New research has revealed that millions of motorists are risking a blowout by driving with underinflated tyres following weeks of not using their cars.
A survey of 2,000 drivers for Halfords Autocentre found that 40% can correctly identify the low tyre pressure warning light when it pops up on the dashboard.
What’s more, just half of those who have encountered the warning light have ignored it – despite underinflated tyres placing excess pressure on the edges of the tyre, causing them to wear more rapidly.
With cars remaining parked up over the past two months, checks on tyres, lights and battery are likely to have been neglected further due to a lack of use.
But with just 68% drivers surveyed knowing the correct tyre pressure for their car, and with the average motorist checking their tyre pressure just once every three months, the consequences of non-roadworthy tyres could be serious.
Underinflated tyres are more likely to suffer a blowout, use more fuel, make steering heavier and affect the car’s ride quality.
Halfords has now launched its ‘Get Road Ready pledge’, to help motorists safely return to the roads, offering a free 30 minute service. This covers checks on tyre depth, tyre inflation, a battery health test, headlights and brake lights, screen wash, AdBlue, coolant and oil levels, and is intended to help keep motorists in control and reassure them at this critical time.
“The easing of restrictions and the advice to avoid public transport means there are likely to be more cars on our roads,” said Graham Stapleton of Halfords.
“Our insight shows that due to the lockdown, one in five members of the public haven’t used their car in a month, so that’s why we are offering this £15 check for free.
“It means that we can support drivers and give them peace of mind and help to prevent any motoring surprises for when they get back on the road.”
Almost seven per cent of all cars fail their MOT due to defective tyres, according to the DVSA.
Tyre pressure can fall due to a natural leakage of air through the walls of the tyre, drops in ambient temperature and slow puncture.
35% of those polled admitted to driving around with underinflated tyres in the past because there was a queue at the petrol station.
23% said they didn’t put air in their tyres because they didn’t want to pay to do it.
Just 10% of drivers incorrectly think underinflated tyres can improve fuel efficiency, despite it being estimated that a tyre with 20 per cent less air uses 20 per cent more fuel.