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Drivers warned over tyre pressures

Too many are not checking regularly enough


Drivers are putting lives at risk by not checking tyre pressures frequently enough, according to a survey.

And pressure gauges at garages – although improving in accuracy – are still giving false readings in 20 per cent of cases, research from the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) Trust revealed.

The poll found that only 18 per cent of men and just 4 per cent of women check tyre pressures once a week as is recommended.

Infrequent checks

While 37 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women do checks once a month, 13 per cent of men and 26 per cent of women rarely check, with East Midlands motorists the least likely to do checks.

Many garages which formerly offered ‘free air’ now charge for tyre checks.

The survey showed that 80 per cent of air lines were accurate compared with only 50 per cent in a similar survey two years ago.

Most motorists surveyed felt that 20p or 50p was a reasonable price to pay for reliable, accurate and clean air lines at a garage.

However, if the price were to be £1, just one in eight men would be prepared to pay but almost a third of women thought £1 a reasonable charge.


Tim Shallcross, the IAM Trust’s head of technical policy and advice, said: ‘The drive to the filling station increases tyre pressure significantly.

‘This means that, although the pressure gauge may be accurate, tyres can be under-inflated by between 12 per cent and 15 per cent.’

He went on: ‘Drivers should check the tyre pressure weekly. The survey shows that we’re not checking tyres frequently enough.

‘In spite of improving accuracy, motorists just can’t rely on using filling station equipment to maintain accurate, safe and fuel-efficient tyre pressures.’

Point of contact

Which? motoring editor Richard Headland said: ‘This survey again shows that drivers don’t check tyre pressures often enough. Tyres are the only point of contact between your car and the road, so are vital to you and your family’s safety – regular checks are essential. You need to check pressures when the tyres are cold – ideally at home, or at a garage very near your house.’

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