Free service station tyre pressure checks extended

Published 28 September 2015

A free service allowing drivers to check their tyre pressures free of charge at Keele Services on the M6 is to be extended until 2016.

The service is run by WheelRight in partnership with Highways England and is located at the southboud facilities.

The pilot project began in March 2015, and aims to make drivers aware of potential tyre problems before they rejoin the motorway, reducing the risk of a serious incident.

Keele was chosen because Highways England figures show that area of the M6 is particularly prone to tyre-related breakdowns and incidents. Across England, there are 3,600 wheel or tyre-related incidents on the country’s motorways and major A-roads every month.

The project has been so successful – now testing more than 1,000 vehicles a week – it has now been extended until Thursday 31 December.

Under the scheme, drivers can drive their lorry, van or car through one of two dedicated sensor stations which instantly assess each vehicle’s actual tyre pressures. The sensors then provide the driver with a print-out detailing the inflation of every tyre.

The whole process takes 30 seconds with the sensor stations offering a self-service facility – although WheelRight’s on-site staff are on hand to offer help and advice to all drivers.   

Both the printed read out and the WheelRight representatives will give advice on the correct pressures for individual vehicles and inflation facilities for both lorries and cars are also provided at the service area, so drivers can take immediate action in the event of a poor tyre pressure reading.

Government figures suggest one in 12 HGV tyres is dangerously underinflated with the figure one in eight for cars. Many car drivers and commercial van and lorry drivers do not know the correct tyre pressure for their vehicles, although they can also get advice on that at the pilot sensor stations.

Many commercial drivers also leave tyre maintenance to their depots and do not check pressures themselves with hard-to-reach tyres, on the inside of axles for example.

Highways England’s incident prevention team is also investigating ways of quickly scanning vehicles, especially lorries, for other issues such as tyre tread depth, overheating brakes or axles which can cause lorries to break down suddenly, leading to congestion.

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