Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Tyre Safety Tips For The Winter
It’s been a long time coming but Winter is finally here. On one hand, winter means bleakly beautiful monochrome vistas best viewed from a warm fireside, on the other it means the usual winter chaos will soon be visiting our roads.
People always remark on how we expect snow at least once during winter but we always seem to get into a total mess when it comes with a raised eyebrow, why is that? One reason is tyres. In the UK, we just don’t seem to pay any attention to tyres and we wonder why our cars don’t stop in time when the roads get greasy. We’re quite prepared to spend £40 getting our car cleaned at the car park so we don’t have to get cold doing it on a Sunday morning, (this has been the time to clean your car since the days of Sir Francis Drake sailing against the armada). But, spending money on the interface point between a ton of speeding metal and the road it sits always seems to be a bit too much to part with.
It’s madness. On most cars, the contact area for each tyre is around the size of an adult male hand, that’s not very big and so it’s all the more important to have tyres that are in good shape and are performant.
So what does constitute good shape? We all know about tread depth, how else would we be able to properly fret about whether the car gets through the yearly MOT? But do we know that we have to look at tread across the whole width of the tyre? It’s not unusual for some parts of the tyre to have perfectly deep tread while being significantly lower in other parts, this can be due to poorly set up tracking or just the effect of power steering. In the UK the minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm but in winter a figure of 3mm is recommended by most tyre companies.
What is the effect of tread depth? It stops aquaplaning which is when a layer of water is trapped between the tyre and the road, meaning skids are easy in heavy rain. The tread moves the water away from this layer stopping the build up and therefore preventing skids.
There are other checks that need to be done though. On lower mileage cars tyres may last a long time. In this case it’s really important to check the sides of the tyre for signs of any cracking or damage, if any is observed at all, check whether the tyre needs to be replaced with your local supplier.
The final thing to have on your radar is tyre pressure. A wrongly inflated tyre will wear unevenly, costing you money and could lead to unpredictable handling. The manual for your car (or sometimes a label on the door frame) will list what the pressure should be in either PSI or BAR. It doesn’t matter what those mean, just make sure you are able to set it (i.e. on a pressure gauge).
In winter, tyres can mean the difference between a close call and an accident, they are perhaps the most important of all car components, but conversely one of the easiest to maintain. All you need to be able to do is to know when it’s time to visit your local tyre supplier.
If you’re looking to replace your tyres, it’s worth checking out Point S. The website has a wide variety of car tyres in all sizes. You can check what size you need and book car tyres online.
3 Essentials for Winter Tyre Maintenance
- Tyre pressure gauge. A cheap one can be had for £1.50, my recommendation would be to spend the money (around £3 and go for a digital one)
- Tyre pump – expensive ones are electrical and plug into the car cigarette lighter, manual ones cost around £5 and are great for calf strength
- Tyre tread depth gauge – manual £3, digital £5
3 simple tools to help you manage your tyre safety, buy them, read the instructions, use them once every few weeks, avoid an unnecessary accident. Job done.
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.