Company car and van drivers, and private motorists, could be spending up to £600m on unnecessary fuel bills because of low tyre pressures, research from TyreSafe suggests.

As many as 57% of car and van tyres on the roads are being driven below recommended inflation pressures, increasing vehicles’ fuel consumption and the risk of being involved in an incident, says the charity.

The study found that at least a third (35%) of tyres are being driven at least 8psi below the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendation. At this level of underinflation, tyres are not only more vulnerable to damage and wear more quickly but they also make the vehicle more difficult to control.

In fact, when pressures are 7psi below the recommended setting, they can halve the amount of tyre in contact with the road. That can be especially dangerous in the wet as the chances of aquaplaning are significantly increased.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “The sheer number of tyres being driven below recommended pressures demonstrates a concerning lack of appreciation among drivers of the risks and costs this brings with it.

“It’s the most common tyre defect and seemingly taken lightly but drivers should remember that it brings with it potentially serious consequences. Regular tyre checks can reduce your chances of an incident on the road and ensure you have a good air day every day.”

A vehicle’s tyre pressures can be found in a number of places and should be checked at least every month and before long journeys, and are likely to need adjustment when carrying a full load. Both settings can be found in the owner’s manual and often in the door shut or in the fuel filler cap.

.Fleet News