Tag Archives: car maintenance

Ring makes tyre care easy

Recent research into the maintenance of car tyres by British drivers suggests that 40% of cars have dangerously uninflated tyres. The research, from Kwik Fit, showed that British drivers are risking their safety by driving on poorly maintained tyres. Underinflated tyres also make driving less efficient, meaning that it is costing drivers at the fuel pump as well.

To help, Ring, the vehicle lighting and car accessory specialist, has a complete range of tyre care devices that can help drivers to stay safe and save money.

Tyre Pressure Gauges

RTG4 Tyre Gauge

RTG4 Tyre Gauge

For an instant, accurate tyre pressure reading, Ring’s range of gauges are the ideal choice. The range includes the award-winning RTG4 Digital Tyre Keyring Gauge, which is a compact device with large a backlit digital screen. It has been praised for it’s easy to use design, LED light and easy to store size. Available nationwide, it is a good choice to keep in the car, just in case. SSP £8.99

To ensure safe tyres, drivers need to measure both the pressure and the tread depth. On passenger vehicles seating up to eight people, tyre tread must be at least 1.6mm: any less risks a fine. However, studies show that once tread depth goes under 3mm, stopping distance is affected, so it might be time to start considering new tyres. The RTG7 Programmable Digital Tyre Pressure & Tread Depth Gauge features a large backlit digital screen that shows accurate pressure readings, and also stores the recommended pressure levels for your tyres. It also has a tread depth gauge, which simply inserts into the tread to show how deep it is. Another award-winner, it is available nationwide,

SSP £24.99.

Tyre Inflators

RAC660 with backlit display

RAC660 with backlit display

Using a portable tyre inflator that runs from the in-car 12V socket ensures the tyre pressure can be checked before journeys – taking readings and inflation needs to be done when the tyres are cold to get accurate readings. They also save the hassle of queuing in the petrol station and can inflate a 13” tyre from flat to 35PSI in under three minutes. Plus, they are small enough to keep in the boot to use whenever needed.

Ring’s industry-leading RAC635 Preset Digital Tyre Inflator is a multi-award winning inflator that is easy to use, fast and accurate. The preset feature allows drivers to set the desired pressure, press go, and it will automatically stop at the set pressure. The inflator displays readings in PSI, kPa, bar or kg/cm2 and has a large backlit digital screen, so pressure can be easily read in any light conditions. The unit also has an integrated LED torch to help if inflating at night.

For a versatile inflator that can top up large tyres, car tyres, air beds and leisure items, the newly-released RAC660 is an ideal option. Powered from either a 12V socket or a mains socket, it can inflate a 13” tyre in under 2 minutes and has settings for airbeds, along with an eight-piece adaptor set.

Tyre maintenance is a safety essential – but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Ring’s range of tyre care essential will help drivers keep tyres topped up, with optimum performance.

Take control of your own destiny

As the headlines continue to be dominated with speculation about what plan will be put in place as a result of Brexit, the automotive industry is already feeling the impact of uncertainty. Ring explains how it is taking control of its own destiny.

Marketing Manager for Ring, Henry Bisson comments: “As an exporter of thousands of products every year, there was never any doubt that Brexit would have an impact on the business, we just didn’t know exactly what that would look like.

“The effect on currency exchange has already been felt by many with the dollar strengthening against the pound, meaning that the cost of goods has increased with no material price increase. Then there is the euro also gaining strength against the pound. This results in a double impact as we pay more but ultimately sell for less when euros are converted back to pounds.

“The obvious concern is that goods from the UK become consistently higher cost, encouraging customers to go elsewhere. Prices are already rising at the pump as people try to recover the gap caused by buying in dollars. This means logistics and distribution costs are rising, so eventually prices for aftermarket products will too.

“Conversely, in Europe, volume sales are rising as they benefit from the increase in the value of the euro against the pound. It can be argued that this does bridge the gap short-term but we have to consider the longer-term impact of Brexit.”

Working with distributors and retailers across Europe, Ring has remained close to contacts since the European referendum to monitor the changing reaction as Brexit talks begin.

Bisson continues: “Following the initial announcement, and the headlines that ‘vote out’ created, contacts have become cautious. They, like us, are waiting to find out exactly what happens now. In the short-term it’s business as usual but how long this continues is unpredictable.

Having such a strong network across Europe has given Ring a greater insight into the reaction of those it works with and has therefore also given the business a chance to step back and consider what its own response will be.

Bisson continues: “Predictions and speculation are exactly that. Until we get a roadmap that has the facts the industry will find it difficult to plan and that is why we have chosen to take control. We need to be ahead of the game and we intend to secure our business across Europe.

