UNDERSTANDING TYRE LOAD INDEX

Looking after your vehicle means making sure it is safe and comfortable to use. Checking the parameters of your vehicle’s tyres is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked, and the tyre load index is just one aspect that will need to be investigated before investing in replacement tyres.

What is the tyre load index?
A tyre load index describes the maximum load, or weight, that an individual tyre is able to safely carry when inflated to the safe, recommended tyre pressure. Different makes and models of tyres have different tyre load indexes, which is detailed on the sidewall – usually it is displayed as a two or three digit number that follows the numbers describing the dimensions of the tyre.

Section/tyre width
The width of your tyre, in millimetres, measured from sidewall to sidewall.

Aspect ratio
This is the ratio of the tyre’s cross-section to its width, expressed as a percentage. An aspect ratio of 65, for example, indicates that the tyre’s height is 65% of its width.

Rim/wheel diameter
The diameter (height) of the wheel in inches.

Load index
Your tyre’s load index relates to its maximum carrying capacity (in kg). You’ll find the load rating of your tyre on the sidewall, just to the right of the diameter. For example, a tyre with a load index of 91 can carry 615kg of weight. Load ratings and speed ratings should be looked at together when you buy a new tyre. Also remember to check your manufacturer’s recommendations.

Speed rating
The speed rating is the maximum speed for a tyre when it is correctly inflated and being used under load. The speed rating is the letter at the end of the sidewall, after the load index number. A tyre with a speed rating of V, for example, has a maximum speed of 240 km/h. When buying new tyres, make sure you match their speed rating with the speed capabilities of your vehicle.

Why is the tyre load important for drivers?
Overloading tyres can be unsafe and lead to tyre damage. You must ensure that a tyre with a suitable load index is fitted to your vehicle – never affix tyres that have a lower load capacity than recommended.
Recommendations can usually be found in your vehicle handbook, which should detail the appropriate range of load indexes that any new tyres will need, in relation to your specific vehicle. Failure to heed this advice could lead to the fitting of a tyre with an incorrect load index, which could cause problems with insurance, and may even invalidate certain policies.

How to use the tyre load index
To the right you will find our handy tyre load index chart which outlines the maximum weights attributed to each load index rating – highlighting exactly how much weight a tyre can safely carry. To calculate the total carrying capacity for your car as a whole, simply multiply the single tyre load index by four.

COMMON MOT FAILURES

All cars more than three years old in the UK must pass a yearly MOT test (unless it was made before 1960). The MOT is a simple test of roadworthiness, and is not to be confused with a vehicle health check.
Simply put an MOT will determine whether your car is safe to drive on the road, it will not reveal any lurking vehicle health issues, such as issues problems with the clutch or the engine.
Many motorists worry about their annual MOT and can be unaware of what will cause their vehicle to fail before the test itself. Despite this concern, approximately 70% of all cars pass their MOTs, so the odds are in your favour, and a lot of the issues flagged in an MOT can be resolved quickly.
With that said, we’ve outlined the most common MOT failures so you are better prepared for when yours comes around!

1. Lights and signalling
Nearly a fifth of all cars which fail their MOT are because of an issue with their lights. Bulbs and lights are an easy fix but catch a lot of people out in their MOT as they can be easily overlooked.
It’s a good idea to switch all your lights on and walk around your car to check they’re in working order.
Things to check:
Front
Rear
Brake
Fog
Indicator
Registration plate lights
Rear reflectors.
It’s also worth checking the condition of the lights. Often plastic lenses get misty over time, so it might be worth buying a kit to clean your lights ahead of the MOT.
Most bulbs are easily replaceable but should you need some extra support, get in touch with an expert.

2. Suspension
More than one in 10 MOT failures are caused by suspension issues. Motorists are no stranger to potholes and patchy road surfaces and these can take their toll on your vehicle. Suspension issues can be hidden fairly well, so you can be forgiven for missing a leaky shock absorber or even a snapped spring.
Unfortunately checking your suspension isn’t as easy as checking your bulbs, however make sure you pay attention to any noises made by your car during everyday driving – particularly during cornering or when passing over bumpy roads. You can also check to see if it sits level or if it’s slightly higher or lower in one corner.
Generally it’s recommended that you have an annual car service to check for any suspension issues that you might have picked up over the last 12 months.

