Tag Archive | "tyres"

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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Why Is It Absolutely Necessary To Have The Correct Tyre Pressure?

Many of us go on motoring for mile after mile without checking our tyre pressure. Some can go between services without even considering the amount of air that ought to be pumped into their tyres. Although some of us might kick the car’s tyres from time to time, maybe ahead of long motorway journey for instance, this is only the roughest of gauges and is hardly an accurate measurement of pressure. Even if you stop to check the tyre pressure using an electric pump at the filling station once in a while, it is worth asking yourself if you do this often enough. Perhaps, if your tyres need pressure adding every time that you check, then it might be worth doing this with a greater regularity. After all, driving with tyres that are under-inflated can cause problems which are easily avoided.

Extend the life of the tyres

Most mechanics would agree that maintaining the correct air pressure in your car’s tyres is important. With the right amount of air pressure set in your tyres, they will go on for a longer period. Once your tyres have become sufficiently worn down, they are no longer street legal and you could face a fine. Under-inflated tyres wear more rapidly on all sorts of road surface. If you fit new tyres because yours have worn down, buy them from a good independent dealer like Point-S Tyres and remember to keep them pumped up in future.

Brake Efficiently

Not only do correctly inflated tyres enhance the handling of a car, they can also prevent accidents. This is because tyres which have a low pressure cause you to brake inefficiently. Simply put, swerving out of trouble and braking quickly are both harder with under-inflated tyres. This is the case even if it just one of your wheels that is affected.

Avoid Poor Mileage

Failure to maintain the correct tyre pressure with your vehicle can also result in poor mileage. Low tyre pressure leads to more energy being used by the car to get it moving in the right direction. You end up burning more and more fuel to accelerate. Even when you have reached a good cruising speed, on the motorway or a dual carriageway, under-inflated tyres cause you to use more energy maintaining that speed. Low tyre pressure means that you have to fill up with fuel more often and, like the cost of tyres that are wearing down quickly, all of this ends up costing money.

Find out the correct air pressure for your car

The correct air pressure for your car can be found in the owner’s manual or on a tyre panel. This is usually located on the edge of the driver’s door or in the glove box. Some models of car have it handily displayed on the inside of the fuel filling cover. Remember that – with some models – you have to inflate the car’s rear and front wheels to differing levels for them to be correct. For van owners, it is essential to adjust the tyre pressure depending on the weight of the load that you carry in the back, because heavy loads can cause problems for tyres which are over-inflated.

About the Author
My name is Emily Cole. I am an avid blogger. I love to write about the automotive industry, travelling and tips and tricks on how to take care of your vehicle. I believe that keeping your ride well maintained can save you from unforeseen events and can help in saving money!!

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Buying Tyres Online

One thing, as a motorist, you will have noticed by now is the cost of those four circles of rubber on your car that will insist on wearing out from time to time. Here’s a couple of examples: Bridgestone Potenza 205/50R17 89W Run-flat tyre for a BMW – best price found in an admittedly quick search was £375! That’s for one tyre! Or, at the other end of the scale, for the tiny wheels of a Citroen C1 expect to pay around £50 for a brand you’ve actually heard of. That’s two hundred pounds to shoe a city car.

In olden times motorists would have gone to their local tyre fitter – either an independent or a chain – and get the job done. Now the prices are such that some significant searching is required because deals on any vehicle vary enormously, and when you combine that with the sheer number of options and brands available, its easy to see why so many people are choosing to at least start their tyre search on the Internet.

In an ideal world drivers would have an ample budget for this onerous but most essential expense and be able to afford the big name brands with a guarantee of service and quality, but in the real world it doesn’t work like that and many people have to choose at a price and the best thing about the online companies is that they often provide in-depth reports on the many products available.

Online tyre companies can deliver your black hoops to you or arrange to have them fitted at one of their concessions local to you. This means that with one online transaction and without getting of your chair you can check prices, order products and arrange fitting, valves and balancing at a stroke. Additionally, all properly-licensed tyre retailers will also participate in a scheme under which the waste tyres are promptly and safely disposed of.

But as with many other products which are critical to your safety, you should take extra care to ensure that the tyres you buy are genuine, fit for purpose and are as they are described in the sales information.

An honest vendor – and you will have checked out the history of the company – should be confident in his products and offer some form of warranty on the tyres to cover worst-case scenarios.

So shopping online for tyres is safe and can often save money. The only caveat, as with any online purchase, is to ensure that your internet connection is secure and that all the usual safeguards are in place.

