Caravan owners warned of key safety checks ahead of further Dover traffic chaos

Dover travel chaos needs 'long-term solution' says expert

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With the summer holidays in full swing, thousands of motorists are heading to Dover and Folkestone as the final stop before Europe. With many drivers waiting for hours at the ports, caravan owners are being warned to check their tyres before heading off to ensure their trips don’t take longer than necessary.

For thousands of owners around the UK, it may have been months since their leisure vehicle was last in use.

With the weather improving and more people looking to go on holiday, it has never been more important to check the condition of their vehicle.

Bridgestone believes that vehicles such as caravans or trailer tents should be thoroughly inspected prior to re-use during the summer months, with a spike in usage expected in the coming weeks. 

And the tyre manufacturer strongly advises that any caravan tyre should be replaced after 10 years irrespective of how it looks from the naked eye.

This is because it has most likely been exposed to varied conditions, such as the effects of the sun and the general state of roads. 

Brett Emerson, Consumer Sales Director at Bridgestone, said that motorists should look for any sign of age deterioration in the tyres such as sidewall cracking and carcass deformation.  

He added that tyres can ‘flat spot’ when a caravan is only moved a couple of times per year, owing to the weight of the vehicle.  

He said: “Whatever tyres are fitted to the towing car, caravan, trailer tent or motorhome, it is essential to the safety and stability of the combination that all tyres are correctly inflated for the applied load. 

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“Tyres that are driven underinflated for extended periods are more likely to suffer from rapid wear which could lead to a sudden and rapid deflation, causing loss of control. 

“Debris left on the carriageway after a tyre failure could prove hazardous for other motorists.  

“We never recommend the dangerous practice of fitting a replacement tyre on the hard shoulder and roadside safety advice issued by Highways England should always be observed.”

According to tyresafe.org, Caravan and trailer tyres often require higher inflation pressures than are required for the same tyres on a car. 

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It is essential to identify and maintain correct tyre pressures. 

In the absence of any recommendation in the vehicle handbook regarding car tyre inflation when towing, drivers should increase the towing vehicle’s rear tyre pressures by four to seven psi (0.3 to 0.4 bar) to improve the stability of the complete unit.

Mr Emerson continued, saying: “Keeping tyres correctly inflated ensures an even wear rate leading to longer tyre life. 

“Pressures should be checked and adjusted prior to any journey when the tyres are cold – not during or after a run when they will be higher. 

“Never reduce pressures when the tyres are warm, as they could be too low when they cool down.   

“After pressure checking, ensure the valve is not leaking and the valve cap is fitted. 

“The correct inflation pressures for your car tyres can be found in the owners’ handbook and often inside the drivers’ door or the fuel filler cap displayed on the vehicle.” 

This past weekend, the UK saw an estimated 18 million leisure trips as almost all schools across the country closed for the summer.

It is expected that further delays may be seen at ports and other popular tourist destinations as more drivers look to go on holiday.

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