Driving in cold weather can be treacherous, not only because of the snow or the threat of black ice, but also because of wet weather conditions. Steering, braking and even acceleration are greatly effected in adverse weather conditions due to tyres having less grip.
When temperatures drop below a certain level, the tread compound in tyres begins to harden, which causes the issues with grip, although this is not an issue if you have your car fitted with winter tyres.
Regardless of the type of tyres on your car, it is important to keep tyres in top condition during colder months and there are some important things to check before setting off on a journey.
- Check your tread
Tyre tread should be at an absolute minimum of 1.6mm, as this is the legal limit. In an ideal world, tread in winter should be closer to 3mm to allow for maximum grip.
You can get your tyre tread checked at your local garage or purchase a tread depth gauge to do checks at home. If you don’t have a tread depth gauge yet, you can check tread quickly with the 20p test.
To do this, you place a 20p coin in the main tread channels, at various points around the tyre. If you can see any part of the outer band of the coin face, then your tread is too shallow and you should replace your tyres as soon as possible.
- Check your tyre pressure
Your tyre pressure will be stated in your car’s user manual, or you can use an online checker if you have misplaced the user manual.
Having the correct tyre pressure is important for the performance of your tyres, for vehicle safety and for prolonging the life of your tyres. Checking tyre pressure and pumping your tyres is super easy and can be done at petrol stations or with a tyre pressure gauge that you can keep in your boot.
- Check the condition of your tyres
Drivers are often so quick to check their tyre pressure, but don’t always consider the condition of their tyres.
Every week just take a few minutes before setting off to check that there are no bulges, cuts or tears on your tyres, as these can cause your tyres to underperform. Checking for stones in the tread channels should be part of these checks too, to give maximum opportunity for grip.