Tag Archive | "winter tyres"

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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Winter Draws On. Again.


Yes folks, it’s that time of year again. As Autumn drags us kicking and screaming into the dark, dank days of Winter it is time for our annual reminder to look to your car. Breaking down is never nice but when it’s freezing cold or pouring with rain it is much, much worse.

Your trusty motor has given you good service over the Summer months. It has taken you for seaside daytrips and on away days to theme parks and to see dull relatives. It may have taken you on holiday at home or abroad and throughout this it has never complained.

Nevertheless, by now it will need some TLC. In the same way that a meat pie satisfies when we’re hungry and cold so a bit of lubrication and a coat of wax will rejuvenate your car and make it ready for the extremes of Winter.

Check that anti-freeze for a start. Is the coolant up to snuff? When we get a cold we take a paracetemol. For a car a freeze-up can cause a lot more damage. This is why the oil should be checked and even changed and the other vital fluids topped up as appropriate. Same goes for the battery – they can die on you suddenly; often at the worst time.

Your tyres should have 3mm of tread at a very bare minimum to gain any kind of traction, especially if you’re not going to buy an all-weather or winter set. Check the pressures to make sure they are adequate at least every two weeks. Maybe some temporary tyre snow socks in the boot wouldn’t hurt for emergencies along with a blanket and some other emergency aids?

Give the car a very good clean and apply a decent coat of wax or polish. There’s some good stuff on the market these days so a session now and another on a half-way decent day mid-Winter should do the trick.

There is not really any excuse. If in doubt many garages offer free Winter health checks for your car. Obviously they want to get some business out of it but if it really is not possible to get some good DIY action going then at least you can be sure the car is safe. That’s the important thing.

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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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Driving in Winter


Though snow is a reasonably unusual occurrence in the UK, we all know it’s going to happen sooner or later during the winter. It still doesn’t stop it from being a bit of a surprise when it does arrive! Here are some tips from car safety charity GEM about how to prepare for winter journeys, and for driving in winter weather.

Maintenance:

• Have your car looked over by a professional and sure that your brakes are in tip top condition
• Check oil and water levels regularly
• Keep a bottle of water in the car to top up your windscreen washer in an emergency

Always keep in the car:

• High-vis clothes
• Ice scraper and de-icer
• Cash
• Torch and batteries
• Food and drink – chocolate bars, nuts, flask for a hot drink, plus bottled water
• Sunglasses in case of glare from the snow

Things to watch out for on the road

If driving in the snow, you should always evaluate the need for your journey. If it’s not essential, don’t drive.

Aquaplaning
Also known as hydroplaning, this is when water builds between the tyres of a vehicle and the surface of the road, which reduces traction – so make sure you have plenty of tread depth and your tyre pressure is correct.

Black Ice
When ice forms over the road it’s sometimes impossible to see. Stopping on ice can take up to 9 times longer than usual, so be aware of this and alter your speeds accordingly. Make sure your brakes are in good working order.

What to do if you get stuck in snow

• Try and manoeuvre your car to the side of the road and come to a stop.

• Always stay with your car as it will protect you from the elements, unless you are extremely close to buildings with people inside.

• Keep the exhaust pipe unblocked so that if you need to run the engine to keep warm, there is no danger of carbon monoxide build up.

• Try and clear snow from your roof and hood so that it can be easily seen, or put something brightly coloured on top for visibility.

For even more advice on driving in winter – such as driving overseas and in mountainous territory, download the free GEM Winter Driving eBook.

Vivienne Egan writes for GEM

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Don’t Panic – It Might Snow.


At the time of writing this it is early January 2013. The weather in England has been relatively mild and benign (Scotland haven’t fared quite so well but, hey, they wanted independence). Unfortunately for us, we are told – and by the time you read this you may already know – that the weather is going to become much colder and there is a chance of…snow!

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that in a mixed climate like ours we’d be used to bad weather. Sadly this never seems to be the case. As soon as that attractive blonde lady on TV mentions the dreaded S word, the floodgates of doom open and a torrent of dire warnings is spread across all media. That which cannot be named causes national anxiety just at its mention.

In 21st Century Britain, it takes only a few centimetres of s**w to bring everything to a grinding halt. Trains are frozen to the lines and passengers have to route march down the side of the track; shops run out of stock, the Prime Minister flies to Chamonix for a little light skiing, cars freeze up for want of servicing and the rest of us manage as best we can.

Meanwhile, again at the time of writing, whilst we are all looking fearfully out of the window at the sky, some 20,000 people have driven through s**w to a remote ski-jumping location in Zakopane, Poland for an event that always turns into a party. Scandinavians – who have a penchant for running naked into the white stuff and beating themselves with birch twigs – laugh in the face of ten foot drifts and, although they also suffer disruption, cope better with the problems than we do.

This is primarily because, like boy scouts, they are better prepared. We have a history in this country of not being prepared, well, for anything really because preparedness costs money. Everything in the UK comes down to a cost benefit analysis. This is probably because our weather is never that bad, but things can change as the many people who have been flooded in the last six months will be pleased to tell you.