3. Brakes
One in 10 cars fail their MOT due to brake issues. Most faults will be fairly obvious with major failings presenting themselves in the form of spongy pedals or the car pulling to either the left or right when applying the brakes. If you hear squealing or grinding noises coming from your brakes, it’s usually a sign that the pads are running low. All of these will need immediate attention from a professional to be checked.

4. Tyres
Tyres can be the reason for many MOT failures. They are the only part of the car that is in contact with the floor, taking the brunt of impacts and rough surfaces, so if they aren’t up to scratch, you could have a disaster on your hands.
Tyres should be checked regularly, not just when it’s due an MOT, to ensure they are road legal.
The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, although it is recommended to replace the tyres at no less than 2mm depth. You can use a 20p coin to check the tread.
It’s also a good idea to feel inside the tyre to check for uneven wear, as well as looking for any lumps or cuts which could cause a dangerous blowout.
Replacing tyres is relatively inexpensive but may be a crucial step to passing your MOT.

5. Issues affecting your view of the road
It is vital that you can see the road clearly when driving, however there are an alarming amount of MOT’s that fail as a result of issues affecting the driver’s view of the road.
This includes things blocking the windscreen such as a sat-nav, or cracks and chips in the glass within the driver’s eyeline. It’s also good to check the wipers. They need to be able to clear the windscreen effectively with no loose parts.

Those are the most common MOT failures that you should watch out for, some easy fixes and some that are easily overlooked. Find out if your vehicle is MOT ready and get in touch with Roadwheel today if you need a hand!

WHAT DOES YOUR EXHAUST DO?

The car exhaust system is a vital part of your vehicle and one that is responsible for many things to keep your car running smoothly, each impacting how the car performs or affecting the safety of the vehicle.

What is an exhaust system and what does it do?
A common misconception about the exhaust system is that it’s very small and located at the back of your vehicle, however the exhaust system of a car is actually made up of several parts and spans almost the entire length of your car.

Your car exhaust system has four main jobs to do:
1. Control and minimise noise
2. Redirect exhaust fumes created by the engine
3. Improve the engine’s overall performance
4. Improve fuel consumption.

How does it work?
Your car’s exhaust system is a series of tubes and chambers designed to move gas away from the engine and reduce the noise that it makes. The several different components are the exhaust manifold, oxygen sensors, catalytic converter, diesel particulate filter, silencer and exhaust pipe.
The most important functions of the car exhaust system is that it redirects dangerous gases away from passengers. Your car exhaust emissions system is crucial for your car to operate safely. There are six gases produced by the basic function of your car’s engine: nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. The exhaust system collects these noxious gases, removes the hazardous elements of these gases before safely distributing them out of the car and into the outside atmosphere.

How do I know my exhaust is working properly?
As such a crucial part of your car, you’ll want to ensure that your exhaust system is always running smoothly. However, if you’re not sure of the warning signs, here are some things to look out for in the event that you might need an exhaust repair or replacement:

– If your exhaust system emits a rattling, vibration or increased engine noise, this is an indicator that your exhaust system may have an issue and needs to be checked out by a professional.

– If you can visually see any damage, such as cracks or holes when looking at your exhaust, particularly where the different sections of the system meet, you should get your vehicle checked by a professional. If you also spot rust when inspecting your car exhaust system, this might not automatically be an issue, but is worth getting checked to be on the safe side.

It’s good to get your exhaust checked at least twice a year for any damage that could occur. If you have any concerns about your exhaust, drop in to Roadwheel or give us a call and we’d be more than happy to have a look.

ESSENTIAL CHECKS BEFORE YOU SET OFF ON A ROAD TRIP

Short breaks in the UK are a popular option when it comes to booking a holiday. As many as 13.1 million of us opt to use our vehicles to get away for a UK break, however many motorists admit they do not make basic car safety checks before embarking on a long journey.
Making sure your car is ready for the road is important so we’ve listed below our top 10 checks you can do before setting off.

