WE ARE all becoming more aware of road safety but Irish motorists have a weak point when it comes to checking their tyres, the car's only contact with the road. Most of us insist on a full complement of airbags and anti-lock brakes with ESP but rarely check tyre pressure, which has a major influence on a car's safety and fuel economy.
Launching a new tyre for improved wet braking, Paddy Murphy, general manager of Continental Tyres, Ireland, said that apart from the obvious dangers of under-inflated tyres motorists were also losing out financially.
Research has shown that a tyre which is under-inflated by as much as 20 per cent can put an extra 20 per cent on to a fill-up at the pumps. And there is a double financial whammy -- a seriously under-inflated tyre will wear out 25 per cent faster.
Mr Murphy said that from a safety aspect, it was important that tyres were checked regularly for wear and pressure. He said that the new tyre Continental was launching, the ContiPremiumContact 5, was aimed at a broad range of vehicles with rims in the 14" to 17" bracket and was engineered to deliver excellent wet braking and improved safety. It has already been given a Best Buy award by Which magazine in the UK and was a test winner in prestige ADAC German test magazine. It claims to be 15 per cent better in wet braking, five per cent quieter and have eight per cent lower rolling resistance than the tyre it replaces.
The tyre has aqua grooves to reduce the risk of aquaplaning and is engineered for greater contact with the road and improved cornering ability. It comes to the market at a time when the EU is bringing in legislation which makes it mandatory for tyre makers to specify rolling resistance, wet braking performance and external tyre road noise. The rules come into force in November 2012.
Mr Murphy said that the new rules will help motorists make more informed decisions, but he also advised motorists to seek out independent tyre tests which were still the most important source of information for a proper assessment of a tyre's quality.