If we reason that, after stomping on the brake pedal with all our might, the last remaining hope of not crashing into something in front of us ultimately lies on strips of black rubber glued together then we should probably make sure that the black rubber underneath us is up to snuff. The importance of having properly maintained tyres can’t be overstated. I won’t bore you with mathematical detail but in simple terms the huge weight of your car combined with the massive downforce created through heavy braking gets severely compromised if your tyres aren’t in good condition. So how can we ensure our tyres will act as they should under heavy braking? Foremost is to make sure they’re inflated properly, always. Driving with under-inflated tyres will create uneven wear patterns on the tyre tread meaning the tyre won’t grip as effectively as it should when you hammer down on the brake pedal. You’ll screech and slide farther than you should – possibly into the car in front of you, or worse.
Note that the minimum tread depth allowed for UK roads is 1.6mm. A handy tread-depth checker is to take a 20p coin and insert it into the deepest tread groove of your tyre. If the border around the coin isn’t visible, then your tyres are ok. If you can see the border then get yourself to a reputable tyre dealer asap!
You’ve undoubtedly heard that under-inflated tyres lead to poor fuel efficiency, but why? Like tread depth, it has to do with the amount of tyre surface area that is actually touching the road. With under-inflated tyres more rubber is touching the road, meaning more resistance, that makes your car work harder to maintain its speed. If your motor is working harder, you’re using more fuel. Not only does more fuel consumed equal more visits to the petrol station and more money spent, but you’re not exactly doing the environment any favours either!
So do yourself, your passengers (loved ones?), and the environment a service and ensure you are always rolling on tyres that are in good condition and properly inflated. A great gift for any car owner is a Tyre Pressure Gauge that fits in the glove box. I found a good one on Amazon with a cool blue digital read-out that cost… £6. And if you’re still feeling generous, why not throw in a 20p coin as well??