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Significance of car tyres for your safety & car value

5th January 2015 Print

On the surface, car tyres seem pretty unspectacular. In fact, they’re one of the areas of your car that you’re most likely to forget about, but tyres are one of the most vital parts of your car and are very important to your safety. Actually, tyres are the only parts of your car that come into contact with the road, and this relatively small area of contact is responsible for your safety when accelerating, braking, steering and cornering. And with roughly 1,200 European road accidents and casualties blamed on tyre failure every year, it’s not just the odd puncture that you have to worry about.

It’s time to start giving your tyres a little more thought. Here are some tips for keeping your tyres in the best condition and your loved ones safe on the road. 

No Mixing

Unless you’re temporarily making use of spare tyres which are supplied as original equipment, it’s against the law to mix tyres of different types on the same axle in the United Kingdom. It’s also dangerous too! It’s also highly recommended that you fit the same tyre type to all wheel positions. 

Tread Carefully

We all know that tyre treads are important to provide a good grip on wet and slippery roads, and the legal minimum tread depth in the United Kingdom is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. However, there are still other important things to consider. Generally, wet grip decreases as the depth of water increases or the tyre treat pattern becomes worn down, so you should always keep this in mind and reduce your speed in wet conditions. 

It’s also important to remember that the tyre’s wet grip deteriorates most rapidly in the second half of its tread life, which can drastically increase your wet stopping distance. It’s always worth considering replacing your tyres a good while before they reach the legal minimum, for added safety.

Under Pressure

It’s vital that your tyres are kept at the correct pressures for different loads, speeds and vehicle handling to ensure maximum grip, braking and safety as well as prolonged tyre life. Keeping the tyres under-inflated can cause excessive flexing, deteriorating of the casing and faster wear of the tread shoulders. All of this is and news for your bank account, but under-inflation can also cause the vehicle to consume more fuel too! On the other side, over-inflation reduces the area of contact with the road, causes rapid wear, exposes the tyre to more risk of impact damage and can make your ride very uncomfortable. 

If you can’t find the recommended tyre inflation pressures for your car in its handbook or on a placard you’ll find mounted on the vehicle, it’s best to get in touch with the tyre manufacturer.  You should check your inflation pressure every two weeks at the very least and always make sure the tyre is cold, as the pressure will increase when the tyre is warm after being run. Always ensure that your pressure gauge is reliable and accurate, too. 

Impacting Your Car’s Value

Awareness of road safety is vital, especially when we are in the season of icy and treacherous roads. But as many of us aim to limit car depreciation in an attempt to contribute extra finances towards a new car, then the above techniques should be applied; otherwise the risk of damage is significantly increased. There are numerous car valuation tools, similar to this, which help to provide an estimate of your existing car’s value – however, if an unwanted accident occurs as a result of unmaintained tyres, then you will only have your self to blame.