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Goodbye Sealant Hello Spare Wheel

In an enterprising development a well known organisation has come up with a novel idea for dealing with punctured or damaged wheels and tyres caused by potholes and other road menaces. They are calling it a spare wheel.

Yet it is not a humorous matter. For quite a while now manufacturers have taken to leaving the spare out and replacing it with a can of sealant. This is to enable them to either (or a combination of) save on manufacturing costs, make more room in the car and sell it as a space improvement or reduce the overall size of the vehicle; for example, city cars.

A tin of sealant is fine as a ‘get-you-home’ for, say a slow puncture but – as is more likely – it cannot fix a blow-out or sidewall damage. If this happens the driver is stuck and so, inevitably, is his family of young children. Not good. Certainly, cars are much more reliable these days and wheels and tyres are stronger and better made but it still happens and usually at the worst time.

The organisation – and they will no doubt soon be promoting the service – plan to offer an almost universal spare wheel (similar to the one pictured) when their service is called out. This takes the form of a seventeen inch wheel with adjustable mountings which should allow it to be fitted to any car that uses five studs on the hub. Effectively it is like the more standard space-saver wheel fitted to some cars already and will work with all but the largest and smallest cars.

The wheel is strictly a temporary measure and a speed limit applies but for the stranded motorist it will be heaven-sent as it avoids the need for a tow and additional time lost on a long wait. Sufferers will need to cough up a two hundred pound deposit on their plastic but this will be refunded once the stricken driver goes to a tyre depot to effective the repair on the original wheel. That’s a fair deal for the organisations’ members.

This is an issue that has been angering motorists for some time. Amazingly, up until recently, it was not incumbent on dealers to even tell customers there was no spare wheel. They got to find out the hard way. Clearly it behoves the new car buyer to establish this small but important fact before signing on the line that a vehicle is so equipped or at least is fitted with a space-saver, which are fine. Buying a car is supposed to be a pleasure and it is little things like this that spoil the party.

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Know Where You Stand With Car Costs

Car manufacturers are always coming up with new and better ways to attract customers to their brand. Special offers, obviously, and cut price accessories are pretty much the norm these day so more inventive ideas are coming to the fore.

Auto companies have realised that the average driver is struggling to keep car costs under control. Fixed price routine servicing is one more recent phenomenon. Now, and expect to see it spread like a bushfire, SEAT have stolen a march on the other brands with an online tyre ordering service designed to make the process as simple as possible.

The company say it is a quick and easy service with a wide variety of rubber on offer. The work will be done on their premises and the company are quoted as saying that tyres will cost from forty pounds per unit and that the final cost will be inclusive of fitting, balancing and disposal of the old tyres.

Browsers on the main SEAT website will have the use of an online web tool. This will make recommendations based on the car and the other usual parameters and in a regularly updated database will score those recommendations on the basis of price, fuel economy, wet grip, stopping distance and noise. Buyers can refine the choice until the right tyre stands out and can be ordered. The buyer can then turn up at their dealer at the appointed time knowing in total how much it is going to cost.seatyre1 Know Where You Stand With Car Costs

Now, sceptical readers will be pointing out under their breath that buying anything from main dealer is normally the most expensive way of doing it. This of course is often the case but think of the alternative. There will be the usual tiresome trawl around the independent tyre market, scratching around for savings. Once this is achieved it may well be that the savings are not as big as first thought, possibly because of the sundry extras that seem to be added on at the end.

Buying from your dealer gives you control. You know where, when and how much and who from and all from one visit to a website. That has just got to be worth money and, of course, you know who to go back to if not satisfied. A dealer will want your return business.

SEAT already offer their ‘It’s Fixed!’ pricing policy on servicing. How convenient would it be for your tyres to be changed at the regular service interval if ordered at the same time as booking? A one-stop shop. Now that is convenient. Expect other manufacturers to follow suit in short order.

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Labelling Saves Lives

We are constantly being chastised about our lifestyles. Don’t eat that, eat more of this and so on. Frankly, this granny-knows-best attitude from departments and organisations beyond counting is all wearing a bit thin. As if this wasn’t enough, the food and produce we buy is festooned with festive colour codes, charts and labels. These we read earnestly and select things that will keep our bowels and minds healthy and our bodies as fit and lean as a butcher’s dog.