1. Check your coolant levels
Engine coolant is a mixture of water and anti-freeze that helps to stop your engine overheating.
Most modern cars have a sealed cooling system so they shouldn’t need topping up, unless they’ve sprung a leak. It’s important to check your engine coolant every couple of weeks so you can spot any problems early which could save you a lot of money and hassle.
To check your coolant level, locate your radiator reservoir under the bonnet (if you’re not sure where it is, check your vehicle handbook) and make sure the coolant level is between the min and max lines. If you need to top up, make sure you select the right one for your car.

2. Check your dipstick for oil
The oil in your engine is one of your vehicle’s most important elements. It keeps all the engine’s internal parts moving as they should, and stops them from wearing out too quickly.
If the oil level in your engine drops too low it’ll stop it from working efficiently causing it to seize up, and could eventually lead to significant engine damage if not addressed.
To check your engine oil, locate your dipstick underneath the bonnet and make sure the oil level is between the two min and max markers at the end of the dipstick. The dipstick is usually easy enough to locate and can be identified by the ring pull (often yellow/orange in colour) coming out of the engine. Top the engine oil up if need be, but be sure to use the correct type of oil recommended in the vehicle’s handbook.
Oil should be drained and refilled annually as part of the MOT. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still check your levels at regular intervals throughout the year to avoid your engine running low.

3. Pack your car jack and locking wheel nut key
It’s important to make sure you have both of these items before setting off on a long trip. It could be the difference between being stranded and carrying on with your journey. If you pick up a tyre puncture on your journey, you’ll need a jack in order to stop and put the spare on.
You’ll also need the locking wheel nut key to hand to remove the wheel. Without this, you nor a recovery vehicle will be able to take the wheel off so make sure you have it with you and store it somewhere safe and accessible!

4. Check your tyre pressures
It’s important to make sure your tyres are inflated to the recommended pressure. Tyres that are underinflated can overheat and cause damage to the tyre, and overinflated tyres can lead to poor vehicle handling and increase the risk of a blowout.
Tyres that are set to the incorrect tyre pressure will also need to be replaced more regularly as the tread will wear more quickly and unevenly. Under-inflated tyres will also increase fuel consumption as they have an increased rolling resistance and more fuel will be required to maintain the same speed.
The correct tyre pressures for your vehicle can be found in the vehicle handbook.

5. Check your tyre tread for wear
When braking, your car relies on the tread on your tyres to grip the road and come to a stop in the shortest possible distance. Braking distance increases as tyre tread wears out so it’s important that you check them regularly to ensure you still have adequate tread on your tyres.
The legal minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6mm, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.
For safety, we strongly recommend that you replace your tyres before the legal limit is reached. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing at 3mm. In wet weather, travelling at 50 mph with 1.6mm of tread, it takes an extra car length (8 metres) to stop than if your tread was 3mm.
It is also a legal requirement to ensure that tyres of different construction types are not mixed on the same axle (the two main tyre types are radial and cross-ply). Please ask Roadwheel to check your tyres if you are unsure.
Mixing brands and patterns of the same construction type is permissible depending on the vehicle type and manufacturers recommendation. Check your vehicle’s handbook, or ask Roadwheel to look this up for you.
Failing to replace your tyres before they reach this minimum limit could result in a hefty fine and penalty points on your licence.

6. Check for damage and unusual wear and tear
Tyres can get cuts and lumps caused by various things such as potholes or an impact with the kerb. If you notice any damage on your tyres, or your vehicle has been involved in an emergency manoeuvre like sudden heavy braking, you must have them checked as quickly as possible by a tyre specialist such as Roadwheel, as this sort of damage can lead to sudden tyre failure.

7. Refill your screenwash bottle
The screenwash reservoir should be topped up regularly, especially before a big journey. This is essential for removing dirt, muck and insects from the windscreen and ensuring you have clear visibility.
The premixed screenwash at petrol stations have cleaning agents that can cut through dirt, as well as coolant meaning it won’t freeze and expand in the pipes and washer bottle during winter.

8. Ensure all your lights are working properly
Another important check to consider is testing all of your car’s lights to ensure that they’re in working order. This includes car headlights, brake lights, reverse light, indicators and internal cabin lights.

