Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

Winter safety advice

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Winter is now firmly upon us, the temperatures have dropped and the days have got darker even earlier.

I heard an alarming fact on the radio this morning that in the last 12months, 2918 deaths or serious injuries occurred on UK roads in wet weather.

At this time of year vehicle maintenance is more vital than ever.

I have already mentioned that the days are getting darker earlier, when was the last time you checked that your lights were working properly? Darker evenings, maybe a bit of fog/mist/rain thrown in too can mean that all of a sudden visibility is very poor indeed, and not just what the driver can see ahead of them, you need to be visible to other road users too!


If you haven’t checked your lights for a while then do so ASAP, get someone to walk around the car checking that headlights, both dipped and full beam are working, sidelights, fog and brake lights and indicators should all be checked. If you can’t find someone to help you can check most of these yourself by parking in front of a reasonably reflective surface such as a wall or garage door and check. Or, you could of course just pop into any TyreFinders branch and have them checked free of charge!

Washer fluid

With temperatures dropping, there are other items that need special attention, such as your windscreen washer fluid, not only should this be topped up, but consider topping it up with washer fluid that contains anti-freezing properties. Washer fluid is of no use to any one if its frozen solid!

Anti-freeze and coolant

Also, make sure that your vehicles anti-freeze/coolant is looking not only topped, but a nice healthy coulor (usually blue or red depending on manufacturer), this should only ever be checked and topped up whilst the engine is cool-never when hot!


This time of year, a failed battery is the number 1 cause for call outs by the RAC/AA etc. so it is well worth having your battery checked, especially if it is nearing 5 years old or more. Not many people would have the correct equipment at home to properly check he condition of a car battery but again, TyreFinders will happily inspect your battery for you free of charge.

Tyres probably have the hardest life over the winter months, so make sure you look after them properly, and they will look after you!

Winter tyres

Many people these days like to switch to winter tyres for the period between October and up to maybe march, winter tyres are made with a special compound that doesn’t go hard and potentially lose grip when the temperatures start to fall below 7 degrees. They also usually have a special tread design with lots of grooves or sipes to help give extra traction in snowy conditions. (it’s worth noting here that no tyre will give you any grip on ice, not even designated winter tyres)!

Tyre pressure

It’s also really important, as it is at any time of year to make sure that your tyre pressures are correct, if you are planning a long journey with maybe a heavier load than normal than be sure to increase the pressures slightly. Your vehicle usually has the correct tyre pressure settings in the handbook or on a sticker on the fuel cap/door panel.

Tyre tread

With more rain falling this time of year special attention should be paid to your tyre treads, a tyre with 3mm of tread remaining, whilst still perfectly legal in this country just won’t be able to disperse water as well as a tyre with fresh tread on so it may be worth considering changing your tyres slightly earlier than you usually would if they are getting close to or below 3mm.

Long journeys

Lastly, over the Christmas holidays families all over the country are making trips to see loved ones so it might worth after checking your vehicle is winter ready following the advice above, consider what items you take in the car with you just in case of a breakdown!

  • Ice scraper and de-icer
  • A torch with spare batteries, or even better-a wind up torch
  • Warm clothes and blankets-enough for yourself and your passengers
  • Boots
  • A first aid kit
  • Jump start cables
  • Some food and a warm drink in a thermos flask
  • A shovel
  • A reflective warning sign
  • A road atlas, (sat-navs and mobile phones are great for this-but only when they have battery and coverage!
  • Sunglasses-the glare off the snow when driving can really be dazzling
  • Mobile phone chargers

Get a free safety check

Hopefully the above tips will keep you safe over the winter months, and don’t forget, any TyreFinders branch will happily check any of the items we have mentioned here, or you could book yourself in for a free winter check.

By looking after your tyres, they in turn look after you

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For this months blog I am just going to ramble on a bit about tyres, how important they are in the modern world and also about how important it is to look after your tyres so they will in turn look after you.

Tyres are often perceived as a consumable item, those black and round things that we have to replace every year or so, but tyres are in fact a feat of exceptional modern engineering, and they also play a vital part in us living the lives we do today.

