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How To Ensure That Your Vehicle's Tyres Are Safe

As Summer draws to a close and we enter October, TCH Leasing would like to highlight the importance of Tyre Safety Month with some helpful tips to keep your tyres in their best condition.

What does Tyre Safety Month involve?

Commencing in 2010 and celebrated annually in October, Tyre Safety Month is an initiative by TyreSafe aimed at underscoring the importance of maintaining your tyres adequately. This campaign raises awareness about the risks associated with damaged, excessively worn, or inadequately inflated tyres.

Established in 2006, TyreSafe has made notable progress in reducing fatalities and severe injuries resulting from accidents caused by suboptimal tyre conditions, achieving an impressive 46% reduction.

Tyre Tread Depth

The role of tyre treads is to maintain adequate traction between your tyre and the road, especially in wet weather. Therefore, it's crucial to regularly check and manage your tyre tread depth. Fortunately, you can easily measure the tread depth using a common item like a 20p coin!

To measure, simply insert a 20p coin into the principal tread grooves of your tyres. If the outer edge of the coin is fully concealed by the tread, then your tyre's tread depth meets the legal requirements.

Understanding Tyre Codes

Every tyre features alphanumeric codes on its sidewalls, and it's essential to comprehend these codes for proper tyre usage and for ease of replacement.

Tyre Width and Aspect Ratio

The initial code represents the tyre width and aspect ratio, typically seen as a format like 205/55. Here, the 205 denotes the nominal section width of the tyre in millimetres, indicating that the tyre is 205mm wide. The 55 represents a percentage, illustrating the height of the tyre as 55% of its width, measured from the top of the tread to the rim.

Construction Type and Wheel Diameter

Following the width and aspect ratio, you'll usually find a code starting with the letter R followed by two digits. The R signifies a radial construction type, where cord piles are angled at 90 degrees to the direction of travel, enhancing strength. Most modern tyres are radial. The two subsequent digits denote the wheel diameter the tyre is designed to fit, specified in inches. For example, a "16" indicates that the tyre fits a 16-inch wheel rim.

Maximum Load and Speed Rating

The last part of the code indicates the maximum load and speed of the tyre. For instance, a code like "91 V" means the maximum load capacity of a single tyre is 91kg, and the V denotes the standard speed rating, indicating the maximum speed the tyre can handle while carrying its maximum load.

How to Replace a Flat Tyre

Dealing with a pesky flat tyre is an unfortunate experience we've all encountered. That's precisely why we've put together this useful step-by-step guide on swapping out a car tyre to swiftly get you back on the road.

Ensure You Have the Necessary Equipment

  • Spare wheel

  • Vehicle manual

  • Car jack

  • Wrench

1. Prepare Your Car for Tyre Replacement

  • Turn off the engine

  • Evacuate all occupants from the vehicle to a safe location away from potential traffic

  • Activate the hazard lights

  • Apply the handbrake

  • Collect all required tools from the vehicle, including the spare wheel

2. Loosen the Wheel Nuts

  • Before lifting the car with the jack, confirm that you can loosen the wheel nuts or bolts. If they're too tight for self-loosening, seek breakdown assistance

  • If your car uses locking wheel nuts, initiate with the locking key

  • Use the wrench to start loosening the bolts by turning them counterclockwise

  • Loosen the nuts slightly, ensuring they can be moved

3. Elevate the Vehicle with the Jack

  • Identify the jacking point closest to the wheel you're replacing, typically marked with an arrow or indicator

  • Extend the jack and position it into the jacking point, ensuring the flat base of the jack makes stable contact with the ground

  • Carefully raise the jack until the entire wheel is off the ground

  • Continue lifting the car to a height sufficient for fitting the new fully inflated tyre, which will be higher than the flat one

4. Remove the Punctured Wheel

  • Completely undo the nuts and bolts, placing them safely aside

  • Lift the wheel away from the hub to which it's attached

  • If you encounter difficulty in removing the wheel, seek assistance to avoid injury or vehicle damage

5. Install the Spare Wheel

  • Slide the spare wheel into the same position as the old one

  • Once in place, utilise the previously removed nuts to securely fasten the wheel

  • Use the jack to lower the car back to ground level

  • After the car makes contact with the ground, ensure all nuts are tightly secured before removing the jack

Once you've successfully fitted the spare wheel, prioritise a visit to your garage to have it replaced promptly. Temporary use tyres permit traveling at speeds of up to 50mph.

Winter Tyres

The winter season can pose challenges for numerous vehicles, highlighting the necessity of preparing your car for the colder months.

Winter tyres offer significant advantages owing to their improved grip and traction in lower temperatures. These tyres boast deeper treads, narrower cuts, and a softer composition, facilitating better handling of snow on the roads and enhancing surface contact.

Although not a legal requirement in the UK, transitioning from summer tyres to winter tyres as the temperature decreases is advisable, especially for those residing in rural areas prone to encountering snowy conditions.

The cost of winter tyres varies depending on the vehicle and wheel dimensions. While they come at a slightly higher price than summer tyres, the long-term benefits encompass prolonged longevity of your summer tyres through seasonal switches, leading to overall cost savings.


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