“We’ve worked hard to establish the Ring brand across Europe over the last 10-years and have a strategy in place to ensure that this will continue. Business across Europe has reported growth year-on-year as we offer an alternative to the traditional markets. In order for us to build on this success, and to reinforce our intentions and commitment to Europe, we will be investing in these markets.

“Far from waiting to see what happens, we are budgeting to invest in Europe and very much see the markets as an opportunity for further and future growth.”

In the wider automotive market, with more than 30 million cars on the roads in the UK, the industry is not going to disappear overnight. However, as an industry that relies heavily on export, predictions may signal the end for some foreign businesses that could simply feel it is too expensive to produce in the UK.

Bisson concludes: “We can only predict what foreign owners will do and use past experience to influence this. We are hopeful that production will not be moved from the UK, which would result in the loss of skills and jobs.

“That is why we are choosing to take a more pragmatic approach to Brexit. We can’t change it but we can plan for change and use this as an opportunity to strengthen the business in what will inevitably become an increasingly competitive and turbulent marketplace.”

Technician inspects engine bay.

DVSA raises the bar for MOT testers

Last month, the DVSA announced that the pass mark for the assessment to become an MOT tester is to rise from 50% to 60% – meaning that mechanics and technicians will have to work harder to be able to carry out MOT tests.

Integral to garages
Every car owner must take their car into a workshop at least once a year – for the annual MOT. For garages, it’s a good way to get customers through the door and maintain contact. Plus, the annual service and MOT means that other problems will become apparent, and more work can be carried out. So being a registered MOT test site has definite advantages, even if the profits on running the actual tests are low. Many would see carrying out MOTs as a typical feature of a garage – whether that’s a chain or an independent.

The government regulates who can carry out MOTs, demanding that all MOTs “must be conducted within authorised vehicle testing stations (VTSs) by nominated testers (NTs) approved to test the class of vehicle by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)”. To take the test to become a tester, you must:
• Have a current and full UK Driving Licence in the class of vehicles you wish to test.
• Be nominated by an Authorised Examiner.
• Have four years’ experience working on class of vehicles you wish to test.
• No ‘unspent’ convictions for criminal offences connected with the MOT Testing Scheme or the motor trade, or involving acts of violence or intimidation.

Annual review
The changes come into play after the introduction of the yearly MOT review, as opposed to the five-year refresher test that used to apply. The requirements are that each tester has three hours of training per year – one hour less overall than the 16 hours required every five years.

The moves indicate that the DVSA is focusing on raising standards. Some reports suggest that this increase in the pass mark is the first to be implemented – Garage Wire, the industry publication, has heard that the pass mark could be as high as 80% by 2021. This remains unconfirmed, though – for the moment, the 60% mark is the main change.

MOT test changes – the stats
• 60% – the new pass mark to become and MOT tester.
• 3 hours – amount of training needed per year to remain and MOT tester.
• Once a year – how often refresher course must be taken.
• Four years – minimum years of work experience working on the class of vehicle a tester wishes to test.

The RSC612 SmartCharger

A Smart Investment

Vehicle batteries are becoming more and more sophisticated. In a modern vehicle, your battery could be lead acid, gel, AGM, EFB or calcium – and have START/STOP functionality. These advances have helped batteries to handle the ever-increasing quantity of vehicle electronics, and START/STOP capability has cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

These advantages are great, but with better functionality comes a higher price tag. Replacing a modern battery can be expensive – up to £200. And with as many as 85% of all new vehicles in Europe expected to be fitted with START/STOP batteries by 2020 – and worldwide demand for START/STOP batteries expected to be as high as 56 million by that time – it is essential that we have battery care that can keep up.

Smart move
To help prevent damage – and keep vehicle batteries healthier for longer – it can pay motorists to invest in a smart charger. These battery chargers are more advanced than a traditional linear charger, and are therefore suitable for a wealth of different battery types – including those with START/STOP technology.

Smart chargers have a multi-stage cycle that charges, protects and repairs batteries. This means that instead of just adding charge, the charger responds to the condition of the battery, then applies the fastest charge available. It also has a repair function, which removes sulphite build-up on the battery plates. It also protects from overcharging by switching to a lower voltage charge once the battery is full.

Plan ahead
If you’re putting your classic car, motorbike or caravan away for the winter, a smart charger could help you avoid a large bill in spring. Smart chargers that have a maintenance mode are ideal for vehicles that are used infrequently; the charger will keep the battery in good condition and ready to be used while it is being stored. This way, when you go to use your vehicle, you won’t find that the battery is flat, or worse – damaged beyond repair.

