*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Continental Tyres.
As parents, we've unwittingly signed-up to spend a good deal of our lives within the confines of our vehicles, as we ferry our children from one event to another, year after year. Those inevitable driving duties are an integral part of our parental role when it comes to raising our children.
Yet getting caught-up in our daily to-do's with our families, can so often result in us overlooking the importance of greater things, such as vehicle safety. Remembering to maintain your car beyond the annual scheduled service is a must and there's no better place to begin, than from the ground up.
I am first to admit that for myself at least, the term 'car maintenance' generally equates to me making sure that I have petrol at all times and a clean vehicle interior! While both will get me from A to B in relative convenience and comfort, where actual safety on the road is concerned, these considerations are of little to no significance at all. Safety is paramount as the saying goes, and never more so than when we're driving. It's something we all can and should, lend a little extra thought and time to, despite our busy lives.
Have you considered just how important your tyres are lately, to your family's safety on the road?
Tyre maintenance doesn't have to be complicated, time-consuming or even terribly costly, and by investing just a small amount of time and effort into this essential area on a regular basis, you can potentially save lives too. If you've ever experienced the unfortunate situation of a car accident, you will know only too well, just how important having good tyres beneath you can be.
A random tyre check assessment of 16,904 cars was conducted by Continental Tyres across Australia recently, at over 10 suburban car parks in March of this year. The study revealed some unnerving statistics:
Only 68 percent of Australian cars have a tyre tread depth which is sufficient for safe driving. Twenty-seven percent of cars had tyres needing replacement within the following three to six months and 5 percent of vehicles were actually not deemed roadworthy at all, due to the poor state of their tyres.
So what can you do to ensure the safety of your own family vehicle?
Know and check your tyre tread depth regularly. This means, measuring the gap between the channels at the 'base' of your tyre and the top of the tread that touches the road. The legal minimum depth in Australia is 1.6mm. Continental Tyres suggest a 3mm depth as more appropriate for safe driving however.
Research conducted by Continental Tyres in warm weather conditions, found a tread of 3mm compared to the recommended 1.6mm, made a significant 20 metre difference when brakes were applied from 100km to 60km per hour to avoid an impact.
Check your tyre pressures regularly. A tyre that is inflated incorrectly (either over-inflated or under) will reduce its ability to respond to the road. This equates to an increase in the likelihood of a car accident. Tyres will naturally deflate over time from use and so require fairly constant monitoring. Check your tyre pressures at least monthly. Plan to do it at the start of each month (when you fill up with fuel for example), so that you are not likely to forget.
Set your inflation pressures as per your tyre placard or your vehicle handbook and always check your pressures when the tyre is cold.
Check and fit new valves on your tyres. Valves are essential for keeping your tyres at the correct level of inflation. Just like the tyre itself, these too are prone to weakening with use. Check yours on each tyre at regular intervals. These are inexpensive to replace, but essential.
Have you checked your wheel alignment lately? Daily driving means regular bumping into curbs and driving over pot holes. Over time this can throw your steering out of alignment and cause wear to your tyres in an uneven pattern. This wear not only shortens the life of your tyres, but can cause them to underperform on the road.
An easy way to check if your wheels are out of alignment, is to feel for any slight 'pull' on the steering wheel (to either the left or the right) as you are driving. Have any issues seen to, as soon as possible.
Rotate your tyres. A sure way to even out your tyre wear, is to rotate the tyres on your vehicle. Have a professional do this for you, such as the experts at Continental Tyres. Front wheels tend to wear out faster than rear wheels for example, so switching these around can help improve your safety significantly.
Regularly check your tyres. On top of these points is another important add-on: make sure you inspect your tyres frequently for general damage. Check for nails and notable issues such as bulging, cracks, tears, baldness and so on. Tyres that are in a faulty state need urgent seeing-to. Make it a habit to look at your wheels every time you get in your car. It takes no time at all and could potentially save your life and the lives of others.
With nearly one third of Australian cars at risk or failing in tyre safety, make checking yours a priority. For more information on tyres and tyre safety, visit the Continental Tyres website.
When did you last check your tyres?
Have you ever been involved in a vehicle accident?
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Always ensure your child is using a correctly fitted and age appropriate booster seat (or capsule)
when driving, and that they are wearing a seat belt. Images used here are taken within a parked vehicle for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect safe driving arrangements.
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