The importance of ensuring drivers understand the need to check the roadworthiness and safety of their vehicles was brought home to me during a brief spell in the Ford Mondeo at Christmas.
Coming out of a Mazda2 into the Mondeo took some getting used to – the difference in engine response and performance, handling and all-round awareness required of the much larger vehicle was to be expected.
However, I was less than impressed with the steering response. It seemed sluggish – a little less precise than expected. Naively, I put this down to the physical differences in the two cars and thought I’d just get used to it.
A subsequent journey from Peterborough to Southwold – a distance of more than 100 miles, taking more than 90 minutes – did little to reassure me this was the reason. A walk around the vehicle on arrival revealed what looked to be an underinflated tyre.
While driving to the nearest garage, the tyre pressure warning light came on. A pressure check revealed it to have less than half the required psi level. Staff at the John Grose Ford dealership I visited advised me to overinflate it slightly to ensure the car’s tyre pressure gauge was reset. I checked the remaining three tyres and all was well – but not for long. The dash light came on again on the way home and, while another inflation allowed me to get home, it was clear the tyre had been damaged.
A Kwik Fit inspection confirmed a slow puncture, and that all four tyres had 2-3mm tread depth (the legal limit is 1.6mm). The car has only done 12,000 miles, but it’s clear this isn’t a reason not to carry out tyre checks.
But for the puncture, when would I have become aware my tyres really needed changing in order to be safe for myself and other road users? My experience has been shared with the Fleet News team and the tyres replaced. Salutary lesson learned.