With restrictions easing across Europe, more and more vehicles are once again hitting our roads. But, if your car has been locked up for the past few months, it’s important that you’ve first made sure that everything is in good working condition – especially your tyres.
Mark Widdows, from maintenance provider and Bridgestone retail partner, First Stop, has shared some simple but crucial checks that every vehicle owner should be making before getting back in the driving seat:
Test your tyres
Firstly, cast a careful eye over your tyres. Is there any wear or degradation? Has there been contamination of any sort from coolant spots, oils or fuels? (Don’t forget to do the same for the whole vehicle; is there anything nested under the bonnet? Can you see any perishing or cracking occurring?)
If your tyres pass that test, check that the air pressure in all four is adequate. Despite being unused, your tyres may have lost a lot of air since you last used your vehicle. Driving on underinflated tyres is of course very dangerous, so check the pressure of each tyre and inflate if necessary.
Next, now knowing that your tyres are in good working condition, give them a thorough clean. Dust, dirt, and grime may have built up over time – none of which will help your tyres to perform at their best. Detergent, water and a tyre brush are all you need to fix that.
Depending on where you are in the world and your typical routine, you should also maybe be thinking about summer tyres. Now that summer is there, if you typically switch between winter and summer tyres and have not done it yet, you should make that switch before using your car again. How do you know when’s the right time to change? Ideally when the outside temperature remains consistently above seven degrees for more than a week.
Don’t forget the rest of your vehicle
You shouldn’t only be checking your tyres before you get back behind the wheel. If your vehicle hasn’t been driven for a long period of time, issues with your brakes, engine and lights can occur. It’s important that you make sure your brakes haven’t built up corrosion and now seize, the battery isn’t flat (the most likely cause of breakdowns), and that lights still switch on and off.
Ideally, you topped up your car’s fluid reservoirs – including oil, brake fluid and screen wash – before lockdown. But, if not, then you should do so before you get behind the wheel.
If in doubt, ask a professional
If you have any doubts about the condition of your tyres and/or vehicle, then contact your nearest tyre dealership for professional advice. Following these simple checks will ensure that your car is safe and ready to go to hit the road again.