Check your tyres before you go on holiday
In order to set off on your holiday with peace of mind, you have to check a certain number of components on your car before your departure.
On the same topic
More then half of all Europeans take their car for their summer holidays, and among them, half of them travel more then 1000 km (around 620 miles), which usually is the longest journey of the year. This is revealed in a study made in may 2011 by the APCO Insight instate for the Goodyear-Dunlop Europe-group about drivers behaviour in 15 European countries. Taking into account the impact on security as well as the fuel consumption, including the CO2 emissions, that tyres has, it's essential to verify that they are well inflated and that they are in good condition before hitting the road.
The check-list of a responsible driver
The first point to check is the wear on your car tyres. To do so, a quick glance is not enough.
• You need to ensure that the tread has not reached the wear indicator and that the sidewalls are not showing any cuts or deformations.
• By passing your hand over the surface of the tyre, check that there is no abnormal wear.
• Setting off on holidays is an ideal opportunity to switch your front and rear tyres so that they wear more evenly.
>> More information about tyre pressure
> Tyre pressure
After checking the condition of your tyres, you need to ensure that they are correctly inflated. A survey from may 2013 by Bridgestone, showed that eight European drivers in ten drive on under-inflated tyres. This is worrying when you know that a severely under-inflated tyre can burst at high speed, especially on the motorway.
Moreover, if tyre pressure is too low it will cause premature wear and higher fuel consumption.
Finally, when the car is heavily loaded – frequently the case for holiday trips – it is recommended to add 0.2 to 0.3 bars of pressure to prevent crushing of the tyre.
>> More information about tyre pressure
> Spare wheel
Although punctures are increasingly rare (once every 75 000 km, according to Michelin), it is essential to check that your spare wheel is in good driving condition and that you have the necessary tools to replace a damaged tyre.
If your car does not have a spare tyre, but instead a puncture-repair inflator, ensure that the expiry date is still valid.
In addition, you may be entitled to assistance in the event of a puncture (included in your car insurance or taken out when you bought your tyres). In this case, don't forget to put the emergency telephone number to call with your car papers.
>> More information about the spare tyre
> Other points to check
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Once you have checked the tyres, you can move on to the car's other important components: brakes, engine, windscreen wipers, lights, etc.
• Engine oil: visual check using the gauge.
• Coolant: visual check on the tank (with the engine cold).
• Brake fluid: visual check on the tank.
• Power steering fluid: visual check on the tank.
• Windscreen washer liquid: visual check on the tank.
Lights. They should be clean and in good condition. Check all lights and the indicators.
Windscreen wipers. Check that the rubber is still flexible and also that there are no impacts on the windscreen which could weaken it.
If you have a caravan or a trailer, here are some advice and recommendations to follow to avoid a tyre blow-out, which is always dangerous, especially on the motorway.
• Respect the maximum speed and load indications recommended by the manufacturer of the caravan or trailer.
• It is recommended to use reinforced tyres if you are driving for long distances at the limit of the load capacity.
• The reference inflation pressure is usually 2.5 bars for a standard tyre and 3 bars for a reinforced tyre. This should be increased by 0.5 bars for heavy loads. Or 3 bars for a standard tyre and 3.5 bars for a reinforced tyre.
• Even if they are relatively unused, caravan or trailer tyres should not be used for more than 5 seasons. Indeed, the tyres will tend to deform during long periods of parking. If they show small cracks near the rim, don't hesitate to change them.
As well as the precautions issued by Road safety prior to the holiday season, remember that the summer is a period that may be subject to thunderstorms. Heavy rain falling on roads where there is an accumulation of grease can at the very least increase braking distances, and at the worst, lead to aquaplaning and loss of control of the vehicle.
Hence, reduce your speed if you are caught in a thunderstorm, or take the opportunity to pull over into the nearest lay-by.
Articles in the same header
- Heat wave: safety tips for your tyres
- After how many years should tyres be changed?
- How to measure tyre wear
- Spare wheel: don't forget the fifth wheel on the wagon!
- How to identify abnormal wear
- Switch your tyres around at least once a year
- Changing tyres: what's forbidden, what's recommended
- When do I change my tyres?
- Tyre pressure: to be checked once a month
- Tyre balancing and alignment