Tyresafe.org have recently published some useful information in relation to taking care of and monitoring the condition of your vehicle tyres. This is of extra importance during the winter months where road and weather conditions are generally poorer.
Tyres are the only parts of the car which are in contact with the road. Safety in acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact. It is therefore of paramount importance that tyres should be maintained in good condition at all times and that when the time comes to change them the correct replacements are fitted.
The original tyres for a car are determined by joint consultation between the car and tyre manufacturers and take into account all aspects of operation. It is recommended that changes in tyre size or type should not be undertaken without seeking advice from the car or tyre manufacturers, as the effect on car handling, safety and clearances must be taken into account.
In some other European countries it is illegal to use replacements which differ in certain respects (e.g. size, load, and speed rating) from the tyre fitted originally by the vehicle manufacturer. Tyres are a high-tech composite product, the result of over 100 years of continuous development. The overwhelming majority of tyres on the road today are of radial construction.
INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE
Tyres should be examined frequently, removing stones or other embedded objects from the tread. If the tyre has lumps or bulges it must be examined by a tyre specialist since these could indicate internal damage. Remove oil or grease with a suitable diluted detergent.
WATCH YOUR TREAD
The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of the breadth of tread and round its entire circumference. Tyre treads are designed to give good grip on wet roads but in general wet grip decreases as the tyre tread depth approaches the legal minimum. Motorists should take this into consideration and reduce speed when driving in wet conditions. For the same reason motorists may wish to consider replacing tyres before the tread depth reaches the legal minimum.
CARAVANS AND CAR TRAILERS
Caravan and trailer tyres often require higher inflation pressures than are required for the same tyres on a car. It is essential to identify and maintain correct tyre pressures.
In the absence of any recommendation in the vehicle handbook regarding car tyre inflation when towing, increase the towing vehicle’s rear tyre pressures by 4 to 7 psi (0.3 to 0.4 bar) to improve the stability of the complete unit.