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Tread carefully as we head for poor weather.

WITH the summer weather beginning to be just a memory and the threat of autumn on the way, it won't be long before temperatures begin to drop and conditions on our roads take a turn for the worse.

However, many drivers are guilty of waiting too long to carry out the proper checks to ensure their vehicle is ready to cope with the worst the British weather has to offer.

But the message being sent out this week by Kwik-Fit, the UK's leading automotive parts repair and replacement specialists, is not to wait until it is too late before checking that your car's vital components are in good repair.

And that warning is especially important when it comes to tyres - the only part of the car which actually comes into contact with the road surface. As road conditions worsen as we head into the winter, it is vital that any vehicle's tyres are able to cope with the added pressure.

Kwik-Fit's tyre experts advise drivers to check their tread depth before taking long journeys in the car, as neglected tyres can be a major contributory factor in accidents on our roads.

New tyres typically have a tread depth of 8mm, measured from the lowest point of a groove to the tyre tread surface. It is up to the motorist to decide whether tyres should be replaced when they are between 1.6mm and 3mm. However, the law also states that the grooves of the tread pattern must be at least 1.6mm deep over the central three-quarters of the tyre tread in a continuous band around the tyre.

To put that in context, the only contact your car has with the road, ie its tyres, is a small area the size of the span of your hand. For that reason, the condition of your tyres is of paramount importance.

In the interest of safety, the police, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and many vehicle manufacturers recommend tyres should be replaced when the tread depth measures between 2mm and 3mm.

According to a recent Kwik-Fit survey, four out of five of the UK's drivers don't know the legal tread depth for tyres. The survey of 2,000 motorists showed that a staggering 80pc were unaware of the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.

Tyre manufacturers recommend that when fitting new tyres, the valves are replaced and the wheel assembly is balanced. A wheel alignment check should also be carried out, as an incorrect setting can result in abnormal and premature wear to new tyres.

Kwik-Fit has been supplying the UK's drivers with tyres for the last 30 years. A spokesman for Kwik-Fit said: "We recommend that people have their tyres checked regularly, but particularly as we move into the time of year when the weather and road conditions begin to deteriorate.

"Although the importance of having safe tyres tends to be highlighted during the winter season, it is vital that drivers pay close attention all year round to the condition of their tyres."

Kwik-Fit offer customers a free tyre check service at all of their 650 centres throughout the UK, and will advise motorists whether their tyres should be replaced straight away or are nearing the end of their serviceable life.

So, the message to all motorists is simple - tread carefully, and check your tyres.

CAPTION(S):

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY: Kwik-Fit recommend that, when fitting new tyres, the valves are replaced and the wheel assembly is balanced. A wheel alignment check should also be carried out CHECK IT OUT: There are laws governing how deep your tyre's tread should be
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 20, 2001
Words:603
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