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Tips for driving to university

Kwik Fit | Thursday 19th September 2019 4:18pm

Man in car

With many students heading back to university for freshers, itís important to make sure that your vehicle is able to get you back to university safely. Vehicle maintenance is important before any journey. Before going back to university or embarking on any long journey, itís important to carry out a few checks on your vehicle to ensure that you reach your destination safely. From checking your fluid levels to checking your tyres. There are a few easy checks that you can carry out before you set off.

Preparing for your journey

Research by Highways England suggests that 6 in 10 students will drive to university with an overloaded car and 7 in 10 students will drive tired. When loading your car, there are a few things you can do to make your drive easier and safer. Making sure that your heavy luggage is secure so that it canít move during the drive will minimise any potential distractions to you on your journey. You should then put the lighter luggage on top. Ensure that this is secure and that you can see out of all mirrors and windows. Before setting off, itís important to also double check that the weight your vehicle will be carrying doesnít exceed the capacity stated in your vehicle handbook. It is also important to make sure that you are alert behind the wheel so if you feel tired during the journey, make sure to take a break.

Vehicle checks:

According to Highways England data, about one quarter of breakdowns are caused by punctures or other issues to do with tyres. Minimise the chances of this happening to you by completing these tyre safety checks before your journey.

Tyre tread depth

Not only are tyres with insufficient tread depth unsafe but they are also illegal. Before setting off, make sure that you wonít be met with any nasty surprises by checking your tread depth first. If you havenít got a tread depth gauge, you can use a 20p piece to check your tread. This is simple to do. Place a 20p coin along different points on your tread. If you can see the coinís oute band, then your tyre is likely to be below the legal limit of 1.6mm of tread depth.

Tyre wear

Tyre wear gradually occurs over time leading to reduced grip on the roads. The wear wonít necessarily be even across the whole of your tyre tread. If your tyres arenít aligned correctly, this will affect which parts of your tyre wear down more quickly than others. This means that your tyres may need replacing more quickly than they would have done if they were correctly aligned.

Tyre pressures

You can find the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle inside the driver door or the fuel cap. If youíre driving back to university, you will probably be adding lots of weight to your vehicle. Recommended tyre pressures are different for a laden vehicle so you should check what pressures your tyres should be at when laden.

The correct pressures also help to ensure that your tyres wear as evenly a possible. If theyíre over or under inflated, this will cause uneven tyre wear. Under inflated tyres can put unnecessary stress on your tyres, particularly on the outer edges. As a result of this, your tyres will wear down faster than necessary. Also, you will be using up additional fuel unnecessarily as more power is needed to turn under inflated tyres. Over inflated tyres also cause issues. The tyre makes more contact with the centre of the road which causes more wear to that area of the tyre and gives you less grip on the roads. Most vehicles now are fitted with Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems but you can also check your pressures yourself with a pressure gauge. These can be found at a local petrol station and you can remove or add air where necessary.

Carrying out these simple checks before driving to university mean that you can relax knowing that your car is in the best possible condition to get you from home to freshersí week.

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