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Whether you are learner driver or an experienced motorist, you can email any driving-related question to info@wycombedrivingschool.co.uk and you will receive a personal response from Wycombe Driving School boss Audrey Wixon, pictured. The best questions and answers will be published on this website anonymously.

Audrey is a DSA ADI; DIAmond, IAM and RoSPA Gold Advanced Driver; Fleet Trainer; Observer for Institute of Advanced Motorists; & National Standard cycling instructor

Audrey Wixon - manager of Wycombe Driving School
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Do you really need to check tyre pressures weekly?

Q: It says in the Highway Code that you should check tyre pressures weekly. I don’t know anyone who does that! Is it really necessary?

checking tyre pressure A: Yes because tyres can lose air suddenly through an impact such as hitting a pothole, speed hump or kerb or you might have a slow puncture. And air always seeps through the rubber gradually anyway. Keeping tyres pumped up correctly reduces running costs and improves vehicle handling.

Let's talk money first. On average, a tyre loses one or two pounds of air per month in cool weather, and more when it is warm. If you are 10% low on air, you can waste one third of your tyres’ tread life through drag. So if your £60 tyres should be at 30psi but are actually 3psi under, you will waste £20 worth of tread per tyre. That’s £80 blown for the sake of a weekly check that only takes a few minutes. Not only that, but under-inflated tyres can cost you up to a mile per gallon in fuel economy because the rolling resistance will be greater.

As for handling, correct inflation is very important. Low pressure reduces braking performance and can affect your ability to steer and grip the road. Your suspension has been designed to suit a particular tyre size inflated to a specific pressure and anything less will reduce performance.

You should pump up your tyres to the pressure stated in your car manual or tyre placard (attached to the vehicle door edge, doorpost, fuel flap door or glove box door) – not the maximum pressure embossed on the side of the tyre. Make sure you check pressures when the tyres are cold, when you haven’t driven more than a mile or two. You will get an incorrect reading otherwise because air expands when it heats up.

Under-inflation is one of the most common causes of tyre failure. Excessive sidewall flexing causes the tyres to run dangerously hot, especially at motorway speeds during hot weather. The build-up of heat can lead to tread separation or a sudden blowout. One in six motorway accidents involve tyre failure.

So for optimum safety, performance and economy, yes, it is necessary to make that weekly check.
Audrey Wixon
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Wycombe Driving School - for driving lessons in High Wycombe and surrounding areas - including Amersham, Beaconsfield, Marlow, Hazlemere, Stokenchurch and Princes Risborough. We offer successful, structured driving lessons, providing free theory test software and lesson handouts. Male and female driving instructors are available, providing both manual and automatic driving lessons.