9. Check wiper blades
You can’t trust the weather, especially when holidaying in the UK, so a good effective set of windscreen wipers are a must to ensure you can see the road clearly. Wipers are probably the least hardy part of your car and will inevitably become damaged over time. Check the blades for any splits in the rubber edge, which could prevent the wiper from clearing water or leave streaks in the line of view. It’s easy to neglect this part of the car, but wipers are essential to clear anything on the windscreen.

10. Switch on the air con
Car air conditioning needs regular maintenance to ensure it is functioning as effectively as possible and travelling without functioning air con can make a journey unpleasant. Generally you will lose between 5-10% of your air conditioning gas each year until it reaches a point where you will notice a fall in performance. You may simply need an air con re-gas which we can do here at Roadwheel while you wait.

We do free tyre and safety checks on all vehicles here at Roadwheel so if you’ve got any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

WHY ARE CATALYTIC CONVERTERS IMPORTANT?

A catalytic converter is a particle converter, it cleans the exhaust gases and prevent the air from being flooded with pollutants and toxic gases produced by your exhaust. They have been a legal requirement on all new petrol and diesel cars since 1993 so your car likely has one.

Your exhaust creates emissions like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, which are harmful and damaging to the atmosphere. The catalytic converter reduces the total amount of these pollutants. It does this by converting them into water vapour and gases which are less harmful, by catalysing a redox reaction (an oxidation and a reduction reaction).

The average life for a catalytic converter is 100,000 miles. You should then consider either getting your converter regenerated or replaced. Regenerating a catalytic converter is essentially just cleaning it.

What happens if I don’t get a catalytic converter replacement?
In the event that your catalytic converter is damaged and you don’t replace or repair it, it can have a negative effect on how your car performs.
In the early stages of breakdown, the converter does not immediately affect the engine of your car. However, the longer it is left without being repaired, the more damage occurs to the engine – to the point that it will deteriorate significantly in performance.
This in turn also affects the exhaust, as it becomes blocked. This impairs your car’s functionality. Catalytic converter issues also mean that while your car is running, there is an increase in harmful exhaust emissions, which are dangerous to the atmosphere. A damaged converter can lead to your engine shutting down entirely if left without repair or replacement.

Signs that you need a catalytic converter replacement
While having to replace parts of your car can be bothersome, replacing your catalytic converter is certainly cheaper than having to pay for a new car. One of the best ways to prevent any lasting damage is to identify any issues with your catalytic converter as soon as they happen. Some of the main symptoms of an ineffective converter are:
– Slow engine performance
– Reduced acceleration range
– Additional heat from under your car
– The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur coming from your exhaust
– Dark smoke coming from your exhaust
These symptoms can be the result of other issues, however, you should take your car to be checked as soon as possible so that the cause can be diagnosed. By ensuring that your car undergoes regular maintenance checks, you can reduce the chance of any issues falling under the radar.

If you’ve got any concerns about your car or catalytic converter, drop in to Roadwheel or give us a call and we’ll be happy to take a look.

HOW TO SPOT TYRE DAMAGE

Often, tyre damage can go unnoticed, however, tyre damage can be really dangerous so it’s important to check them regularly. Tyres keep your vehicle in contact with the road so any damage that has occurred can cause serious issues. Read below to find out how to spot tyre damage:

Tyre cuts
Cuts on your tyres can be caused by objects in the road’s surface such as pot holes or debris on the roads which can damage the surface of the tyre. In unlucky situations, tyre cuts can instantly cause tyre failure. However, this isn’t usually the case. Most cuts occur on the tyre sidewalls. If you discover any cuts on your tyres, you should get the tyre examined by a professional.

Tyre bulges
These usually occur as a result of your tyre impacting heavily on a solid object such as the kerb. This may not be noticeable straight away but later you may notice that the tyre is bulging where the impact occurred. The bulge will become a weak spot on the tyre and is best to get this checked as soon as possible.

Irregular tyre wear
Tyre wear occurs naturally and the speed that your tyres wear down is due to your driving style and how often you drive. Tyres under 1.6mm are below the legal limit and need to be changed. However, tyres that are under 3mm can wear down rapidly and lose grip.
If your tyres are over or under inflated, they can be subject to irregular wear, which means that your tyre may need to be replaced more quickly than necessary. If your tyres are over-inflated the tyres will wear down more in the centre. As a result, the contact patch between the tyre and the road is reduced. Under-inflated tyres also cause uneven wear but in this case to the edges of the tyre. This means that the fuel economy of your vehicle is reduced and you will have to fill up more often.

