tyre pressure

Tyre Pressure

Tyre pressure

Tyre pressure can affect your car’s handling, turning, braking and fuel efficiency. A tyre at the wrong pressure will wear out faster and might put your safety at risk.

Check them regularly

It’s important to do this, because tyres lose pressure all the time.

Even in ideal conditions they lose about 0.69 bar or 1 pound per square inch (psi) per month – and that’s a figure that rises with the temperature.

So check your tyre pressure at least once a month, and while you’re at it have a good look at your treads.

If you don’t know what the recommended pressure is, you can find it in your owner’s manual or on the sidewall of your tyre.

How to check your pressure

  1. Use a pressure gauge. Either buy one of your own or use one at your local garage.
  2. Do it when tyres are cool because tyres heat up as you drive and that can affect your reading. Try first thing in the morning.
  3. Unscrew the valve cap and place the gauge over the valve. Don’t worry if you hear a bit of hissing – that’s normal.
  4. Read the pressure on the gauge and compare it with your tyre’s recommended bar or psi.
  5. Put more air in if you need to, either using your own air compressor or by going to your local garage.
  6. Re-check your pressure with the gauge and check against the manufacturer’s specifications.
  7. Replace the valve caps on each tyre.
  8. Check each tyre. If your tyre pressure is dropping too much, ask your garage for help. It could be because of ill-fitting rims or a faulty valve
car wash tips exterior

Car Wash Tips

Car Wash Tips

Make sure you have the right tools before you begin to clean your car. Soft sponges, wash mitts, and chamois are great options for cleaning your car, as they will not scratch it.

Key Steps:

 

  • Give your car seats a regular vacuum to prevent a build up of dirt.
  • Avoid washing your car in direct sunlight or on a hot day.
  • Use a chamois to dry the exterior of your car.

Car cleaning requires time, patience, and specific materials. Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning your car, inside and out:

 

Car Cleaning Tips: The Interior 

car wash tips interior

Deal with the interior of your car first. You’ll need the following car cleaning products:

  • Shampoo (for fabric seats only)
  • Leather cleaner and conditioner (for leather seats only)
  • Protectant (for the dashboard only)
  • Detergent (for the pedals)
  • A handheld vacuum

Once you’ve got your materials together, the process is fairly simple:

  1. Read the instructions on the labels of each product before starting to clean.
  2. Then, shampoo cloth seat covers lightly to remove grime and absorbed liquid. Take extra care dealing with leather seats, and always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  3. Swab the dashboard and clean the pedals.
  4. Vacuum the whole interior with your handheld vacuum.

Now you can get ready to wash the outside of your car!

 

Car Washing: Cleaning the Exterior 

car wash tips exterior

Before you start, you’ll need the following car cleaning supplies:

  • A large bucket
  • A hose (preferably one which is connected to a water supply)
  • A large, soft sponge, a soft wash mitt, and a chamois
  • Liquid detergent (Although specialised car soaps are available, they are not essential. Always make sure you follow the guidelines on the labels.)
  • Plastic polish
  • Metal polish
  • A polishing cloth or sponge
  • Car wax
  • A toothbrush or specialised detailing brush

Once you have all your car wash products, you can start to wash your car! Remember not to wash your car on a sunny or overly warm day, as this will cause water to dry out too quickly and leave you with soap spots on your car. Either wait for an overcast day, or pull the car into the shade before you begin.

  1. Start by hosing the whole car down. Get the whole car wet to dislodge any surface-level dirt and to remove mud and grime from the wheels.
  2. Next, get your sponge, and give the wheels a thorough scrubbing. This will prevent any dirt from the dirtiest part of the car getting transported anywhere else later on.
  3. Now gently scrub down the bodywork of the car with your wash mitt. Lambswool works best here, as anything too abrasive will damage the paintwork. Dry the car off with a chamois, but remember to be gentle.
  4. Use your toothbrush or detailing brush to get dirt out of cracks in the bodywork.
  5. Polish any bare metal, but be careful not to use metal polish on non-metal surfaces and remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product. Next, use your plastic polish to clean and polish your headlights, indicators, and brake lights. Dirty headlights are not only unsightly, but they can also lead to road accidents, so this step is absolutely crucial.
  6. Apply wax. Remember to wax your wheels as well as everything else!
  7. Lastly, clean the windows. Soap and water can do the trick, but glass cleaner will always give you better results.
wheel alignment

Wheel Alignment

The importance of wheel alignments

Wheel alignment is one of those important but often-neglected regular maintenance items. Though in reality, its more about measuring and setting the cars steering and suspension geometry than aligning wheels.

