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How to buy the right tyres in winter

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Driving and car maintenance are two things that us adults need to budget for - most of us rely heavily on our vehicles for commuting, school runs and road trips. Driving in busy city centres such as Birmingham or London can cause a lot of wear and tear on your car's tyres - especially areas where traffic is heavy and there is a lot of stopping and starting, we all need to make sure our tyres are kept in tip-top condition. Sensible driving techniques really do help - avoiding driving too fast and heavy braking can really help prevent unnecessary damage.

Rural and suburban areas also often have problematic potholes which don't do drivers any favours. Good tyres are particularly important during the winter months regardless of your make of car, choosing the right tyres is essential. Winter weather can bring rain, fog, sleet and snow, making sure the tread on your tyres is the correct depth is crucial. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, so it’s extremely important to make sure that it does not go below this limit.

Why change the tyres in the winter?

Well, did you know that spring/summer tyres are made a different consistency of rubber? One that is designed not to harden when the mercury drops below 5 degrees? Summer tyres have been designed to withstand high temperatures on the road so they don't melt but also provide grip, but this design is not only useless in the winter it is actually more hazardous as the compounds in the summer tyres completely harden and weirdly provides less grip as it becomes more brittle.

Continually driving with faulty tyres can be extremely dangerous - to help prevent wear and tear you should check your tyre pressure monthly and inspect the tyres regularly for any splits or punctures, driving with over inflated or under inflated tyres can cause a blowout. You can check the tyre pressure at a local petrol station.

We also suggest not overloading your vehicle, we have a roof box on our car and often we keep all our camping gear in it, including a very heavy bell tent. This will put extra pressure on the tyres and also increase fuel consumption. You can book your tyres in Birmingham from the Point s website very simply, all you'll need is your car registration number and your tyre size.

It is always a good idea to have your vehicle checked before you buy new tyres. The alignment, suspension and brakes should all be examined before new tyres are fitted. If you are unsure what tyres you need the information is written on the side wall of the tyre so make sure you choose the correct size. It is also recommended to check your spare tyre. Having a full matching set is better than just replacing one in the long run.

And finally, this is the most important tip ALWAYS get your tyres changed by a reputable company who are qualified to do the work. I know it seems a given but you would be surprised by how many people have come a cropper when they have taken their car to a garage that hasn't been approved and they either don't get what they pay for (actual winter tyres, second hand tyres...even remoulded tyres) or the result of that "workmanship" has caused an accident.

After speaking to a traffic officer this is the final tip. When taking a trip in your car when the weather is due to turn or in the process of being snowy, please prepare for the worst. Have a blanket in the car, dress accordingly and if on a long trip, take snacks/beverages. The officer i spoke to said the amount of people who have been stranded in their cars who are dressed in shorts and a tee-shirt and have had to get out of their car on a motorway in bad conditions...... it beggars belief!

Anyway, stay safe guys, spring will be here soon.

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