucial to your safety

Driving Tips

The Facts

  • Tyres are the only link between your vehicle and the road – that’s an area roughly equal to the sole of a size 10 shoe on each corner
  • Tyre tread is for water dispersal – at 70mph, all four tyres could be pumping three gallons of water every second. Reduced tread = reduced water dispersal [1]
  • Tyres carry the entire weight of your car; a load of up to 50 times their own weight [1]
  • It’s estimated that over 50% of vehicles have, at least, one tyre below the 1.6mm minimum legal tread depth [1]
  • Wet braking efficiency is dramatically affected by tread depth. It will take 50% longer to brake from 62 to 37 mph with tyres at the legal minimum depth, compared to new tyres [1]
  • 39% of motorists are driving on under-inflated tyres which, apart from being dangerous, contribute an additional 600,000 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere. It’s also wasting some 244 million litres of fuel, at an estimated cost of £337 million a year [2]
  • 1,200 road casualties and 205 fatalities were caused on Britain’s roads in 2011 as a direct result of illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres 
  • For each illegal or defective tyre, the potential penalty up to £2,500 and three penalty points [3]

The Advice

  1. Always ensure the inflation pressure complies with the figures in the vehicle handbook. This ensures you have optimum grip, good fuel economy and the best chance of avoiding punctures
  2.  Inflation pressures can often be found on a label in the driver door shut panel area.
  3. Inflation pressures can be expressed in bar [metric] or p.s.i. [imperial]
  4. Always set your inflation pressures when the tyres are cold. After a motorway run, the tyres will have heated up, raising the inflation pressure by 0.2-0.4 bar
  5. Always replace the valve caps. This helps prevent the ingress of dirt that can affect the valve
    – Every time you fill up with fuel, carry out a visual inspection of the tyre sidewalls and as much of the tread as you can see
  6. Avoid debris in the road and potholes by looking well ahead and planning your road positioning. Serious damage is not always immediately apparent. If in doubt, get your tyres checked by a specialist
  7. Reduce ‘dry steering’ as much as possible. This is when you apply lock while stationary, usually while parking. Try to apply lock when you are moving to reduce tyre wear
  8. At every service, request that the steering tracking be checked, as inaccurate tracking can cause excessive wear and handling problems
  9. Vibration through the steering wheel could indicate a tyre balance problem. Don’t ignore this – get a specialist to check this out before serious steering problems occur
  10. When to replace your tyres? Although the legal limit is 1.6mm of tread across three quarters of the tread width for the entire circumference, we would strongly recommend replacing tyres when they reach 3mm
  11. Look for the Tyre Wear Indicator [TWI], a raised bar between the tyre tread. If it’s level with the rest of the tread, you know the tyre has reached the end of its useful life
  12. If you have a puncture, never attempt to replace it yourself, particularly on a motorway
    or dual carriageway. Call out roadside assistance

Sources [1] Michelin Tyres 2012 [2] DfT Annual Statistics 2012 [3] DVLA Regulations



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