| Monday 20th August 2018 10:05am
While the promise of autumn breezes, leaves changing colours, and an extra hour in bed thanks to the clocks going back is enough to get anyone excited, a new season also means a whole different environment to drive in.
As lovely as a colourful autumn drive can be, a change in environment, especially to a colder one, can mean an increased risk while driving if your car isnít fully up to scratch. The Department of Transport reported that the number of road traffic accidents in October is approximately 21% higher than the figures found in August, so itís important your car is up to scratch - especially in the tyre department.
Donít fret though, as our guide on the top 5 checks your car needs this autumn is here to help you get through the autumn season safely.
1. Tread Depth
One of the most important aspects of your tyre is the tread depth. These are important as they disperse water from the road to enable your vehicle to maintain grip. This is particularly important in the wet weather conditions that are more prominent in Autumn. Not only are conditions more likely to be wet but youíve also got the issue of wet leaves all over the place too.
When you purchase a set of premium tyres, they come with 8mm of tread depth. However, these treads wear down over time and if they become too low they become not only dangerous but also illegal.
Even though the UK legal minimum is 1.6mm, we recommend that your tyres have at least 3 mm of tread depth. This is because tread depths lower than 3mm can increase your stopping distance by up to two extra car lengths, which can be a massive help when driving your car this autumn.
Many premium tyre manufacturers, such as Continental, include additional tread wear indicators on their tyres. These alert the driver when the tread depth falls below 3mm. This is part of their Vision Zero global safety initiative. The aim of this initiative is to achieve zero fatalities, zero injuries and zero accidents. If your tread is lower than 3mm, itís time to replace your tyres to ensure that your vehicle is safe.
2. Underinflated tyres
Another important check you should do on your car in Autumn is to check its tyre pressure.
Not having the right pressure in your carís tyres can significantly impact the performance of your tyres. If your tyres are underinflated, thereís a greater chance of uneven tyre wear. This is because underinflated tyres can cause bulges to show in the tyre which lifts the central area of the tyre away from the road. This will reduce your vehicleís grip on the road, which is something youíll want to avoid in the more wet and slippery autumn weather.
Underinflated tyres can also cost you more money. The fact that your tyre is misshapen means that it will make contact with the road in places where it shouldnít. This unnecessary friction means that more fuel is needed to turn the wheels causing higher fuel bills too!
3. Overinflated tyres
Overinflated tyres also come with their own issues in the form of uneven tyre wear. Overinflated tyres become pointed in the centre so this area makes the most contact with the road. Increased wear in this area leads to longer stopping distances, which is something youíll want to avoid in the longer and darker evenings that Autumn brings.
Thereís also a greater possibility of sustaining a tyre blowout or a puncture as overinflated tyres are too rigid to absorb shocks. This means youíre more at risk of losing control of your vehicle. For all these reasons, make sure to find the time to check your pressures as part of your autumn car check.
4. Tyre damage checks
It is important to regularly check the condition of your tyres for visual damage. Maintaining the correct tyre pressures will reduce the chances of tyre blowouts and punctures. Sharp objects, such as metal and glass, can often be found on road surfaces all year round, meaning Autumn is no exception. While smaller bits are unlikely to damage your tyre, itís important to spot any visual damage early to prevent any more serious issues from arising later down the line. If youíre not sure how to check your tyres yourself, a tyre check is included in an MOT with us at Kwik Fit.
5. Checking for punctures
Youíll also want to check for any punctures in your tyres, as these can cause a whole host of problems if they arenít addressed! Some changes in your carís behaviour, such as a vibrating steering wheel and your vehicle pulling while on a flat road, are sure signs that a tyre or two has a puncture. Smaller punctures can be more difficult to spot though, so be sure to look over your tyres thoroughly before heading out this Autumn!
Choosing the right tyres this Autumn
You might even find that a change in season is the perfect time to reconsider what tyres are the best for your vehicle.
The type of car you drive, your driving style and how often you drive all have an impact on which tyres are best for you. For example, if you drive on the motorway often, you may wish to purchase tyres that offer greater fuel economy and a more comfortable journey. However, if you predominantly use your car for short trips, then your priorities may be different. For example, you may be more interested in the safety features of your tyres.
To ensure your car is Autumn ready, why not book yourself one of our very own MOTs? With tyre safety checks as standard, you can be sure youíre ready to hit the road with peace of mind youíre ready to face whatever the classic British autumn weather may throw.
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