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What Are the Dangers of Under Inflated Car Tyres?

Driving on incorrectly inflated tyres can cause problems both in terms of vehicle performance and road safety.

Given that 60% of people do not know what the legal car tyre tread depth limit is, it comes as little surprise that most of us do not know what the correct tyre pressure is for our vehicles either. The vehicles manual is usually a good place to start to find the correct pressures although failing that any garage should also be able to provide you with this information. Ideally, all car tyres should be checked at least once a month and at the beginning of any long journey using a tyre pressure gauge. It is also worth remembering that there are usually 2 correct pressures; one for ‘normal’ driving and one for ‘loaded’ driving, which is usually when the vehicle is loaded with passengers or is carrying a particularly heavy load.

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Tyre Spot Ltd has been supplying and fitting car tyres in the Newcastle area for over 30 years. Today they have 9 branches across the Newcastle area and a website that allows users to purchase tyres online and book their vehicle in to their nearest Tyre Spot branch for fitment. Tyre Spot provide a wide range of tyres from premium brands to cheaper, budget brand car tyres as well as providing additional vehicle services such as exhausts, brakes, MOTs (which can also be booked online) and servicing.

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Car tires are more important than many people give them credit for being. They are literally your link with the road. The most dangerous place for you to be is out of or in poor contact with the road. In this predicament you are not able to have any input into your course of direction and that is a bad thing when you are going 60 plus miles per hour with no way to avoid crashing into something. Friction is what we are going for and there are some things that you have control of and some things that you don’t in this area. You are responsible for your own and anyone else’s life in the car you are driving and so you had better be sure that you have taken all the measures that you can to prevent a problem. Now the contact of the road has several factors as already mentioned. The majority of the friction comes from the contact of rubber of the tire with the concrete or asphalt of the road. The action of gravity on the mass of your car is the only thing that is causing this contact and so naturally more weight equals more friction between the road and your car tires. A good thing but can turn against you in the form of inertia after the friction has been overcome say after you’ve locked up the brakes, now inertia is greater with a heavier vehicle and takes more in the way of friction to stop it. Anyway rubber and concrete naturally have a lot of friction. Air pressure in tires will change the properties of the rubber by stretching it so that if a tire is overfilled it can decrease the amount of friction. There is also less surface area in this case. Anyway so you have rubber tires and concrete roads what more can you be responsible for? Well tread for one. How does tread affect the ability of car tires to make contact with the road? Well now we have to talk about outside factors that affect the surface of the road, namely weather. Water and snow and mud decrease the amount of friction by filling the natural grooves and not allowing contact between rubber and road. So how does tread help in this situation. Well tread is actually good because of the grooves in the tread of your car tires. The grooves allow the material no matter what it is to have a place to go other than between the rubber of the tire and the road. This decreases the “hydroplaning” effect that you get with all the different natural elements that can make driving conditions bad. So the moral of the story is to make sure that you always have good tires with lots of tread on your vehicle in order to maximize the ability of your car to grip the road and therefore provide you with control over the vehicle that allows you to slow down and steer to avoid problems.

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Check car tyres regularly for any signs of wear. This is important as they are the only point of contact between a car and the road. Any deterioration of the tread or damage to the sidewalls may be risking an accident.

The basic legal requirements for car tyres are:

a) Tread Depth must be a minimum of 1.6mm. This applies to the entire circumference of the tyre. A bald patch on a tyre, where the tread depth is below the minimum requirement, is against the law. Check a tyre after a skid or emergency braking as this is when bald patches can occur.

b) Tyres must be inflated to the correct pressure. Consult the vehicle manufacturer's handbook to find the recommended pressure. Not only is this a legal requirement, it improves the vehicle's handling and reduces fuel consumption.

5. Speed

Driving at high speeds increases the car tyre temperature and accelerates the wear.

6. Car Tyre Alignment

Incorrect alignment of car tyres causes uneven and increased wear.

7. Driving Style

Aggressive cornering, accelerating and braking excessively are all causes of car tyre wear.

One factor that is unavoidable is time. Tyres deteriorate naturally over time due to the effects of the weather. Vehicles kept outside will degrade faster than those kept in a garage. Cracking due to sunlight exposure usually becomes evident on car tyres that are five years or older. When this happens, as with any signs of wear, replace the car tyre immediately.

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