Punctures
Punctures are one of the most common types of tyre damage. When sharp objects from the road’s surface pierce the tyre, this causes air to leak out. The clearest sign of a puncture is a deflated tyre as air has leaked out through the hole in the tyre. Tyres that use technology, such as Continental’s ContiSeal™, puntures up to 5mm are sealed giving you extended mileage and mileage to safely reach a garage. Continental’s self-supporting Runflats as they allow the driver to continue driving for up to 50 miles (at a maximum speed of 50mph).

If you have any concerns about your tyres, drop in to Roadwheel for a free tyre safety check.

FUEL EFFICIENCY

Running a car can be expensive, especially when it comes to fuel which can fluctuate in price. Fuel prices are relatively low at the moment, the lowest they’ve been since 2016. However over the past years where fuel prices have been high, this has led to many people having to consider a different, cheaper mode of transport.
There are lots of benefits to reducing fuel consumption and getting more for your money. Below are our top tips for improving fuel efficiency:

Tyre Pressures
Tyres typically lose air naturally so checking your tyre pressures regularly can help you to preserve your fuel for as long as possible. Making sure there is enough air in your tyres prolongs the life of the tyre tread and improves fuel efficiency as there is less rolling resistance with the road.

Lighten the Load
The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it will need to keep it moving, especially when driving in stop-start traffic.
On average an extra 50kg of weight in a vehicle will increase fuel consumption by 1-2%, so whilst it can be easy to get in the habit of using your car as a storage space, it’s best to only carry the essentials.

Combine Journeys
Once the engine is warm, it will operate at it’s most efficient, whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage could be the same, so consider combining trips and making one round trip rather than several shorter ones.

Air Con
Air con and heat both use engine power which decreases fuel consumption. If you let your air-con refrigerant get low, your air-conditioning system will start blowing warmer air out. This means your air-con system will be working harder to produce cold air even though it’s unable to. This additional effort places more strain on the vehicle’s engine, resulting in more fuel.
We recommend getting your air-con system regassed every two years, which we can do here at Roadwheel.

Wheel Alignment
The most important reason for having a correct wheel alignment is safety. Having this checked every year ensures your tyres wear evenly and last longer, adding up to 12,000 miles to the life of your tyres.
Having even tyre wear reduces the rolling resistance with the road and in turn helps to improve fuel efficiency. We carry out wheel alignments here at Roadwheel so gives us a call to get this checked!

Servicing
Maintaining your vehicle is one of the best ways to ensure your car runs efficiently and stays in good shape. From checking brakes to regular oil changes, a full service can reduce the burden on your engine and help to provide improved miles per gallon.

Driving Style
There’s no doubt that the speed you drive at is arguably the most influential factor affecting fuel consumption. Adopting bad driving habits such as speeding and excessive acceleration will drain fuel. There are a number of ways you can change your driving habits to have a significant impact on the money you spend at the pump, such as using cruise control which helps to maintain a constant speed and make the best use of your fuel. Sudden braking will also have a detrimental effect on your MPG, so making sure you leave enough distance between yourself and the car in front whilst driving will mean you’re not constantly hitting the brake pedal.

EU Tyre Label
It’s important to choose the right tyres. All new tyres purchased in the UK come with an EU tyre label, which is there to help you make an informed choice when choosing a new tyre. Tyres are rated in 3 categories: fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise.
Fuel efficiency is rated on a scale from A to F, with an A-rating being the best result possible. These tyres require less energy to roll, and therefore burn less fuel. So, if you want new tyres with good fuel economy, look to the EU tyre label for guidance.

Take a look at our website to see what services we offer here at Roadwheel to keep your car running smoothly and efficiently.

COMMON EXHAUST PROBLEMS AND HOW TO SPOT THEM

Your car’s exhaust system is a series of tubes and chambers designed to move gas away from the engine and reduce the noise that it makes.
Your car exhaust emissions system is crucial for your car to operate safely. There are six gases produced by the basic function of your car’s engine: nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. The exhaust system collects these noxious gases, removes the hazardous elements of these gases before safely distributing them out of the car and into the outside atmosphere.

