As figures show a significant drop in both the new car market and tyre sales during 2008, Continental Tyres Ireland is urging motorists not to be tempted to push their tyres to the limit in today’s tougher economic environment.
“We have no doubt that the drop in tyre sales is linked to motorists being more cautious about changing their cars,” said Paddy Murphy, Continental Tyres Ireland. “It is clear that many motorists have opted to hold onto their cars for perhaps an extra year or two.
“Doing the same with their tyres is a recipe for disaster. During the winter months in particular, when roads are likely to be wet or icy, running below 3mm of tread depth leaves motorists open to a greater risk of aquaplaning and longer braking distances.”
Continental Tyres is especially concerned about those motorists who changed their cars every other year during the boom years of the Celtic Tiger.
“Those motorists are not necessarily in the habit of replacing worn or unroadworthy tyres. If they have only been doing low mileage, they may be unaware of the effects of low tread depth. There is a need to raise motorists’ awareness of the potential dangers they might face out on the road,” said Murphy.
“In addition to putting off their new car purchase, we have noticed that motorists are also increasing the interval between servicing their cars. This is bound to have implications for road safety and not least because of the neglect of the tyres.”
Generally after two years of normal motoring with an average annual mileage of 15,000km, a tyre will show signs of wear and tear, and reduced tread depth. This degradation in the tyre will affect a car’s handling and stopping ability, in particular on wet roads. Traditionally, a good mechanic would have highlighted this to the motorist as part of a normal service.
“However, increasingly longer service intervals, combined with the low level of tyre care that we know exists among Irish motorists, are leading to some motorists pushing their tyres to the max. Tyres are a car’s only contact with the road and as such, we neglect them at our peril,” said Murphy. “We would strongly urge motorists not to risk ‘running on red’ with their tyres.”