Knowledge is power
A smart charger can also analyse the health of a battery. This will give you a full picture of the battery’s health, and potentially an early warning of any problems. It’s an opportunity to address issues before they escalate and become a costly disaster.

See the results
By using a smart charger, you could avoid an emergency and an unplanned expense replacing your battery. You could also help your battery last for an extra few years, which means spending less on maintenance and more on enjoying your vehicle.

For complete battery care, take a look at the RSC612/RESC612 Smart Charger. This 12A smart charger is suitable for lead acid, gel, AGM, EFB and calcium batteries, including those with START/STOP technology. It’s ideal for all 12V vehicles up to 5.0L.

See the RSC612/RESC612 in action – charging a battery and running tests.

Get your tyres into shape

Spring is finally here, and for many of us, it’s time to get back out on the road. Whether you’re travelling to see friends and family, seeing the countryside or getting out your classic car, it’s vital that you make sure your tyres are in good shape – and road legal.

Tyre care matters
Your tyres are the only part of the vehicle that has contact with the road – so keeping them well maintained is essential. It will make vehicle handling easier, and allow for greater fuel efficiency, as well as cutting down wear and tear – saving you money at the pumps and in maintenance costs. Poorly-maintained tyres could also mean a failed MOT – according to the DVSA, around 10% of all MOT failures are down to poor tyre maintenance.

As well as all this, there are regulations for tyres that you must meet – failure to meet these requirements could lead to a fine or penalty points.

Tyre tread
These are the legal requirements for tyre treads – if your tyres don’t meet these measurements, they are not road legal and need to be replaced.

  • Passenger vehicles for up to 8 seated passengers, good vehicles up to 3,500kg max weight and light trailers up to 3,500kg max weight must have 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the central section of the tread around the entire tyre.
  • Vehicles larger than 3,500kg or eight seated passengers and motorbikes over 50cc must have 1mm throughout a continuous band in the central section of the tread around the entire tyre.
  • On mopeds and motorbikes under 50cc, the tread pattern must be visible.

Why is it important? The tyre tread grooves are important for driving in wet weather – something we’re all too familiar with in Britain. The grooves help remove water from the contact area between the tyre and road, allowing you to brake, steer and accelerate properly. Whilst meeting the legal minimum tread depths will stop you from getting in trouble with the law, tests show that when the tread drops below 3mm, it significantly affects the stopping distance when braking.

How to check: a tyre tread gauge is a simple piece of kit, small enough to keep in the glovebox. You can get standalone depth gauges or ones that are integrated with a pressure gauge as well. The RTG2 Tyre and Depth Gauge is a standard set, with analogue kit. Or for an integrated option, look at the RTG7 Programmable Digital Tyre and Tread Depth Gauge. Just insert the gauge into the tread to take a reading. You need to check the tyre tread regularly.

Tyre pressure

There aren’t any legal requirements for tyre pressure, but this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Well-inflated tyres will help improve fuel efficiency and make handling easier. Don’t forget – it’s not just under inflated tyres that are dangerous: over-inflated tyres have less contact with the road, which can reduce traction and increase braking distance.

What is my tyre pressure? You can find out what your tyre pressure should be from your vehicle handbook.

How can I check my pressure? The most accurate way to check your tyre pressure is to use a tyre gauge. There are several types – including analogue and digital gauges. Simply insert the gauge into the tyre valve and you’ll have a reading. A simple analogue gauge – like the RTG1 Tyre Gauge – is a good value option to get a reading. However, for a more advanced solution, the RTG7 is a digital gauge that measures tyre pressure and tread depth, and is programmable – so it will store the recommended tyre pressures for your car for future reference.

How can I inflate my tyres at home? We recommend using a tyre inflator to pump up your tyres. These are small, efficient devices that are powered from your in-car 12V socket (cigarette lighter), a mains plug or, in the case of larger models, from the vehicle battery. For regular car tyres, we recommend the Ring RAC610 or RAC660. The RAC610 is a basic inflator with an analogue dial. For a more advanced piece of kit, the RAC660 is a good choice – it inflates a 13″ tyre in under 2 mins with either DC or AC power, has a digital screen, adaptors for bikes, LED light, preset function and case.

Other tyre essentials
If you see anything that looks irregular on your tyre, like lumps, bumps, cuts, tears or anything that looks like it shouldn’t – it’s time to get your tyres looked at. It is also illegal to have different types of tyres fitted to the same axle – don’t mix and match radial and cross-ply tyres. A garage will be able to advise on this.

Check today
Most people wait until they’ve failed their MOT before addressing the health of their tyres. To make sure you’re being safe, don’t wait: have a look at your tyres today.

Want more details? See our full tyre care range. Or see our video on how to inflate a car tyre.