If your car exhaust system fails, these dangerous fumes could enter the vehicle cabin, polluting the air that you and your passengers breathe, causing damage to your health. Failure of your exhaust system can also lead to the harmful elements of the fumes not being filtered out before being released into the atmosphere, exposing the surrounding air and those breathing it to these gases.

Current regulations state that the police can warrant the removal of any vehicle from the roads on the suspicion that it is producing excessive amounts of pollutant gases from the exhaust.

A healthy car exhaust system, alongside rerouting engine fumes, will also provide:

– Optimum fuel efficiency
– Improved engine performance
– Noise control and quieter running

Below we have listed the most common exhaust problems and how you can spot these:

Rust
There’s no enemy quite as dangerous for the exhaust system as rust. Taking short trips frequently lets water vapor collect in the exhaust system, but it never gets hot enough to burn off. Gradually this condensation will turn to rust and corrode your exhaust from the inside out.
For rust and corrosion, you’ll be able to see external rust immediately. However, it isn’t always as serious as it first appears, as it may only be on the surface. However, if the component has rusted through or is rusted from the inside (due to internal condensation build-up) it may be a cause for concern. Use a screwdriver to gently prod rusty areas; if the structural integrity feels weak or a hole is formed, it is a sure sign that you’ll need an exhaust replacement, at least for this section,

Faulty oxygen sensor
Despite many of today’s cars having numerous oxygen sensors, a malfunction in just one can be enough to confuse the computer. If your oxygen sensor becomes faulty, the engine’s computer can’t create the correctly balanced air-fuel mixture. This could lead to a mixture that’s low on air and high on gas, a blend that’s hotter than intended and may cause a clog in your catalytic converter.

Exhaust leaks
Rough road conditions are difficult for many vehicles to handle. If you regularly drive on rough roads, your exhaust system may not last as long as it normally would. The bumps, holes, and shaking that happen while you drive in these conditions can lead to weak areas, like joints, to crack and leak poisonous fumes into the passenger cabin. That is a serious issue that you need to get repaired immediately.

Clogged muffler
Another problem that arises from frequent rough road conditions is a clogged muffler. While driving on bumpy roads, small internal parts can come loose, leading to a clogged muffler.

Broken hangers
Hangers are the handy little parts that are meant to protect your exhaust system from banging around when you hit a bump. However, they aren’t invincible. Once the hanger breaks and falls off, all the exhaust pipes become free to move around. Their movement may lead to dents, cracks and, in some cases, entire pieces of the exhaust system to break off.

Vibrations
Strange vibrations coming from your steering wheel or gas pedal are pretty good signs that your exhaust system is in need of repair. If it’s bad enough, your whole car may be shaking. These vibrations pose a real threat to not only your car’s health but also your own because they can alter your ability to control the vehicle with precision.

Increased engine noise
Listen out for unusual sounds coming from your exhaust system. A noisy exhaust or an exhaust that is making strange sounds is a sure way to detect a problem as well as indicate potential damage.
The silencer is the part of the exhaust that usually needs attention first due to its tendency to become corroded by acidic moisture. If you have a problem with your silencer, you’ll be able to hear it as your exhaust will begin to make a loud roaring noise.
Other noises to listen out for include hissing, chugging, loud metallic vibrations and rattling, with each of these noises being linked to a different issue. Hissing noises typically indicate a crack in the exhaust manifold, exhaust pipe or a leaking gasket, while the presence of a chugging noise coming from your exhaust could mean a blockage in the exhaust system.

Exhaust smoke
Your exhaust might not be the problem. Should your exhaust begin to produce smoke, this typically isn’t a sign of a problem with the exhaust but rather an issue with the engine.
Black exhaust smoke means that your engine is burning fuel too quickly, if this occurs check your air filter, fuel injectors and the fuel pressure regulator. On the other hand, if you see white smoke coming from the exhaust, it may be nothing to worry about as it could simply be a build-up of condensation in the exhaust system.
However, if the exhaust continuously emits white smoke, this suggests your engine is burning coolant and you may have a problem with your cylinder head or have a cracked head gasket. You’ll be able to spot if coolant is leaking into your engine oil as it will appear discoloured and creamy.

