Maintaining your tyres during Lockdown
With motorists currently being advised to only make essential journeys, a great many vehicles around the UK are currently sitting largely unused.
Even when a vehicle isn’t in use though, it’s vital that it still be correctly maintained. Tyres, for example, still require regular attention. Ideally, the vehicle would be raised so that the tyres are no longer supporting its weight. For the majority of motorists though, this isn’t practical. So, they will need to keep a careful eye on their tyres’ air pressure, tread depth and overall condition.
Goodyear Tyres has the following advice to help motorists take care of their tyres during lockdown and ensure that their vehicle is still safe upon returning to the road.
If a vehicle isn’t being used, to have its full weight sitting upon the tyres may cause them to develop flat spots. These patches of worn-down tread will unbalance the wheel, making it vibrate and affecting the vehicle’s handling when returning to the road. Where possible, and only if you can do so within government guidelines, the vehicle should be moved every three months in order to avoid this. For vehicles equipped with high performance tyres though, it’s recommended that the vehicle be moved every 30 days.
If the tyres have been properly cared for during their prolonged storage, any flat spots will usually disappear after around 25 miles of driving. Regular movement will also help to prevent cracking in the sidewall.
While vehicle owners have been granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, the law governing the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm has not been suspended.
Tread depth plays an essential role in helping a vehicle to grip the road in wet conditions. Without this crucial contact, the vehicle will be more difficult to control and its braking distances will increase. A tyre being driven below 1.6mm is illegal and, if found by the police, could earn the driver a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points – per tyre.
A 20p-piece can be used to show how close a tyre’s tread is to the legal limit. Insert the coin across the width of the tyre and around its circumference; if you can see the border of the coin, the tyre is close to the legal limit and should be checked carefully with an accurate gauge.
Even while a vehicle is off the road, motorists should pay careful attention to their tyre pressures. To keep tyres at their best, they can be temporarily inflated to the manufacturer’s maximum recommended pressure. This information, usually labelled ‘Max Press’, can be found in the form of a PSI number on the tyre’s sidewall. When the vehicle returns to regular use, the pressure should be adjusted to the recommended standard inflation.
To carry out these checks and adjust accordingly, motorists should use an accurate pressure gauge, paying attention to the need to adjust between heavy and light loads. A tyre’s correct air pressure is determined by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found in the handbook, door or fuel filler cap.
While checking and adjusting their pressures, drivers should also check that their tyre doesn’t have any lumps, cracks or objects lodged in the tread. If any of these are present, the tyre should be considered unsafe to use until checked by a professional.
If a vehicle can’t be stored in such a way that the tyres aren’t bearing its weight, motorists should completely unload it so that the tyres are, at least, carrying minimum weight. The environment in which the car is parked can also have an effect though, with the rubber compound in even stationary tyres reacting to extremes in weather and temperature.
The surface on which the vehicle is parked should be firm, reasonably level, well drained and clean. Tyres should not be left in extremely hot or cold temperatures. Similarly, they should not be left where they will be continuously exposed to direct sunlight or on heat-absorbent surfaces, such as black asphalt.
For further information on how best to maintain your tyres during lockdown, visit https://www.goodyear.eu/en_gb/consumer/learn/maintaining-your-tire.html