Tread depth crit­i­cal to safe driv­ing

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­wart@wrcn.co.nz

Ev­ery day Peter How­land sees tyres that are tread­ing a fine line be­tween il­le­gal and down­right dan­ger­ous.

The Beau­re­pairs Mata­mata owner has worked with tyres for more than three decades and sup­ports a push for safer tyres on New Zealand roads.

The in­au­gu­ral Tyre Aware­ness Week started on Mon­day with a fo­cus this year on tread depth and tyre pres­sure.

Or­gan­is­ers – in­clud­ing AA, the Min­istry of Trans­port, the po­lice and in­dus­try lead­ers – say the in­tro- duc­tion of less fre­quent war­rant of fit­ness checks meant car own­ers needed to show more in­ter­est.

‘‘ People rely on the war­rant of fit­ness ev­ery six months to check the tyres and make sure they’re le­gal but re­al­is­ti­cally they should be check­ing their tyres at least once a month,’’ How­land said.

‘‘ I think the big thing is to make sure you have the cor­rect depth of tread and the tyre is wear­ing cor­rectly, not only for le­gal­ity but for safety.’’

A lot of people were un­aware that tread must have a depth of at least 1.5mm for a tyre to be le­gal, he said.

‘‘ We see some very, very bald tyres come in here. Way be­low the le­gal depth.

‘‘ If you were cruis­ing along at 100kmh in the wet then they would be­come very, very slip- pery. Tyres need tread to shed the wa­ter away so you keep ad­he­sion to the road.’’

Check­ing the tread on four tyres only takes a few min­utes and most brands even have moulded tread­depth in­di­ca­tors.

Tyre pres­sure could also be checked eas­ily at any ser­vice sta­tion or tyre out­let.

‘‘ An­other thing people need to think about is wheel align­ment which should be done ev­ery six months or 10,000km.

‘‘ The sim­ple rea­son is we have quite ad­verse roads in New Zealand.

‘‘ Cor­ners, pot holes, rough edges ... all those things take their toll on wheel align­ment and tyres.

‘‘ It doesn’t take very much to put a mod­ern car out.’’

Stop­ping dis­tance, han­dling around cor­ners and fuel ef­fi­ciency are all af­fected by the con­di­tion of tyres.

Go to tyre­safety. org. nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

Tread­ing a fine line: Beau­re­pairs Mata­mata owner Peter How­land com­pares a new tyre with an un­safe tyre he took off a cus­tomer’s car.

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