Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

a person holding the steering wheel of a car and driving.

Staying Safe On The Road

We love getting out and about in our car. Where we live there is little public transport and having a car is essential to our way of life. We always make an effort to make sure that our car is safe and as reliable as it can be, nobody likes to be stranded in a broken down car, or even worse involved in an accident with a car that is unsafe. It came as a bit of a shock to learn that over half of motorists don’t know how to check their tyres. The tyres on your car are the only point of contact that you have with the road. Whenever you brake, accelerate or steer, your tyres have to deliver as expected if they can’t, that is where accidents happen and your chances of staying safe on the road are minimal.

I wanted to put together a helpful guide on not only what to check, but also how to check your tyres and what you are checking the tyres for.

Tread Depth

The legal tread depth in the U.K. is 1.6mm. This depth must be in a continuous band around the tyre and across three-quarters of the width of the tyre. You can check the tread depth with a tread depth gauge, or, the band on the outside of a twenty pence piece, which happens to be 1.6mm. Contrary to popular belief, the tread on the tyres DOES NOT provide grip. The tread is there just to displace water from the road when it is raining. If the tread is incapable of moving the water from between the road and the tyre, the tyre will aquaplane (sit on top of the water) and obviously, controlling your car then becomes pretty difficult.

Staying safe on the road. A close up of the treads on a car tyre.

Tyre damage

Your tyres are made of rubber reinforced with nylon cords. If any of these cords can be seen, then your tyre needs to be replaced. If there are any cuts to the sidewall of the tyre or bubbles/balloons usually caused by bouncing the wheel up a kerb, then the tyre needs to be replaced. Similarly, if the sidewalls of the tyre are perished and cracked you will need to replace the tyre. Any damage to the tyre reduces how strong the tyre is. The tyre then has a much greater risk of failure, or ‘blowing out’ putting you, the other occupants of the car and other road users at risk.

Tyre pressure

I imagine that everyone knows that there is air inside their tyres, but do you know how much? Checking your tyre pressures is a vital check. You don’t need to shell out on expensive kit to check them, you can check them at most fuel stations for a few pennies. You will find out the recommended tyre pressures for your car in your vehicle handbook, alternatively, there are loads of online sites where you can find out the information. Driving your car with underinflated tyres will cost you fuel efficiency, increased wear and can damage the sidewalls. The damage is done inside the tyre so you won’t see it until the tyre fails. If your tyres are overinflated, the handling will be affected and the tyres will wear out much quicker. The wear will also be uneven.

Change your tyres

Although the legal limit is 1.6mm, most manufacturers recommend that you change your tyres when they wear to 3mm. Tyres can be expensive so it is definitely worth shopping around. I always check the prices at the independent garages, however, the price isn’t everything. I find that if you use the more local garages such as Elite Direct Tyres, you receive a more personal service. They are just as knowledgable as the larger chains and are usually more able to get you the right tyre for your car, rather than selling you the most expensive tyre.

*This is a collaborative post*

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