Tyres and… chips…

Take a look at the humble potato–pretty much a staple item in our diets every day, whether enjoying them in a Sunday roast or a treat of a fish and chip supper, the potato wouldn’t be on your plate if it wasn’t for the role that tyres play in getting them there. From when the farmer prepares his fields in early spring to the time they are ready for harvesting the equipment he uses is predominantly pulled around the field using a tractor which has big tyres on it with treads that are specially designed to be able to pull the equipment around with out causing damage to the field.

When the potatoes are ready for delivery to the farmers markets or supermarkets they would usually be transported there in trucks, these trucks of course also have big tyres fitted to them, usually with slightly different tyres on the steering axle compared to the tyres on the driven axle to make sure the truck handles properly on its journey.

When loading and unloading at the supermarket, more often than not a forklift truck will be used, these forklifts also rely on tyres to keep it moving, these tyres can either be pneumatic (filled with air) or in some cases solid-literally solid rubber tyres with no air in at all.

Now lets look at the trip the customer makes to the super market, load the kids into the car (or jump on the bus) and it’s the tyres that are relied on to roll the car down the road to the shops. Once at the shops its time to get the kids out of the car and put baby in the pram, and you’ve probably guessed by know that this pram probably has tyres on it, more often than not these tyres are pneumatic-air filled- just like the tyres on the tractor, truck or car/bus that has got us to this point!

If your shopping trips are anything like mine, they usually involve the kids asking if they have got enough birthday money or pocket money left to buy the little lego car they have seen in the toy section, this little lego car of course has 4 little round and black tyres on it!

In fact, in terms of units produced annually, Lego is the biggest tyre manufacturer on the planet!

Types of Tyres

As you can see, tyres play a vital part in our lives and indeed the economy, allowing business to transport their goods and deliver their services.

Safety and performance

Good tyre maintenance is absolutely critical in making sure that tyres perform to their best and get whatever vehicle they are fitted to their end destination or to carry out their role safely. The following tyre care tips are aimed mostly at car, van and 4×4 drivers but are also relevant to farmers and truck operators etc.

Tyre Care Tips

1. Check pressures

The most basic but probably the most important tyre maintenance job is simply to check the tyre pressures, this is a job that ideally should be done once every 2 weeks, using an accurate gauge and always setting to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. At any point, a car tyre only has a contact patch with the road surface that is roughly the same size as the palm of an adult hand, if the tyre pressure is incorrect, this contact patch reduces, ultimately resulting in a loss of grip.

In some cases with tyres that are dangerously underinflated, the tyre can build up a lot of heat which can accelerate the wear of the tyre and also in extreme case cause a sudden and total deflation of the tyre.

Tyre valves and dust caps play an important role in keeping air in the tyres, missing caps should be replaced straight away, and any damaged or perished valves replaced.

2. Visual Tyre Check

It is also important just to simply have a visual check of the tyre, any cuts or lumps/bulges in the sidewall should be inspected by a professional immediately, its all to easy to drive through a pot hole or scrape a kerb whilst parking and cause damage to a tyre.

3. Vehicle maintenance

Keeping your vehicle in good mechanical shape can also help keep tyres in top condition, a car with slightly worn bushes, bearings or suspension for example can quite quickly cause rapid tyre wear and have a negative effect on the vehicles handling.

Regular alignment checks are also important, an incorrectly aligned vehicle will have an adverse effect on road handling and even fuel economy.

TyreFinders Free 10 Point Safety Check

Call, email, or simply drop into any TyreFinders garage and we will happily carry out a free 10 point safety check. This includes tyres (of course), plus wear/condition of exhausts and consumable levels:

  • Tyre Tread/condition
  • Tyre Pressures
  • Lights
  • Windscreen Wipers
  • Horn
  • Oil
  • Water/Anti-freeze
  • Screen Wash
  • Exhaust
  • Visual check underneath vehicle

Pot Holes – how they damage tyres

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Pot hole

Pot holes, unfortunately they are a common problem with a majority of the roads we commute on each and every day, a problem that’s made worse by bad spells of weather and a problem that’s not always fixed as often or as quickly as we would like due to local councils being affected by spending cuts from the Government and simply not having enough cash to fix road damage as and when it happens.