If you have any concerns about your exhaust, drop in to Roadwheel or give us a call and we’d be more than happy to have a look.

We supply and fit exhausts and catalytic converters from the three major replacement manufacturers (Timax, Walker and Bosal). We can also supply stainless steel systems to order. We carry approximately 500 exhaust parts and the popular catalytic converters in stock, but we can obtain virtually any part within one hour.

It is our policy to supply only the parts that a customer requires and we are happy to separate and fit individual components as necessary. All parts carry a minimum 2 year warranty.

STOPPING DISTANCE

Most drivers will have to perform an emergency braking manoeuvre at least once in their time on the road. When it happens, you want the car to stop in the shortest distance possible to avoid an accident.
Below are some of the things that can have an effect on how fast your car can stop; as well as what measures you can take to reduce your stopping distance.

Road condition
An obvious factor, many people fail to realise just how much road conditions can affect the stopping distance of a vehicle. Road conditions like standing water, ice and snow can have a huge impact on your stopping distance, as any slippery surface that reduces the friction between your tyres and the road is inevitably going to have an effect on your braking.
The friction between your tyre and the road surface will affect the likelihood of skidding. A soft tyre on a coarse road will have greater friction, and more grip than a hard tyre on a slick road.
In heavy rain, aquaplaning can occur where the tyres cannot disperse the water between the tread and the road surface quickly enough, leading to a loss of control. In wintery conditions, snow can become compacted in the tyre tread which greatly reduces the effectiveness of the tyres and their grip on the road.
This can lead to sliding and stopping distances 10 times greater than on a dry road. The best defence when driving in bad weather is to keep your distance and take it slow.

Tyres
Your tyres can have a huge impact on your stopping distance so it’s important to check your tyres often, especially in the winter months. Legally, tyres need to be changed when the tread depth reaches 1.6mm, but tread depth can have a huge impact on your braking distance long before you reach the minimum. Tyre treads are designed to disperse water on the road surface and if your treads are low, they are unable to do this and your vehicle is at risk of aquaplaning. As the tread reduces so does the tyre’s ability to grip the road, therefore it’s advised to change tyres before you reach this point at around 3mm.
At 30mph on a wet road, a car with brand new tyres will come to a stop in 25.9 metres. The same car travelling in the same conditions with tyres with a tread depth of just 3mm would come to a stop in 35 metres. That’s 35% further, despite the tyres still being perfectly legal. When the tyres reach the minimum of 1.6mm of tread, the stopping distance increases to 43 metres. That’s almost double the stopping distance of the new tyres!
Another thing to look out for is tyre pressure. Over or under-inflated tyres reduce the amount of contact between the tyre and the road which compromises vehicle performance, handling and safety.
Tyre quality is also an important factor. Buying premium tyres provides peace of mind that you are buying a quality product. There are plenty of tyre tests that show premium tyres are really worth the extra cost due to their high performance compared to cheaper competitors.
When travelling at 60mph, a car with premium tyres could stop as much as 16 metres shorter than a set of budget tyres. Premium tyres have other proven benefits, including increased fuel efficiency, lifespan and aquaplaning resistance.

Speed
Your stopping distance is made up of two factors. Thinking distance, which is the time that it takes your brain to process information and react, and braking distance, which is the length you travel from pressing the brake pedal to the car coming to a complete stop.
The speed you travel at is going to greatly affect your stopping distance, for example at a speed of 20 mph, you typically travel 6 metres before you make the decision to brake. With braking distance at this speed, it takes another 6 metres to come to a halt; that’s an average of 12 metres to come to a complete stop. With every 10mph above this, your thinking distance increases by 3 metres. Combine that with the braking distance and you’ve got a long way to go before stopping.
Once you reach 70mph on the motorway, your car can take an average of 75 metres to come to a stop. Combined with your thinking distance of 21 metres, that’s 96 metres, or the length of 24 cars, to come to a stop.
When travelling on faster roads, like the motorway, ensure you leave as much distance between you and other vehicles as possible and at the very least, follow the 2 second rule for safety.

