There are many things to consider when maintaining your car, and sometimes it’s easy to overlook one of the most fundamental components – the tyres on the wheels that allow it to move.
Tyre Safety Month took place in October 2011 in the UK, and featured a number of special events and promotions designed to get drivers thinking about the condition their tyres are in and how to improve them.
Throughout October, motoring organisations highlighted the benefits of keeping tyres pumped up to the recommended level, not least of which is significantly improved fuel consumption – helping motorists to save money on fuel which can go towards other essentials such as car insurance renewal.
Campaign organisation TyreSafe notes that driving on tyres that are just ten psi under the manufacturer’s recommended pressure can increase fuel consumption by as much as 2.5 per cent, a cost that will mount up over time if it is ignored for months.
“Checking tyre pressure is a straightforward procedure, yet many drivers simply don’t make time for it,” said Rob Beddis of TyreSafe.
“By taking just a few minutes every month to check the pressure of each tyre and adjust it to the recommended level, significant improvements to road safety will be made.”
How should I check if my tyre pressure is correct?
Pressure is measured by calculating the amount of air that has been pumped into the inner lining of your tyres and is measured in pounds force (psi) or bar pressure.
It’s not always obvious that tyre pressure is being lost and motorists may not feel the difference when they drive to begin with, but around two pounds of air is expected to be lost from tyres every month, or more in warm weather.
Your vehicle’s recommended tyre pressure can be found within the vehicle’s handbook or among the technical information on the passenger door frame or fuel tank flap, and can be checked quite easily with a tyre pressure gauge, available from most garages or repair shops.
Simply place the attachment onto the valve of each tyre, lock it into position and make a note of the reading on the gauge.
It is important only to check your tyre pressure when they have cooled down after a journey and avoid choosing a warm day to carry out the procedure, as checking the pressure of warm tyres is likely to give inaccurate results.
What are the other benefits of maintaining my tyres?
As well as saving money on fuel, now one of the biggest costs facing car insurance customers, drivers will also improve safety and reduce their impact on the environment by keeping tyres at the correct pressure.
Properly inflated tyres will help the vehicle to handle optimally, giving you greater control over your driving, while the enhanced fuel consumption means less CO2 being expelled into the air.
There’s also another very good reason to keep your tyres in check – it’s the law! In 2010, more than 10,000 motorists were convicted for driving on illegal or defective tyres, nearly 1,000 more than the previous year.
Not only will these convictions give you points on your license, they could also raise your car insurance premiums by a considerable amount.
“The authorities are taking a robust stance against motorists prepared to flout the law, which goes to show that if you drive on illegal tyres, then be prepared to pay the price,” add Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe.
October’s Tyre Safety Month was helped to reach more people near the end of the month, when the BBC’s The One Show featured a special five-minute report on checking tread depth to ensure tyres are fit for the job.