The cold is now starting to set in, so here’s what you need to do this winter to reduce the risk of a breakdown and make sure that you are equipped to deal with the conditions.
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Check your car
- Antifreeze – check coolant level regularly and, if required, top-up with a mixture of the correct type of antifreeze. Your garage should check concentration to ensure adequate cold temperature protection.
- Battery – the most common cause of winter breakdowns. A battery more than five years old may struggle in the cold – get it checked and replaced if necessary to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned failure.
- Fuel – keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delay.
- Lights – check and clean all lights regularly to make sure you can see and be seen clearly. Carry spare bulbs.
- Tyres – should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Consider winter tyres for improved safety. Check pressures at least every fortnight.
- Windscreen – reduce dazzle from the low sun by keeping the screen clean inside and out. Now is a good time to renew worn wiper blades.
- Screen wash – use a 50% mix of a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.
- Locks and door seals – stop doors freezing shut with a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals. A squirt of water dispersant (WD-40) in locks will help stop them freezing.
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
As of February 2015 the following tyres are the latest range of tyres supplied by Dunlop for summer & winter.
As the main summer holiday season approaches, drivers who will be towing a caravan or trailer are being encouraged to pay particular attention to their tyres before setting off. The advice is being issued by not for profit organisation TyreSafe in a bid to help road users reach their destination safely.
“The summer months are normally the peak season for towing-related incidents on our roads, many of which are tyre related,” comments Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “However, by making some thorough safety checks as part of any travel preparations, many of these needless problems can be avoided.”
Figures from the Highways Agency reveal that in 2013 nearly 5,000 towing-related incidents occurred on its roads, with almost half of these happening between July and September. As one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, the South West region saw the highest number of summer towing incidents, accounting for more than a fifth of the UK’s total.
To minimise the risk of suffering a tyre-related towing problem, drivers are being advised to make a number of key safety checks on both their caravan or trailer and their towing vehicle.
Firstly, it’s essential that tyres are correctly inflated for the applied load. Tyres that are under-inflated are much more likely to overheat and suffer from a rapid failure which can lead to loss of control of the vehicle. Furthermore, any resulting debris left on the carriageway can prove extremely hazardous for other road users.
Details of correct pressures for caravans and trailers can be found by visiting here. Drivers should also remember that, when towing, pressures on the towing vehicle may need to be adjusted accordingly. Details of this can be found in the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook.
Tyre tread depth should also be checked to ensure they exceed the UK’s legal minimum requirements of 1.6mm across the central three quarters around its entire circumference. This can be checked either with a calibrated tread depth gauge or very quickly using a 20p coin. Simply place a 20p coin in the main tread grooves of the tyre and, if the outer band of the coin is obscured, then the tyres should exceed the legal minimum. If the outer band is visible then the tyre tread depth may be low and should be inspected immediately by a tyre professional.
The final aspect drivers should pay attention to is the general condition of the tyres. Owners should look out for any signs of damage such as lumps, bulges, cuts, cracks or uneven wear. If any of these are present, the vehicle should be inspected by a tyre professional.
“When it comes to the summer, we most often think about caravans and trailer tents being towed but our useful advice should be applied equally to other towed vehicles as well,” continues Jackson. “For example, many boat and horse owners will also be hitching up their trailers and they should follow these same precautions to ensure they have a trouble-free journey.”