High-pressure washers ‘can turn a tyre into a killer’

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High-pressure car washers are putting lives at risk by making tyres susceptible to blow- outs, safety experts have warned.Jets of water from the machines can damage and degrade the tyre wall if aimed directly at it for as little as five seconds, says the industry body TyreSafe.It is concerned that a growing army of car-wash teams using the high-pressure washers in car parks and at the roadside could be putting motorists at risk.It is also urging those who may have bought one of the machines for home use to check it is not too powerful and take care when aiming the jet at tyres.Tyresafe spokesman Chris Wakley said: “We received several calls and emails from people who had experienced low tyre pressure after having their cars washed by hand car-wash teams. Our own research indicated that industrial type pressure washers can damage the sidewall of a tyre and lead to a potentially dangerous situation where a tyre could burst when it is being driven.”TyreSafe, formerly known as the Tyre Industry Council, says that a light-to-medium duty pressure washer – with a maximum pressure of 110bar or less – should be used to clean tyres.It says motorists who have bought one of the machines should check to see if it is one of the more powerful varieties and, if so, consider changing it.The group fears that many small car-wash teams may be using heavy duty equipment carelessly.There are thought to be between 5,000 and 10,000 of the two or threeman teams in operation.There has been a particular boom in the South-East, where hosepipe bans have discouraged motorists from washing their own vehicles.Mr Wakely added: “Hand car-wash teams have sprung up all over the place and in many cases they do a great job.But motorists using them should indicate to the washer that they should not get too close when cleaning tyres with these high pressure machines.”German safety group Dekra has discovered that if a washer nozzle is held close to a tyre at very high pressure, serious damage can occur in five seconds.TyreSafe noted: “Even tyres that appear normal after being subjected to a pressure washer may have microscopic perforations, which can weaken the sidewall and cause a possible blow-out.”Other contributory factors to sidewall damage include the width of the water jet and the strength of any soaps or detergents used.Strong soap can remove protective chemicals that are embedded in the sidewall, usually resulting in brown watermarks.
Source: High-pressure washers ‘can turn a tyre into a killer’ | Daily Mail Online

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