Flat tyres are the second most common breakdown in the UK, after battery problems.
The reason for this is down to the cold winter weather. It’s the air inside your tires that supports them and when the temperature drops, so too does your PSI. This isn’t to say that your tires are leaking!
Did you know? For each 1 °C drop in ambient temperature your tyres drop an average of 0.19 PSI.
Less grip & handling
Good tire pressure is key to maintaining traction with the road. Properly inflated tyres means that there’s more rubber in contact with the road. Low pressure can cause:
- An increase in breaking distance (this can be as much as 12 metres on wet roads)
- A greater chance of aquaplaning
- An increased risk of punctures
- A greater risk of tyre wear
A drop in tyre pressure of 7.2 PSI reduces tyre lifespan by 20-30%
The lowdown on winter tires
Winter tyres are designed with specialist rubber for better grip in snow and wet conditions. They’re required by law in much of Europe, but not the UK. Essentially they’re not considered a necessity in our more moderate climate. That’s not to say they are not beneficial here. Winter tyres are designed for temperatures below 7°C, not uncommon in the UK. However for most people, there is no specific need.
Go For More Tread in Winter
It’s a good idea to have at least 3mm tread at any time of year, but particularly in winter. The law says that the minimum tread on tires in the UK should be 1.6mm, however on wet roads breaking distances can increase by as much as 44% at the minimum tread, compared to 3mm.
Bottom Line – Take Care of Your Tires!
If you’re not checking your tyre pressure every two weeks, then at least check it every month. Don’t forget to check their condition and tread at the same time. Remember that flat tyres are common in winter for a reason. Don’t let it be you that’s suffering!