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Car tyre pollution to become focus as exhaust emissions fall

A new study shows the tread coming off your tyres is actually worse than new car exhaust fumes. Here's how to reduce your impact

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If you’re the sort of motorist that keeps an eye on your car’s exhaust emissions, we’ve got good news for you: car makers are making great progress in cutting exhaust fumes. Cars today are a world apart from cars of yesteryear. In fact, so significant has progress been that attention might be about to shift to the next thing worth cleaning up: tyres. And we’re not talking about tyre shine spray.

New research has shown that toxic particles from tyre wear are almost 2,000 times higher than new car exhausts are these days. Emissions Analytics, the company undertaking the testing, found that “tyres are rapidly eclipsing the tailpipe as a major source of emissions from vehicles”. Milligrams of particles produced per km of driving was shown to be between 73.0 and 36.5 for tyres, whereas in the tests, new car exhausts output an average of 4.5. The amount of material particles released into the environment is of concern as over 300,000 tonnes of tyre rubber are escaping from vans and cars in the UK and US per year.

The issue isn’t made easier as cars gain in size and weight, meaning more wear and more small carcinogenic particles being released if you don’t properly maintain your car’s boots.

So, what’s the fix? Handily, there are tips and tricks to make sure your tyres remain as environmentally friendly as possible when you use them. We’ve compiled them below to help you stay as green as possible on the road. You’re welcome…

1.     Drive smoothly

Remember when you were learning to drive and your parents were annoying, telling you to not to brake late or accelerate too fast? Hate to break it to you but they were right. If you drive smoothly, less friction is exerted on the tyre and less particles are released into the atmosphere.  

2.     Keep your tyres inflated

Tyre pressure goes down over time as air escapes but properly inflated tyres allow force to be evenly distributed on the road. If tyres are over or under-inflated, they can’t make contact with the road properly and the tread will start to wear faster and unevenly. More wear means more tyre pollution so keep on top of tyre pressure by checking them once a month, and especially before long trips. If you’re unsure where to find the right tyre information have a look in your vehicle owner’s manual.

3.     Check wheel alignment

If the steering feels off or there are small vibrations in your seat, then it’s likely that your wheels are out of balance. Not only will un-balanced tyres make your car feel odd to drive, but they will also wear down faster. The pollution drill goes without saying now, so make sure alignment is checked when you next book the tyres in.

4.     Rotate your tyres

It’s not immediately obvious that front tyres tend to wear quicker than rear tyres, but they typically do because they bear more of the brunt of steering and braking. If you get them rotated, they will wear more evenly and the pollution prevention kicks in.

5. Eco-friendly tyres

Another area to explore is eco-friendly tyres. If you want to make a small change then green tyres are a step towards reducing your car’s tyre pollution. Michelin launched the first ‘green tyre’ in 1992 and since then the tech’s been improving rapidly. Tyres are increasingly made in more sustainable ways by using waste reducing manufacturing methods. The design incorporates more synthetic materials and rubber with silica which makes the tyres produce less friction and pollute less.

And of course as part of our meticulous pre-sale inspection at cinch, we make sure your car tyres are healthy as can be before adding them to the online showroom. You can trust the tyres on our cars will be rotated, inflated and aligned to perfection.  We’ll hand it over to you for the smooth driving bit…