How To Check Tyre Pressure

Motorists feeling the pinch from the New Year fuel price rise could cut their fuel bills and increase their safety on the road by making sure their tyres are correctly inflated. Hard-hit motorists have recently suffered a double price rise due to the 0.76p government fuel duty increase on both petrol and diesel, and the rise in VAT to 20% on 4th January 2011.

However, according to TyreSafe, one of the UK's leading tyre safety organisations, it needn't be all bad news for private motorists, hauliers and fleet operators because as well as smaller fuel bills, correct tyre pressures have the extra benefits of increased safety, lower CO2 emissions and longer tyre life.

TyreSafe chairman, Stuart Jackson, comments: "Reduced fuel bills are possible by simply making sure tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, so at a time when every penny counts for many motorists, just a few extra minutes taking these simple steps can pay real dividends."

Under inflated tyres cause higher fuel consumption as the tyres have an increased rolling resistance, which means that the engine has to work harder and more fuel is used, making the car less economical. Calculations from one TyreSafe member show that when tyres are under-inflated by just 20 per cent or around 6psi, 3 per cent more fuel is used.

There are also safety implications including the increased risk of suffering a blow out at high speed due to excessive heat building up in the tyre.

Stuart Jackson adds: "Vehicle safety is always paramount, but making sure tyres are correctly inflated has the very attractive benefit of reduced fuel bills, which is especially important in tough economic times. Motorists needn’t be throwing money away just by making a few straight forward tyre pressure checks."

In an extensive survey carried out by one TyreSafe member last year, more than 4,500 cars had their tyre pressures checked during a three-month period. An alarming 36 per cent were found to be driving with tyres considered to be dangerous as they were under-inflated by more than 8psi.

Motorists can get the correct tyre pressure for their car by visiting the TyreSafe website and entering their vehicle's registration details or by downloading the TyreSafe iPhone App.

How To Check Your Tyre Pressures Correctly

1. Check your tyre pressures at least once a month.
2. Tyre pressures should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer's recommended level which can be found in the vehicle handbook and on a plate which is often located inside the fuel filler cap or on the driver's door sill.
3. Check the pressure when tyres are cold (i.e. when you have travelled less than two miles).
4. If you are carrying a full load of passengers or luggage or will be towing a trailer or caravan, pressures should be increased in line with the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations.
5. Ensure a reliable and accurate gauge is used.
6. Check the pressure in all four tyres not forgetting the spare.
7. When checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a visual inspection. Remove any stone or other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts.
8. If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified specialist.

11 January 2011 Staff

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