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Tips for Tyre Safety Month 2016

“Don’t Chance it, Check it”

As the weather gets colder, wetter and windier, the importance of having safe tyres on your car grows. That’s why TyreSafe’s annual Tyre Safety Month takes place every October, just as the worst of the British weather begins to set in.

According to TyreSafe, one in four drivers in the UK are driving with illegal tyres. Driving with illegal tyres could mean a £2500 fine and a three-point penalty, but it also means that you’re far more likely to be involved in an incident. Your insurance may be invalid if you drive with illegal tyres too.  

Take a look below at our top tips for making sure that your tyres are up to scratch.

Tyre Tread

Your tyre tread should be at least 1.6mm. If it wears below this, then your car’s stopping distance will increase in both wet and dry weather.

Use a 20 pence piece to measure the tread, by inserting it into the grooves and see whether the outer rim of the coin is covered. This needs to be repeated across the width of the tyre, at several points around the circumference of the tyre. If you can see the rim of the coin, your tyre may be illegal.  

The industry recommendation is that you should have a tread of at least 3mm, so if the treads on yours are getting low, consider replacing them now before the worse weather arrives. 

Tyre Pressure

The wrong pressure in your tyres can cause a number of different problems. It can affect handling and grip, and can cause rapid deflation, which can be extremely dangerous on high-speed motorway journeys.

Under-inflated tyres cause your car to use more fuel, because they need more force to be turned. Keeping your tyres at optimum pressure keeps your running costs lower. 

Check your tyre pressures at least once a month, before a long journey and when carrying heavy loads. Tyres should be cold when you check them, so you should leave them for at least an hour after driving so they can cool down.

You can find the approved tyre pressure setting for your tyres in your vehicle handbook.

General Condition

Check the tyres for their overall condition. Remove stones and objects from the tread, and if you notice any bumps, lumps or cuts, then you should get them checked over by a professional. Check the wheel trims over too, as damage to them could cause damage to your tyres.

Wheel Alignment

If your tyre is worn evenly across the surface, then it could be a sign that your tyre is over/under inflated. If it is worn unevenly, particularly on one edge, then it could be the result of misalignment. If you think this is the case, then you should take your car in for a service.

Spare Tyre

Your spare tyre should have its tyre pressure and tread checked on a regular basis. Even though you may not use it, it may be needed one day and it will need to be legal and safe to use.  

You don’t have to carry a spare and It doesn’t have to meet the legal requirements while it’s stowed away, though this could affect your breakdown cover.

Tyre Age

Industry advice is to replace tyres every 5 years. You can check for the date on the tyre rim; it’ll appear as a four-digit number. The first two letters are the week of the year and the second two are the year that the tyre was produced. For instance, you might have 3109, which denotes that the tyre was made in the 31st week of 2009.

You should check every tyre before it’s fitted to your car. 

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