With the rule of six now firmly in place and the country beginning to reopen, TyreSafe is urging drivers to make sure they’ve carried out the necessary checks to ensure their vehicle is still in egg-cellent condition and is #ReadyForTheRoad ahead of the Easter weekend.
No matter what your plans, whether you’re eager to take advantage of easing restrictions on outdoor sports or are planning a long-awaited picnic in the park with local friends or family, these checks are especially important if you have not been driving regularly during Lockdown.
Vehicles are best maintained through usage and some aspects of their condition can deteriorate when left parked for many weeks or used only occasionally for short distance journeys. Tyres lose their air pressure over time and harden when they are not used regularly, which can lead to sidewall cracking – a serious safety issue. It’s also possible for ‘flat spots’ to appear where the tyre’s tread has been flattened due to the weight of a vehicle bearing down on it for an extended period of time.
The essential tyre checks for Easter:
Air pressure: find the tyre size on the sidewall; it will be in this format XXX/XX/RXX, for example, 195/55/R15. Look up the air pressure for your vehicle either in the handbook, filler cap or on the door sill. Cross reference the size of tyre with the recommended pressure, and bear in mind you will likely have two values displayed: one for a fully loaded vehicle and the other with minimal occupants.
Condition: Cracking of the tyre’s sidewall indicates the ageing process has made it lose its suppleness and may be beyond its safe lifespan. It should be checked by a professional if you see this ‘crazing’ effect as you will also need to do if you see any lumps or bulges. If a tyre has a ‘flat spot’ it is likely to be felt by a vibration through the steering wheel when driven, and again needs to be examined by a professional.
Tread depth: The minimum tread depth for vehicles under 3.5 tons is 1.6mm (1mm for motorcycles and scooters over 50cc). Ideally it should be checked with an accurate tread depth gauge but if you do not have one, insert a 20p-piece into the central grooves of your tyre and at several points around its circumference. If you can see the border at any point, it might be illegal and should be checked by a professional.
Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “Everyone is keen to get out and visit friends and families with the easing of Lockdown but take a few minutes before you do to ensure your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition. While tyre checks should be carried out on a regular basis, it’s crucial to inspect them after an extended period of being parked up or rarely used. Remembering what to do is easy if you use the acronym ACT – air pressure, condition and tread depth.
“Avoid unnecessary risks and make sure your car is #ReadyForTheRoad.”
To find out more about the tyre checks which will help you reduce the risks of a tyre-related incident out on the roads, visit tyresafe.org.