Brakes
Maintaining your brakes is important and can make a big difference to your stopping distance. Brake pads have a block of friction material that pushes against the brake disc when the brakes are applied. This material wears down over time, and the brake disc can become grooved – causing your brakes to overheat and lose stopping power.
Ensuring your brakes are well maintained will help to prevent the loss of stopping power which reduces your stopping distance.
Here at Roadwheel we offer a free while you wait no obligation brake check. It takes around 20 minutes for the overall check and we carry many brake pads in stock. In the unlikely event that we do not hold the correct stock for your vehicle, our dependable supply network can have the parts with us within the hour. This enables us to take care of all of your brake needs, including fitting, within a few hours of your check. Pads which are still used, despite being near the limit can cause extra wear on the disc forcing you to buy discs when you may not have needed them – so feel free to come in for as many free checks as you like.

The Driver
It takes time for a driver to react to a situation and start to apply the brakes. The car carries on moving during this reaction time. The thinking distance is the distance travelled in this reaction time. The thinking distance increases if the reaction time increases. This can happen if the driver has an altered mental state such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is tired, stressed or distracted. Someone who is under the influence will have a much slower reaction and thinking time which hugely affects how quickly you can stop your vehicle in an emergency.
If you find yourself getting tired or distracted whilst driving, find somewhere safe to stop and take a break. This will help to keep you alert and safe on the roads. Remember, stopping distance = thinking distance + braking distance.

Make sure to keep your car in top form by booking in for regular services and checks to keep everything working smoothly and safely!

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CAR BATTERIES

Car batteries are the lifeforce of your vehicle. It’s what powers your car and keeps it moving, so it’s important to make sure you look after it as the last thing you want is for your battery to die.

Lights, heaters and wipers put high demands on the car battery. If your driving is mainly dark rush-hour trips, the battery will give out eventually.
Batteries rarely last longer than five years. Replacing one near the end of its life can save a lot of time and inconvenience at the side of the road.

How do I know if I need to replace my battery?

A slow starting engine
Over time, the components inside your battery will wear out and become less effective. When this happens it takes the battery longer to create a charge for the starter and you’ll have to wait a few extra seconds for the engine to turn over. If this starts to become a frequent occurrence, it might be worth checking out your battery.

Dim lights and electrical issues
The battery powers all of the electronics in your car including lights, radio and your dashboard computer. If you’re noticing the electronics in your car are struggling to run at their best performance, it’s possible your battery is losing charge and can’t power everything at once. The more things you plug into your car whilst driving, the faster your battery will die.

A bad smell
If there’s a bad, rotten egg type smell that appears when you open the hood of your car, it might be that your battery has experienced some damage or that it might be leaking gas. Take it in to get checked ASAP if this happens and replace the battery if necessary.

The check engine light is on
The check engine light can mean just about anything and whilst some of us might ignore it, it could be coming on because your battery is running out of power. It’s best to check your manual and get your battery tested by a mechanic.

The battery case has changed shape
Exposure to extreme environments such as extreme heat and cold can cause the battery case to become misshapen and the battery to swell and crack. If your battery is anything but rectangular, chance are it isn’t working properly.

Corrosion on your connectors
If you’re noticing that the metal parts of your battery are covered with a white ashy substance, your battery has a corrosion issue. Corroded terminals (the positive and negative connections at the top of the battery) can lead to voltage issues and trouble starting your vehicle.

Your battery is old
Car batteries typically last 3-5 years. Climate, electronic demands and driving habits all play a role in the lifespan of your battery. It’s a good idea to get them checked every 3 years just to be safe.

Below are a few tips to get the most from your battery:
• Avoid running electrical systems any longer than necessary – turn the heater fan down and switch the heated rear window off once windows are clear.
• If the car stands idle most of the weekend a regular overnight trickle charge is a good idea to give the battery a chance to revive.
• Turn off non-essential electrical loads like lights, rear screen heater and wipers before trying to start the engine.
• Use the starter in short five-second bursts if the engine doesn’t start quickly, leaving thirty seconds between attempts to allow the battery to recover.

Pop in for a free battery check up today, we are always happy to help!