Motorists in the UK are risking their safety as more than half “do not carry out any form of tyre maintenance”, a Blackcircles.com survey has revealed. This is concerning as tyres are more important than some people assume. Consider this: a vehicle is travelling at 70mph on the motorway. It is carrying a family of five and the boot is full of heavy luggage. Despite the car's prestigious badge, cosy seats and fancy electronics the only parts that touch tarmac – and therefore ensure it sticks to the road - are the tyres. Furthermore, as these constantly revolve only a small part of each hits the tarmac at one time – and of these large chunks have been removed to form the tread that clears rain water, etc. The car's touch-point with the surface is therefore extremely small. Despite this the motorist expects the tyres – without exception – to smoothly translate the engine's power into momentum and to help the vehicle brake and steer. These tasks must be performed in conditions such as extreme heat in the summer, rain in the autumn, and snow in the winter. As such, drivers should frequently check their tyres are fit for purpose.
How To Check Tyres
Checking a tyre is straightforward and requires very little knowledge. The first consideration is the pressure which influences how the car corners, brakes, rides, and steers. Incorrect pressure – either too high or too low - can also damage the tyre. The correct pressure can be confirmed via a sticker that is often located on the driver-side b-pillar. If not, refer to the manual. Remember too that cars often require different pressures at the front/back and while heavily laden. The next consideration is tread depth. The legal minimum is 1.6mm across the central 75% of the tyre's width, and around its circumference. This can be checked via a gauge or the wear indicators that (most) tyres have within their tread. However, to maintain the vehicle's performance it is best to replace a tyre when its tread hits 3mm. Furthermore, check for consistent wear. The left side, for example, should wear fairly evenly with the right. If not, this indicates a (possible) problem with the car's tracking that should be rectified. Also, check for tears, punctures, bulges, and cracking that might compromise the tyre's integrity. Plus, of course, if there is any doubt that the tyre is fit for purpose have it checked via a mechanic.
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