The festive season is all fun and games; it’s the perfect time for catching up on quality time with your nearest and dearest but it is also often extremely expensive. With a constant stream of guests, fridges to fill, parties to attend and presents to buy, your spends can really start to rack up so it’s even more important than ever to do everything you can to avoid any unforeseen financial surprises. One of the biggest culprits for curtailing your seasonal spirit is car troubles, especially during the chilly months.
It might seem obvious but one of the best ways to avoid having to cough up for expensive car maintenance procedures is to prevent them in the first place. Some issues and mechanical failures are totally out of your hands, particularly if your vehicle is fairly old or well used. However, there are a number of safety checks you can do yourself on a regular basis which can head off any unnecessary accidents or car performance problems. The perfect place to start is with the four wheels that carry you from A to B.
Making sure your tyres are in tip top condition
Did you know that the law requires you to have at least 1.6mm of tread on every tyre? When was the last time your tested your treads? Cold weather makes the ground beneath your wheels far more precarious so now is the perfect time to get on top of your tyre maintenance.
If you do think your tyres are what those in the know might describe as ‘bald’ then it’s paramount that you get them replaced as soon as possible. Places like www.tyreplus.co.uk can provide you with plenty of information on how best to go about this. While this might seem like a crushing expense at this time of year, it will save you a lot of money in the long run if you choose not to tend to the issue.
Tyres with insufficient tread have reduced grip on wet, icy roads which means you could be putting yourself at risk of a road accident that could potentially cost you thousands of pounds or even your life. Plus if you are found to be driving around with tyre tread below the legal limit, you could be looking at a £2,500 fine and 3 points per tyre. If all four tyres are below the legal requirements, you could be looking at a £10,000 penalty and a revoked driving license.
As well as making sure your tyres have the adequate amount of tread to avoid unnecessary accidents or costly fines, it’s also vital to ensure that your wheels are pumped up with enough air pressure. Tyres that haven’t been sufficiently inflated cause the driver of the vehicle to suffer reduced control and handling, particularly when driving on slippery surfaces and/or at high speeds.
Checking your tyre air pressure is quick, easy and usually free at any petrol station so taking a few minutes out of your time is definitely worth it. Doing so will increase the lifespan of your tyres and reduce the risk of any expensive repairs or avoidable accidents.
While factors such as tyre tread depth and air pressure might seem minor, it is essential that you bring these safety checks to the top of your priority list as the colder months start to set in. Harsher weather conditions, icy roads, snow and fewer hours of daylight require you to take extra precautions and adapt your driving technique to the seasonal conditions. What might seem like a small problem could quite quickly escalate to a fatal accident.
If you have any tips or advice of your own that you’d like to share on car maintenance, come and join the conversation over on Twitter using the hashtag #TestYourTreads.