Geometry involves angles and there are some common angles that are checked and set during a wheel alignment. The aim is to ensure maximum tyre contact with the road under actual driving conditions such as cornering or travelling straight, accelerating or braking. It also ensures the car will track straight rather than wander or pull to one side. The angles that are set with the car stationery make allowance for the natural geometry changes that can be expected to occur when the car is in motion.

The main angles commonly checked and where possible adjusted, include camber, caster, and toe. When looking at a wheel front on, camber is the lean relative to vertical of the wheel. Leaning in toward the cars centreline at the top is negative camber and out is positive. To understand caster, think of a bicycle front wheel. Viewed side-on, a vertical line taken down through the centre of the wheel forms an angle with a line drawn down through the steering pivot supports. The angle formed is the caster and is either positive (like the bike) or negative depending on which way the axis is tilted. Toe refers to whether the wheels on an axle when viewed from above are closer together at the front (toe-in) or closer at the rear (toe-out).

Incorrect alignment can result in excessive or uneven tyre wear, compromised handling, reduced directional stability, increased fuel use and reduced safety. Tyre wear resulting from misalignment is normally caused by incorrect toe or camber settings. If your steering wheel is off-centre, tyres are wearing unevenly, you have hit large potholes or kerbs, or your car pulls to one side, it may need realignment. Alignment should also be reset after steering or suspension repairs and when tyres are renewed to ensure maximum tyre life.

Some vehicles will only require a front wheel alignment, though most modern cars will need a four-wheel wheel alignment.

tyre rotation

Tyre Rotation Advice

Tyre Rotation Advice

Front and rear tyres do different jobs so they usually wear at different rates. Some tyres transmit drive, others steer and in some cases they do both. Their share of cornering and braking loads varies also. So regular tyre rotation is needed to help even out any irregular wear patterns and ensure maximum tyre life. So what’s the correct way to rotate radial tyres?

In the past it was fairly straightforward.  There were two possible options –  front to back or diagonally side to side.

However the widespread adoption of temporary use spare wheels, uni-directional and asymmetrical tyres, and in some cases different size tyres front to rear complicates the matter greatly.  In fact it’s now common to find vehicles that come with a number of possible wheel / tyre combinations, all of which necessitate different rotation patterns.  So the one vehicle could potentially have a number of different tyre rotation patterns shown in its handbook.

We always suggest following the vehicle manufacturer’s rotation recommendations as outlined in the vehicle’s handbook, or alternatively taking advice from an experienced tyre dealer.  However where this is not available or not an option, the following information may be of assistance.

How frequently should tyres be rotated?

Many manufacturers recommend tyre rotation at least every 10,000km, or more frequently if uneven wear patterns are evident.  Depending on the wear patterns, attention to wheel alignment, correct tyre pressures or revising driving style may also be required.  High powered Front Wheel Drive vehicles can be very hard on front tyres and, depending on driving style, it could be necessary to rotate tyres even more frequently to maximise tyre life.

Rotating your tyres periodically can help to prevent uneven wear and prolong the lifespan of your tyres.

Rotating Tyres: Best Practise

When should you rotate your tyres? Generally speaking, it is recommended that you rotate the tyres on your vehicle once every six months, or 5,000 miles – whichever comes first.

To do so, each tyres needs to be removed and refitted at a different position. This helps to ensure that each tyre wears evenly and lasts longer.

For each driving method, there is a correct way to rotate your tyres. You want to ensure that you rotate the tyres to the correct position for your vehicle.

Rotating Tyres on a Front Wheel Drive

front wheel rotation

The two front tyres stay on the same of the car and are transferred to the rear. However, the rear tyres move forward and switch sides.

Rotating Tyres on a Rear Wheel Drive

four wheel rotate

The two rear tyres stay on the same side of the car and are transferred to the front. However, the front tyres move backwards and switch sides.

Rotating Tyres on a Four Wheel Drive

In this instance both sets of tyres swap sides and position. So the two front tyres move back and switch. At the same time the two rear tyres move forward and switch.

Rotating Directional Tyres

directional wheel rotate

The above rules should not be followed if your tyres are ‘directional tyres’. The tread pattern on this variety tyre is designed specifically to work in a certain way in relation to its position on the vehicle – switching sides would be dangerous.

The tyres change position, but do not switch. The two front tyres move back and the two rear tyres move forward – they stay on the same side of the car as before.

Other maintenance requirements

Maximum tyre life will only be achieved if tyres are regularly rotated, correctly inflated and wheel alignment and balance are checked and corrected as necessary.

Alignment should be checked annually or when abnormal wear patterns appear, while tyre pressures should ideally be checked at least weekly.  Tyre balancing is relatively inexpensive and it would be wise to have it checked when tyres are being rotated to prevent imbalance induced problems.