Millions of European motorists may be driving off on their summer holidays with their tyres under-inflated, and Bridgestone are strongly recommending to them that they check their tyre pressures before they go.
Through a joint worldwide initiative with the FIA Foundation in the Think Before You Drive road safety campaign, Bridgestone has carried out more than 100,000 free car tyre inspections in Europe since 2005. This programme has identified that 26% of drivers run on under-inflated tyres.
Bridgestone say a tyre deflates naturally over time, like a balloon. So unless you check your tyres regularly and top up with air when necessary, you will soon be driving on low pressure.
Three big reasons to keep an eye on your tyre pressure
According to Colm Conyngham, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Bridgestone Ireland, there are three main reasons to make sure your tyres are inflated properly before your holidays:
“The first consequence of low tyre pressure is that it puts your safety at risk. Deflation leads to a loss of handling control, increased vehicle drift, and lower tyre durability due to the stress and heat build-up from tyre sidewall bending. The increased weight of holiday baggage, extra passengers and a caravan or boat in tow adds to the potentially dangerous situation. Secondly, low tyre pressure hits your pocket. It not only increases tyre rolling resistance, pushing up fuel consumption, but also increases tread wear, thus reducing the life of your tyre. Tyre wear life is halved if pressure falls from 2.2 bar to 1.0 bar.”
“Thirdly and worse still,” added Colm, “driving on low pressure adds an unwanted extra load on the environment, through increased fuel consumption and harmful CO2 emissions.”
Bridgestone’s Technical Centre Europe, based near Rome in Italy, calculates that the 26 per cent of motorists who routinely drive on under-inflated tyres use more fuel than they need, equivalent to 3.9billion litres of extra fuel a year worth 5.1 billion euros. They also emit an extra 9.2 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Are your tyres too worn?
In addition the Bridgestone European study showed that 10.3 % of checked cars were fitted with tyres worn beyond the legal 1.6 mm tread depth limit. Bridgestone say the dangerous consequences of this are well documented and include a serious loss of grip in wet road conditions and an increased risk of puncture at speed on the motorway.
A recent report from Touring Mobilis – an online traffic service of the Belgian Automobile Club and breakdown service “Touring” – noted a 30% increase in tyre punctures in 2008 compared to the same period in 2006. It stated that in response to current economic difficulties, motorists appeared to be postponing the purchase of new tyres and driving for too long on worn treads.
Bridgestone is helping to get across the important benefits of checking your tyres regularly through two global campaigns in partnership with the FIA Foundation: Think Before You Drive which focuses on road safety and Make Cars Green aimed at reducing the environmental impact of motoring.