If keeping ourselves healthy is so important then, why is that so many people skimp on their car tyres and risk life and limb accordingly? Sure, quality rubber is expensive but it’s not as if we have to purchase them every week. Apparently, cash strapped motorists are cutting back on tyre expenses: they’re running them beyond the prescribed safety margins and when the time comes, investing in unknown makes at cheap prices.

There are over 150 different brands of tyres to choose from, many of which originate in the far corners of the Far East. Some are decent, some are not. The essential aspect, obviously, is how they perform in various conditions. All drivers have probably seen videos about stopping distances and the like. These demonstrate clearly that good quality tyres out-perform the cheap ones by a large margin of safety.

So, the fact is that, if car owners want to keep themselves and their families safe on the road then they’ll just have to bite the bullet and cough up the readies for a brand they can trust – but what to choose? Some tyres are better in the wet; some are quieter and so on. Fortunately the labellers have been out and all tyres are now assessed on different parameters to help facilitate correct choice.

From November 2012, all tyres will carry a label (pictured) rating tyres from A to G; G being the least good. From now on, anything without this label is a no-no. Quietness, rolling resistance, fuel efficiency and wet weather performance are all shown.

To be honest, although this is a major step forward it could go further. Manufacturers and auto magazine tests routinely check many more aspects of a tyre’s performance like aquaplaning, dry handling, braking and so on. Never mind – it’s a good start to making motorists more tyre aware. It seems that these new checks will be re-examined in four years time to see how they’ve been working. Maybe further information will result.

If you read labels to try and do something about weight loss or a healthy diet then it’s just a simple step to reading the labels on tyres. Those four patches of rubber are your only contact with the road. Be wise and buy wisely.

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Are Puncture Repair Kits Overblown?

Tyres. They help to keep us safe when the road conditions get tough. They support the car and, for the most part, work with the suspension to aid a comfy ride. What would a car be without them? A cart, that’s what. So we’re all agreed then – tyres are a good thing. That is, until they puncture.

When tyres get punctured there are certain facts of which you can be sure. It will be dark. It will be raining. The baby will have just delivered a rip-snorter and you’ve run out of nappies (been there!). You will have forgotten to charge your mobile and your sat-nav thinks you are somewhere north of Murmansk. You sigh and with a resigned shrug exit the vehicle, open the boot and discover to your horror that the spare wheel has gone and in its place is a small pump and a flagon of goo.

Congratulations. You have just discovered the latest trend in car design. No spare wheel. As more and more manufacturers get on this money-saving bandwagon so the argument for and against rages with ever increasing fury. The general consensus amongst motorists seems to be that repair kits are a bad thing.

This is the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” debate. Car makers say that losing the spare saves a lardy 20 kilos, thus making the car lighter and more fuel efficient. Others might suggest that it is just a money saving gambit and, in any case, if manufacturers wanted to save weight there are plenty of other ways. Lightweight bonnets for example.

Let’s be fair though. For a start, punctures are not the phenomenon that they once were. Tyre build quality and strength has improved – despite us having road surfaces that resemble the surface of the moon – and indeed some drivers never experience tyre failure. There’s an alternative suggestion that, in fact, motorists fail to educate themselves about their car and when the crunch comes they have no idea how to operate the repair kit, assuming erroneously that a spare was supplied. These days the canny buyer checks first.

Nevertheless, tyre damage isn’t always a pinhole that can easily be stopped up by process of a chemical bung. Sometimes it’s more disastrous, like a tear or shredding. It would be like trying to keep a punctured airship inflated by stuffing an old sock in the hole.

Horror stories about these space saving kits have started to appear on television and on consumer websites. It’s certainly true that the roadside assistance organisations have experienced more call-outs for the problem of puncture stranded drivers. Manufacturers say that their cars come with roadside assistance in the price, but that’s usually only for the first year. Then what?

There are alternative solutions. Run flat tyres as standard, narrow space saver spares or even buying your own spare steel wheel with a budget tyre fitted. The downside of the latter is, of course, that cars designed without a spare wheel won’t have a handy boot well to drop one in.

The debate rumbles on. Until such time as a consensus is reached (don’t hold your breath) the best thing a would-be buyer can do is check with the dealer and see. But what if you really, really want a car despite the lack of a spare? Well, then it gets even more confusing…

NEWSFLASH 21st October: Ford have announced that their dealers have been instructed to tell customers that the car they are ordering does not have a spare wheel. Failure to do so will result in the customer being entitled to a full refund. Great, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

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