By Denna Bowman
Motorists are being urged to carry out pre-travel checks on their tyres to avoid Bank Holiday blowouts this weekend.
TyreSafe, the leading tyres safety organisation, warns that drivers who are preparing to get away and make the most of the final Bank Holiday weekend of the year could put lives at risk by driving on under-inflated tyres.
Tyre pressures should be checked at least once a month or before a long journey and should be adjusted for any additional loads being carried. Motorists travelling on under-inflated tyres are much more likely to suffer a serious blowout endangering themselves, passengers and other road users.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe. “Too many drivers experience a dangerous blowout, particularly over the August bank holiday weekend, simply because they have not taken the time to prepare their car properly beforehand.
“Although they may only be going away for a few days, many drivers fill their car with passengers, luggage and additional items such as bikes, all of which can seriously impact on their tyres’ performance. Unless tyre pressures are checked properly, the additional load can make a tyre failure much more likely.”
When tyres are under-inflated or overloaded, extra heat builds up within the tyre causing its internal components to separate and eventually fail in a spectacular manner. This is a particular problem when cars are travelling at high speeds for a long period, such as motorway journeys. Not only is the blowout a problem for the driver who has to try and control the vehicle, but other roads users are also put at risk from any tyre debris left in the carriageway.
Tyre pressures should be checked when the tyres are cold using the manufacturers recommended levels. Many vehicles require higher pressures when carrying heavy loads. Details of the pressure settings can be found in the driver’s handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or on a plate located on the driver’s door sill or pillar.
How to check your tyre pressures correctly
1. Pressures should be checked at least once a month or before a long journey
2. Pressures should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended level. This can be found in the vehicle handbook and on a plate which is often located inside the fuel filler flap or on the driver’s door sill or pillar.
3. Check the pressure when tyres are cold (i.e. when you have travelled less than two miles).
4. If you are carrying a full load of passengers or luggage or will be towing a trailer or caravan, tyre pressures should be increased in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Details can be found in the vehicle handbook.
5. Ensure a reliable and accurate pressure gauge is used.
6. Check the pressure in all four tyres not forgetting to check the spare tyre as well.
7. While checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts.
8. If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.