So if nothing is to be done and you are basically on your own then it’s time for a bit of self-reliance. Many European countries (but not Belgium who are as bad as we are) now require drivers to fit winter tyres from a given date. This is a cost to drivers unquestionably, but these tyres have a proven benefit when the white precipitation comes. At the very least motorists should carry s**w chains or the cheaper s**w boots for emergency use. It is also essential to ensure that the coolant is correctly topped up to avoid freezing. Some people go as far as to carry a safety kit in case they become stranded. It’s a thought, especially if kids are involved.

So when the weather forecasters predict the worst and the more excitable newspapers tell us about the impending disaster that’s about to unfold remember the words of the immortal Corporal Jones – ‘Don’t panic!’

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Time For Winter Socks?


Over the last couple of years much has been made about the use of winter tyres during the cold season. In general, reviews have been good and the overall opinion seems to be that they are a good thing. Put simply, they are made of a softer compound which provides more grip in bad weather, including snow.

One of the problems with modern society is choice; there’s too much of it. These days we can buy summer tyres, winter tyres and all-season tyres – they all have their good and bad points. Some tyres perform better in the wet, for example, but most tyres perform poorly on snow and ice which is why we skid and get stuck at the roadside and so on.

There is, however, an over-riding snag for many people interested in winter tyres and that’s cost. If you change your regular tyres for winter rubber then you’ll probably have to pay someone to do it for you. You may need to pay for storage if you don’t have a garage or suitable storage space. Then, of course, you have to pay to put your regular tyres back on. Alternatively, you’ll need to buy a second set of wheels which means it’s easier to change them over yourself. A decent set of steel wheels will probably serve if you can’t run to alloys. Whatever, it’s going to cost a lot, but at least it should be a long term investment.

In the UK, whilst we do occasionally get white-out conditions, we mostly suffer from occasional bouts of snowy or icy weather. People in Scandinavian countries must laugh out loud when they see how badly our infrastructure copes in a couple of inches of the white stuff and how little we learn from the event. Usually the advice is straightforward – don’t go out in your car.

Still, there are alternatives for ordinary motorists for whom winter tyres are simply too expensive – snow chains and snow socks. Snow chains have been a round almost since the birth of the automobile and they work. In fact, in some European countries they are mandatory on winter snow. They don’t take up much room in the boot and are preferable to being stranded. They can be a bit tricky to fit (practice before the bad weather comes) and they don’t make for a comfy drive, but they do provide vital grip. Chains are available at all prices but you probably get what you pay for. Motor Blogger has seen them for as little as £35 to over £200 a pair.

Possibly the best option for the odd occasion that most will experience are snow socks. They work, are cheap at around £40-50 a pair and fit very simply in minutes on the driving wheels. Stretch the technical fabric over the wheel as much as possible, roll the car back a bit to allow fitment to the rest of tyre and the job’s done. They are self-seating, easy to remove and washable. They must always be removed as soon as the wheels hit tarmac otherwise they will wear out very quickly.

Safety is crucial and especially so when the snow falls. There is no excuse for not making preparations. Winter tyres, chains or a set of excellent winter socks tucked in the boot will all help to keep you safe on snow and ice.

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How to Avoid Getting Stuck This Winter


The breakdown recovery services always see huge increases in the levels of “breakdowns” during the winter months. This increase in so-called breakdowns are rarely down to real mechanical failures but actually down to poor maintenance and preparation.

Here are a few of the most common reasons for breaking down during the winter that can be easily addressed before you set out on your journey:

Antifreeze
Cars without enough antifreeze can see big problems if left in the cold. The water in the system and engine can freeze and therefore make the car impossible to start. In worst cases, the water will freeze and then expand and actually crack pipes and other essential parts of your engine causing serious damage and cost. Always check your antifreeze and top up as required.

Battery
One of the biggest reasons for breakdown during the winter season is a dead battery. During the winter months we are using our car batteries a lot more than usual and putting them under a lot of stress. We have our lights on, our windscreen wipers on and our heaters on and this means that the battery doesn’t get as much chance to charge as it normally does. Then combine that with the fact that batteries lose their charge quicker in cold weather and you can quickly see why so many people park up and return to a dead battery.
The easiest way to combat this is to check that you have a good quality battery connected. If so, make sure during the winter months that you try to give your car a good 30 minute drive every week without anything using the battery (e.g. no lights on, stereo off etc) just to make sure it is staying topped up.

Tyres
Poor quality tyres are one of the biggest reasons for crashes and getting stuck during the winter months. Your tyres are the only thing that connect your car and the ground together and therefore if the connection is of poor quality thanks to low tread then you are going to be experiencing problems. Make sure your tyres have plenty of tread. The legal minimum is 1.6mm but you should be looking for at least 2mm+ for winter months to minimise skidding and wheel spin.

Overall Check
Give your car an overall check-over to make sure everything is topped up and functioning correctly. The most important aspects are your lights, windscreen wipers, washer levels and your brakes. Then take extra care while driving and you should be able to enjoy a breakdown-free winter.

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