Winter is soon to be upon us and, for many people it is time to put the memories of lazy Sunday drives and impulse day-trips to bed until spring. But for many others, winter is the time when the cycle or walk to work becomes positively unpleasant and it is time to get to grips with the local roads again. When it comes to tyres, Kent has good roads, but winter can make even the gentlest roads treacherous to the unwary. Make sure your tyres are winter ready by following these five tips.
1) Check Them Out
If you are one of those who do not regularly drive, make sure that you give your car a full check-up whenever you do get it out, especially in winter. Tyres can start to dry out and lose their flexibility when left unused. This is problematic enough at any time of year, but when you combine a dry and inflexible tyre with freezing air, you have a recipe for the catastrophic failure of a tyre in a very short time. If you can, take your vehicle out for a short drive every fortnight or so, just for long enough to warm up the tyres and keep them in good condition. This is good for the engine too, keeping everything ticking over nicely, so it is a win-win strategy.
2) Fit Winter Tyres
Winter tyres are designed to operate best when temperatures are below 7°C. While much of the UK is seldom cold enough, Kent does regularly experience at least three and a half months during winter (December to March) during which time winter tyres are a good bet. You can pamper your ride and give it a set of new tyres. Order tyres online in Kent at affordable prices from Dartford Tyres. Fitting the tyres for only three or four months might seem to be a waste of time, but not only will you be safer on the roads during this time, but your summer tyres will also last longer thanks to the brief rest period. Store your unused tyres in a place where they are clean and dry and not exposed to extremes of temperatures.
3) Inflate Properly
In the earlier days of motoring, it was often a good trick to reduce the tyre pressure to increase friction on slippery roads. But modern tyres are designed to work better on all road surfaces and they work best at optimum inflation. In fact, trying to drive on softer tyres than recommended can damage modern tyres.
4) Spare a Thought
Do not forget to check your spare when you are putting air in your tyres – it is easily and often forgotten! A quick visual check when you are checking the tyre pressure is all that is needed: a ten-minute job that a future you may well thank you for!
5) Legal Compliance
Make sure that your tyres are legal. If you are not sure about how much tread 1.6mm is, the 20p test is a useful measure. Simply stand a 20p coin into the deepest part of the tread: if you can see the outer band of the coin, your tread is too low and the tyre should be replaced. The same goes for any serious visible signs of damage – do not take a chance with your safety, or that of other road users.
Winter driving can be tricky, but it can also be exhilarating to get out of the house and explore nearby landscapes and historic sites. Following these tips and being careful means that you can have the best of both worlds: safety on the roads and the freedom to explore!