Tag Archive | "tyre wear"

Your Easter Tyre Check

As thousands of UK residents start the traditional Easter holiday getaway – one of the busiest times of the year on the roads – it seems like a good time to remind them about the need to check their tyres before setting off.

Those black circles are all that connect the car to the road and failure to make sure they are in tip-top condition could result in a number of tyre related problems which could leave the family stranded by the roadside or even involved in an otherwise completely avoidable accident.

No doubt after the soaking wet winter we’ve just had many families will be looking forward to some time away over the Easter break. But the weather doesn’t turn benign overnight and we can traditionally expect some of those April showers which could leave road surfaces greasy and treacherous.

20p Your Easter Tyre CheckThere will be more cars on the road and more heavily laden commercial vehicles so it really is important to give your tyres a thorough inspection before setting off. The checks are quick and easy to perform but essential as they could make the difference between an enjoyable Easter break or not.

Figures from the AA showed that in 2013, their patrols attended 350,000 tyre-related call-outs, their second most common breakdown cause after batteries. That’s a bit of an amazing figure which clearly demonstrates just how complacent we can get.

These are the things to remember: Pressures should be checked to ensure they are in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for the load being carried – remember, this can vary and the correct details will be found in the vehicle handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or on a plate on the driver’s door sill.

Correct pressure is important as it helps to reduce the amount of fuel being used, ensures even wear across the tread leading to longer tyre life, and reduces tyre overheating which can cause rapid failures.

It is also worth reminding everybody – and yes we do it every year but with good reason – to ensure their tread depth is above the legal minimum of 1.6mm which can be checked by simply using the knurled edge of a 20p coin. Drivers with insufficient tread depth not only risk fines of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre, but safety will be reduced on wet roads as the tyre will lose grip with the road surface more easily.

When checking pressures and tread depth, drivers are also being advised to give the rest of the tyre a thorough visual inspection for other signs of damage such as cuts, lumps or bulges in the tyre. If any of these are present then off you go to see the professionals.
You know that tyre safety makes sense so why risk it?

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Wheely Important

One of the inevitable consequences of driving a car is that, at some point, you will clout a kerb or you will drop a wheel into a council sponsored pothole. Kerbing is somewhat on the increase because of the trend for fitting bigger alloys for the simple reason that they look good. Bigger wheels mean more rim damage and bigger tyres cost more. There is no real performance increase as Toyota have ably demonstrated with their back-to-basics GT86, that sits on standard wheels with narrow tyres.

The point is that such impacts knock out the alignment of the wheels. Wheels that are out-of-true will wear their tyres more quickly, so having your alloys re-aligned after any impact will save money in the long run.

With wheel alignment there are many technical terms and a need for specialist equipment so don’t even think about doing it yourself. On rear wheel drive cars it was common to check only the front steering wheels but today – especially with independent rear suspension systems – it may be prudent to arrange to have all four wheels aligned.

This will check the angles and camber of the front wheels to ensure they ‘track’ in line. As on all front-wheel-drive cars the front tyres take all of the drive and steering punishment, so this is crucial for long and even rubber wear.

At the back, it would appear that the wheels are just there to hold the back of the car up and are, as a consequence, not so important. Wrong. They are equally prone to damage – as anyone who has ever reversed into a kerb can tell you. Knocks like this can affect what is called the ‘thrust’ angle alignment.

This effectively ensure that the rear wheels are exactly in true with the centre line of the car. Any deviation from this results in ‘crabbing’ – moving sideways in relation to the forward movement. This check also ensure that the rear wheels are squared off with the ones at the front.

Thrust, camber, caster, tracking – after a while it all gets a bit confusing which is why it’s a professional job; but it doesn’t hurt to talk it over with your expert because not only do these defects cause uneven and hasty tyre wear they also affect the stability of the handling. Certainly a worry in wet weather.

The costs of motoring just seem to mount up year on year but neglecting the safety aspects of running a car means you risk not only yourself but other road users as well. If you bash your wheels, get ‘em checked. You know it makes sense.

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