Rise in defects

We have seen a steep rise over the last couple of years in the amount of vehicles that have been presented to us with defects or damage that has been either directly or indirectly caused by pot holes. Sometimes this damage can be very minor, maybe only a superficial scuff on a tyre side wall, but more often than not the damage can prove to be much more serious and even dangerous for the driver and his/hers occupants or other road users. And that’s not to mention the costly repair bill that usually comes with it all!

Side wall damage

Tyre wall bubble damage from pot holeThe most common problem after hitting a pot hole is usually sidewall damage, as the tyre goes in and then comes out of the damaged road surface, the sidewall of the tyre can pinch itself together, this in turn causes a separation of the internal structure of the tyre and will usually present itself as a bulge or egg shape in the sidewall. Usually, this will result in some vibration felt through the steering wheel or through the chassis of the vehicle when driving, but not always so it is very important to have a visual examination of the tyre carried out after any sort of impact or after driving through a pot hole.

If you hit a pot hole, examine your tyres

If left unattended, a bulge of this type could result in a sudden deflation of the tyre, usually when the vehicle is travelling at speed and the tyre is heated through use. This can obviously have disastrous consequences for those involved.

Potential wheel cracks can easily be missed on visual examination

Another common problem we see after impact with pot holes is that of wheel damage. With many vehicles on the road having low profile sidewalls or run flat tyres fitted where the sidewall is very heavily reinforced, the shock of the impact travels through the tyre and can cause a crack in the wheel itself. This may not always be visible after a visual examination of the tyre as sometimes the tyre can come away unscathed, but this crack will slowly release the pressure from tyre and then we get back to the problem of the tyre suffering a sudden deflation or even possible total wheel failure, again with potentially disastrous consequences.

The only way to be sure that the wheel has not suffered this type of damage is to have the wheel and tyre assembly removed by a specialist to be properly examined, with the options if damage is found to either replace the wheel, (most alloy wheels can cost from £200 upwards depending on size and manufacturer) or in some cases the wheel can be repaired by a specialist wheel repairer which is much cheaper but not always possible depending on the severity of the damage.

Suspension damage

The next items to suffer damage after pot hole collision is usually the vehicles suspension. All too often we see bent or damaged track rod ends, (which are the ball joints and metal bars that connect the cars steering to the wheels), broken coils springs (springs sit at each corner of the vehicle and carry the vehicles weight) and broken or bent suspension wish bones. Again, all of these problems often come with a costly repair bill!

Wheel alignment out

Even if after collision with a pothole you have managed to avoid all of the above scenarios, there is still the danger of the vehicles wheel alignment been knocked out. This isn’t something that can always be spotted just by looking at the vehicle, and it is not something that you would always notice when driving the vehicle (although common symptoms of the alignment being incorrect include the vehicle pulling to one side or the steering wheel not being straight when the vehicle is travelling in a straight line).

Misaligned tyres can wear out much quicker than they should, and can also have a detrimental effect on road handling and fuel economy so it’s always wise to have a specialist check the alignment after any form of impact, even if the vehicle feels ok to drive.

Tyre inspection tips for after a pot hole impact

After any form of tyre impact it is always best to firstly carry out a visual check on the tyre, (remember that any damage wont necessarily just be on the outside of the tyre – the inner sidewall could also be damaged), be very aware of how the vehicle drives after the impact, listen out for any noises that were not present before and see if the vehicle handles differently. Also, keep a close eye on the tyre pressure, any drop in pressure should be checked out as soon as possible.

If after checking all of these items something is found to be not quite right, it is always best to let a professional check the vehicle over.

Any TyreFinders branch will happily inspect your vehicle after hitting a pot hole/road damage. To properly inspect the vehicles tyres, suspension and wheel alignment after an impact doesn’t take long at all and will not cost much but could potentially save you a lot of money and even prevent an accident.