Anyone who has ever broken down will recognise that awful sinking feeling you get when your car comes to a stop. You can feel so helpless and frustrated, but it must be even worse when you know it could have been prevented. According to the AA, flat tyres are the second most common reason for calling a breakdown service, and while some punctures are unavoidable, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the risk of ending up stranded with a flat tyre. We’ve teamed up with Point S, a nationwide network of car tyre dealers, to bring you some top tips.
I haven’t had a punctured tyre but my car has broken down before. The first time, about 7 years ago, my car completely cut out while at a roundabout, blocking traffic and leaving me stood in the pouring rain. The most recent time was a couple of months ago, when my engine started spluttering on the way to work and I had to wait for over 2 hours in the freezing cold. It’s a horrible feeling!
I have to admit, I’m pretty rubbish when it comes to cars – I know how to check my tyre tread and pressure but I tend to leave it up to the other half most of the time! But it is so important to know how to carry out basic maintenance. Not only is it illegal to drive with tyres below adequate tread or pressure (you could end up with a hefty fine and points on your license) it can also be incredibly dangerous. It can increase braking distances and reduce grip on wet roads. Safety is the most important factor and we all want to be sure that we are being safe, especially when we are responsible for driving around our loved ones.
Here’s a few tips to help you stay safe and stay moving:
- Regularly check the air pressure in your tyres, even if they don’t look flat. Most fuel stations have air pressure facilities, or you could use a foot pump with a pressure gauge.
- Make sure you know the correct pressure for your tyres by checking your vehicle’s user manual or the inside of the car door. Sometimes front and rear tyres require different levels of inflation, so always check. The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres.
- If your tyre needs inflated and you have to drive to access a pump, reduce your speed to make sure you have control over your car.
- If your tyre is completely flat, then find a safe, level location away from traffic. If you have spare and are able to, you can change the tyre yourself. The Point S website features some tips on how to change a flat tyre.
- If you don’t have a spare or are unable to change the tyre, then you will need to call a garage or breakdown service. I know what I would prefer – I don’t think I would attempt to change a tyre myself but it’s always good to know how to do it, just in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to. You should never try to change a tyre on the motorway or at the side of a busy road.
- When fitting a spare tyre to your car, check if there are any limits – some spares have a top speed limit or can only be used for a certain number of miles.
- If you need new car tyres – if yours continue to deflate or the tread is low – then check out www.point-s.co.uk, who can offer you a range of tyre manufacturers and fit them for you properly.
- It’s a good idea to keep the following in your car – a torch, a reflective jacket, a blanket and warm clothing (during winter), water and snacks in case you are stranded for a while, a first aid kit and an in-car phone charger so you don’t run out of battery if you need to call for assistance.
*This is a collaborative post in partnership with Point S.*
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