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Avoid unwanted surprises – check your tyres this Christmas

TyreSafe, the UK’s charity dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective and illegal tyres, is urging drivers to perform vital checks on their tyres before the Christmas break to avoid disruption to their festive plans.

Drivers should regularly perform checks on their tyres throughout the year, as they are the only point of the car in direct contact with the road, to ensure they are in good condition. However, the winter months present additional challenges including heavy rain, snow, ice and high winds. Motorists should make sure they have their tyres checked before retailers close for the Christmas break.

With the AA in the UK is predicting at least 18 million motorists planning to drive to festive meetings with friends and family it is extremely important for drivers to check their tyres before hitting the roads in wintry weather and more hazardous driving conditions. With the largest number set to catch up on last minute Christmas shopping on Saturday 18 December tyre checks will reduce the risk of an incident on busy roads in the build up to the big day.

Remembering what checks to carry out is easy – just remember to A.C.T. : check the Air pressure, Condition and Tread.

Driving with air pressures below or above the recommended settings can severely compromise grip, which can cause problems particularly in icy and wet conditions. 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 you’re loading up with presents and relatives, you may need to adjust your tyre pressures accordingly.

Drivers should also check the tread depth of their tyres. The minimum legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, but if your tyres are approaching or below 2mm, is it worth considering a change ahead of wintry conditions, because the tyres’ tread not only clears water from the road but also provides some grip in ice and snow. Drivers can use a €1 coin as a guide 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.

Finally, drivers are advised to perform a thorough visual inspection on all four tyres, looking out for cuts, lumps or bulges, which could indicate internal damage and should be checked by a tyre professional. Drivers are also advised to carefully remove stones or foreign objects stuck in the tyres’ grooves.