Bringing vehicles out of storage in the spring months should prompt owners to perform essential tyre checks, urges UK charity TyreSafe. Tyres of vehicles parked or stored for any extended period of time may suffer more rapid deterioration when not in use, especially when exposed to the elements or if they have been supporting the vehicle’s weight.
The timely warning comes as spring approaches, the most popular time to bring all manner of vehicles out of storage and back on the road. Whether you’re a classic car owner, motorbike enthusiast, keen caravanner, motor home traveller, or festival catering specialist, your tyres are the most important part of your vehicle because they are the only part that actually touches the road.
TyreSafe advises owners to begin their visual checks by looking for any signs of damage on the tyres. Damage can include things such as lumps, bumps or cuts, as well as general deterioration, most commonly seen as cracking in the tyre’ sidewall. Also look for any objects which might be caught in the tread pattern, which should be removed with a blunt tool if possible. It’s important to remember, a tyre can be damaged even when brand new, so these checks should be carried out regularly, and certainly if you suspect you’ve run over a pothole or through road debris.
Over time, tyres will also slowly deflate so it’s essential pressures are checked. Check the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook, a plaque on the bodywork, the fuel filler cap or door shut to find the correct settings. If you can’t access those pressures from the manufacturer, TyreSafe.org has a tyre pressure look-up and two unique pressure calculators; one for caravans and another for motorhomes under the ‘Check Your Pressures’ section on the website, both of which are accessible from mobile devices.
All tyres fitted to cars, trailers, caravans and motorhomes below 3.5 tonnes should have a tread depth of at least the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm across the central ¾ of each tyre’s width and its entire circumference. Ideally, an accurate tread depth gauge should be used to check but if this is not available then a 20p piece may be used as a guide. Insert the 20p into the main tread and at various points around the circumference – should you see the outer rim at any point, you need to have the tread depth checked as it may be illegal.
Two TyreSafe videos, Caravan tyre safety and Tyre checks for vehicles coming out of storageboth guide owners through the checks they can carry out themselves, before setting off on a tour. TyreSafe recommends that in addition to initial checks, all owners consciously check their tyres once a month, to ensure that the overall condition of their tyres hasn’t changed. Particular care should be taken to carry out a thorough and regular visual inspection.
Stuart Jackson, Chairman of TyreSafe, said: “The excitement of bringing a favourite vehicle or holiday home out of storage should not obscure the urgent need to make sure that the vehicle is roadworthy. Tyres need to be checked regularly and bringing them out of storage should prompt a thorough series of visual checks especially the tyres’ overall condition and air pressures. TyreSafe has all the resources owners need to carry out these essential tyre maintenance checks themselves, however, if they’re not confident in doing so their local tyre retailers and garages should provide professional advice and assistance.”
All videos, leaflets and other digital materials are available to download and you can also find our caravan and motorhome pressure calculators at tyresafe.org