Cash-strapped drivers risk lifes
AS WINTER begins to bite the risk of accident and breakdown on the road becomes more enhanced. But as the festive season kicks in, it can be too much of a chore to ensure your car can cope with worsening road conditions. Whilst the expense of a winter service is very often one bill too many as silly season takes hold. Tyre thread-depths? Functioning Break-lights? Oil Change? B’ah humbug!
Many will take a risk and put it off. But the unfortunate truth is that many of us motorists will fall foul of a winter motoring mishap.
Cash-strapped drivers are putting their own and other people’s lives at risk this winter by failing to repair simple yet potentially deadly faults in a bid to save money.
Four small patches of rubber each about the size of your hand are the only parts of the car in touch with the road. So as we approach winter, having the right tyres in good condition and correctly inflated is very important for your safety.
Regular checks and maintenance help to make tyres last longer, and keep you on the right side of the law.
New tyres to the front or rear?
• Check the handbook first as some give vehicle specific advice.
• Generally it’s good practice to fit the best/newest tyres on the rear – in wet conditions, this favours understeer rather than oversteer.
• So, if you have the front tyres renewed it’s best to have the rear ones moved to the front and the new tyres fitted to the rear.
• Tyres with deep tread are less likely to puncture and it’s more difficult to control a car with a damaged rear tyre.
Basic legal requirements
• Tyres must be compatible with others on the car and generally in good physical condition
• Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure
• Tread depth must be above the legal minimum which for passenger cars is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference. The AA recommends replacing your tyre when the thread depth falls below 3mm
• You don’t have to carry a spare and it doesn’t have to meet the legal requirements while it’s stowed away. It may however affect breakdown cover if you don’t carry a serviceable spare
Spare wheels and new cars
If you are buying a new car don’t assume that there will be a full-size spare wheel and tyre in the boot. It is increasingly common for car manufacturers to provide a non-standard or ‘skinny’ spare or even simply an emergency tyre sealant and compressor/ inflator pack.
If carrying a full-size spare is important to you then raise it with the dealer; some offer a standard spare wheel as a cost option if the design of the boot floor can accommodate one.