As fuel prices continue to steadily climb, the vehicle repair chain Kwik Fit has advised drivers to regularly test their car with a 20p coin to improve economy.
The company has stated that drivers should regularly insert a 20p piece into the groove of a tyre to check that the tread depth is over the legal limit of 1.6mm, the distance between the edge and outer band of the coin.
Jack Dreyer, member of the digital team at Kwik Fit, explained why drivers should regularly check the tread depth of their car’s tyres.
He said: “As your tyres are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road, it is crucial that they are in good condition for vehicle, driver, and passenger safety.
“However, drivers often don’t realise the importance of tread depth and ensuring that it is maintained. In a survey undertaken in 2020, a staggering 69 percent of drivers questioned were not aware of the legal minimum tyre tread depth for the UK!”
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As a tyre is worn out through exposure to the road, rolling resistance increases as more contact is made with the road.
This means there is more friction between the road and the tyres, meaning the vehicle’s fuel consumption can take a significant hit.
Some experts suggest that driving a car that features tyres with deep treads, along with the recommended levels of pressure, can improve fuel economy by up to 20 percent.
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Additionally, driving a car with worn tyres will affect the way the vehicle drives, losing grip far more easily when cornering at speed.
Braking can also be affected, with a study by the tyre manufacturer Continental finding that, at high speeds, a car with new tyres needed 14 metres less to stop than a car featuring tyres with the legal minimum tread.
The additional grip on the road is the equivalent of three car lengths, helping a driver to avoid shunting accidents on motorways and dual carriageways.
However, driving a car that features worn tyres can be particularly dangerous in wet weather, as the shallower treads cannot clear as much water from the roads, increasing the likelihood of aquaplaning or skidding.
Nevertheless, in any driving conditions, running a car on tyres with treads that are under the legal limits can come with serious consequences.
If a police officer pulls over a driver due to bald or worn-out tyres, they can face a £2,500 fine and three points on their licence for each tyre under the limits.
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