Would You Give Tyres for Christmas?      

They may not be the most romantic gift you can think of, but road safety charity TyreSafe, is campaigning for the public to give the gift of tyre safety this Christmas, as the UK enters a ‘frugal festive period’ in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.

The charity is using the Christmas period to encourage drivers, friends and family to share the importance of checking tyres and replacing them before they cause avoidable risks to road users. There are over 40,000 tyre-related incidents on Britain’s motorways and major roads every year, and each brings with it a risk to not only drivers and passengers but also those assisting stricken motorists.

The festive period also sees an increase in people travelling with vehicles loaded with passengers, luggage and gifts, often in more challenging weather conditions. Which means performing tyre checks and adjusting tyre pressures according to a vehicle’s load is increasingly important.

The charity uses the simple ACT (air pressure, condition and tread) acronym to remind drivers to check the air pressure, condition and tread of each tyre.

Driving with air pressures below or above the recommended settings can severely compromise grip, which is particularly hazardous in icy and wet conditions.

Furthermore, tyres that are underinflated by just 6psi have a reduction in fuel efficiency of 3%. Not only that, underinflated tyres have a significantly reduced tyre life as the tyre’s contact patch with the road surface is reduced to two smaller areas towards the outer edges of the tread.

The correct tyre pressure settings for your vehicle can be found in the owner’s handbook, in the door shut or fuel filler cap, and drivers should use an accurate gauge to check all four tyres. If drivers are loading up with presents and relatives, they may need to adjust their tyre pressures accordingly to account for the additional weight.

Drivers can use a 20p piece to check their tread depth by inserting the coin at different points across the tread pattern and around the circumference. If any of the coin’s rim is visible, have a professional check the tyre.

Drivers feeling the pinch this Christmas may be tempted to opt for used or ‘part-worns’ as a more cost-effective solution in the event their tyres need replacing. However, of the 278 part worn retailers investigated by TyreSafe and Trading Standards, 93% of part-worns being sold were illegal, with 63% of tyres inspected unsafe to return to the roads.

Purchasing part-worns may also prove a false economy. New tyres are normally sold with around 8mm of tread depth, whereas part worn tyres may have as little as  2mm of tread remaining meaning they will need replacing much sooner and are more susceptible to damage, depending on their condition.