Don’t let unsafe tyres take the ‘spring’ out of your step

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By Denna Bowman

Motorists are being urged to avoid the Bank Holiday motoring blues by making sure their tyres are safe and legal before taking to the roads.

Punctured or torn tyres were the second most common reason for calling out the AA in 2011, according to TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyres safety organisation.

Breakdown recovery associations are already bracing themselves for the annual onslaught of tyre related call outs as millions of drivers head off for a quick getaway over Easter, shortly followed by the May Bank Holiday.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, stressed: “Spending just a few minutes checking your vehicle’s tyres could ultimately save you hours of hassle following a puncture or blow-out. However, what’s more important is that an unchecked tyre might be unsafe, putting the driver, passengers and other road users in very real danger.”

He added: “Don’t let the state of your tyres put a dampener on your Bank Holiday fun. It’s quick and easy to check them and will leave you free to enjoy what really matters.”

The main things to bear in mind include air pressure and the overall tyre condition.

Having the correct air pressure is particularly critical because of the increased vehicle weight from extra passengers and luggage being transported. Therefore, vehicles may need to have their tyres inflated to a higher pressure to stay safe.

Many vehicle manufacturers actually specify that tyre pressures should be increased when the car is fully laden with passengers and luggage, such as suitcases, bikes and roof boxes.

If the pressures are not adjusted accordingly and the tyres run under-inflated, excessive heats builds up inside the tyre which can lead to premature tyre failure.

Also, the condition of the tyres should be visually inspected, cuts and bulges can lead to a blow out at speed if the tyre is not repaired or replaced. Objects which have become embedded in the tread must be removed.

Finally, with the threat of April showers always present, drivers are also urged to check tread depth so that the tyres can cope with wet roads.

Current UK law requires drivers to have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of the tyre, around its entire circumference.

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