When we’re selecting a car, we play close attention to the performance, specification, design and colour, but barely notice the tyres. Several years of car ownership and the tyres are easy to overlook, yet they are the vehicle’s only point of contact with the road.
Worn tyres reduce your grip on the road surface as you drive. It means that it takes longer to brake or accelerate and the effectiveness of steering is reduced. As we approach the winter months, the risk of aquaplaning on wet surfaces or skidding on icy surfaces is also increased.
October was Tyre Safe month in the UK; a gentle reminder of the importance of those circles of rubber. The campaign launched with positive news from the Department of Transport; tyre related casualties on UK roads had reduced by 28% in the past year. That is an impressive statistic, yet it is estimated that there are still likely to be around 10million illegal tyres on vehicles driving on UK roads this year. Is one on your car?
As tyres are so essential to the driving experience, as well as road safety, the tread is checked in the annual MOT. There needs to be a minimum of 1.6mm of tread on each tyre to be within legal limits, but it is worth investing in new tyres before you reach this point.
A worn tyre increases your risk of a road accident. Not only that, but a £2,500 fine can be issued, along with 3 points on your license for every illegal tyre on your vehicle. That’s a lot more costly than fitting replacement tyres.
Tyre Pressure & Conditions
In addition to tread, the right tyre pressure is essential if you want your car to perform well. The correct tyre pressure for your vehicle can be found in the handbook, or you can look it up online if you are unsure. Regularly checking the pressure and adjusting accordingly will reduce wear, increase fuel efficiency and minimise the risk of issues occurring.
Another means of protecting your vehicle and its passengers is by driving appropriately for the conditions. If it is wet or icy, your tyre performance will be reduced, as it is more difficult for them to grip the road.
For a start, you might chose a longer route home in order to drive on gritted roads or to avoid those which regularly flood after a downpour. You should reduce your speed and increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front. Finally wait for a bigger space before pulling out of a junction, as it can take longer to accelerate.
MOT Tyre Checks
During your car’s annual MOT inspection, the tyres will be checked to ensure they are of the same nominal size and aspect ratio. The tyre structure and tread pattern also needs to be the same on all tyres and this will be checked, along with the tread thickness and the condition of the tyres. If the tyres aren’t compliant with the MOT regulations, then your vehicle will fail the test and new tyres will need fitting before a retest.
By paying a little more attention to your tyres and checking them regularly, you can help maintain their condition and increase the chance of your car passing its MOT. If you’ve just realised that it’s time to book your MOT, Amersham and surrounding areas are served by Holmer Green Service Centre.