What car do you drive?
Discover all the Pirelli tyres that perfectly fit your car
Observe the rules of the highway code, always be careful and show respect for other drivers. Here is some good advice for driving safely, saving mechanics’ fees, tyres and fuel. For fans of sports driving only one thought is needed: the road is not the racetrack. That said, here is some useful advice from the point of view of road safety.
The first thing: without chains or winter tyres you won’t manage to go anywhere. The car will have no traction and on braking will be uncontrollable. Observe the rules of the road scrupulously and be tolerant of drivers in difficulty who are going slower than you. Increase the distance between your car and the one in front. To reduce the risk of sliding while going uphill you can use a higher gear than you would use normally in the dry.
When driving avoid sharp acceleration, sudden steering action or braking, to minimise loss of traction on snow or ice.
For optimum performance and safety, it is essential for all four tyres to be the same. Always use four winter tyres of the same brand, and with the same construction features. Fit tyres of the same size on the same axle, with the same characteristics of use, tread pattern and conditions of wear. The use of studded tyres, where permitted, must be extended to all four wheels. Consult the vehicle handbook for the correct load capacity and speed rating of the tyres to be used.
Inflation pressures must be checked regularly and carried out when the tyres are cold. If necessary correct the pressure, again when the tyre is cold. Keep to the pressures indicated by the vehicle manufacturer. Note, pressures change in relation to the external temperature: a pressure of 2.0 bar measured at +20°C decreases to 1.74 bar at -5°C and falls to 1.59 bar when the temperature is at -20°C (a change of 20%).
Pay attention to the speed limit indicated by the rating on the tyre sidewall. Optionally, the car may be equipped with tyres of a lower rating than that prescribed, adjusting the speed. In this case, the European regulations state that the reduction in speed must be indicated on an adhesive label placed inside the car (on the windscreen or dashboard so that it’s always visible to the driver).
The performance of winter tyres remains effective down to a tread depth of 4mm. Below this level they are no longer adequate for winter use but can be used as summer tyres down to the main tread minimum legal limit, set at 1.6mm.
When winter tyres are not being used, they should preferably be kept on wheel rims and inflated, and the pressures checked regularly. If stored without rims, they must be stacked on their sides no more than four per stack so that they are not deformed by the weight.
Rotate winter tyres in the right direction every 10,000/12,000 km.
Safe and successful off-roading is a combination of knowledge and skill. Understanding specific techniques for different conditions and realising the capabilities and limitations of your vehicle are critical, but the final factor is the tyres on your vehicle.
Tyres can often make the difference between getting out of a tough situation or getting stuck. The following information is designed to ensure that you get the maximum performance from your Pirelli tyres. If in doubt, always survey your chosen route on foot. In mud or other difficult conditions move off slowly and avoid spinning the wheels. Undue wheel spinning will cause the vehicle to slip and will fill the tyre treads with mud.
When approaching soft muddy ground build up speed in low ratio 2nd or 3rd, trying not to spin the wheels by extreme acceleration. Go too fast and you risk bouncing and losing control, too slow and you will loose momentum.
In severe mud the most difficult situations are where the ground has rutted channels and axle deep pits.
Try to straddle the ruts if they are too deep to drive in – this will avoid dragging the diffs through the mud, which will reduce momentum and probably leave your vehicle stuck. Always try to maintain a steady momentum.
When driving in ruts, vary the accelerator and move the steering wheel from side to side- this allows the lugs on the shoulders of the tyres to grip and bite into the sides of the ruts.
Never try to steer out of the ruts, let the steering wheel find its own way.
Whenever possible, check you wheel arches to make sure that they are not clogged with mud, this clogging will stop the tyres from cleaning the mud from their treads.
In light snow conditions the tyres will break through the crust and grip on the surface below.
Use high range ratio and avoid revving the engine, go into low range and use a very light throttle, this will encourage the tyres to bite and grip rather than slip.
In very severe conditions it may be necessary to fit chains.
The skill in tackling rock conditions is to keep to the high ground wherever possible in order to avoid damage to the diffs, transmission or skidplates. Torque is more important than power in climbing rock slopes, thus first or second gear in low range is best. Use light throttle to prevent tyre slipping.
For loose sand select high range four wheel drive – this will maintain speed, if, however the vehicle bogs down, move into low range. Soft, loose sand is traction sapping and requires continual momentum, often using full throttle.
When negotiating water it is important that your electrical system is protected. Silicon based grease on vulnerable items is a good idea. It is absolutely vital that your air intake will be clear of the water. Ingress into the engine is terminal and expensive. Before tackling a water crossing it is critical to survey the course.
Creating a bow wave means the water in front of the vehicle is deeper but a trough is created behind the wave, i.e. in the engine bay.
If you go too fast the bow wave will break over the bonnet losing the trough effect in the engine bay.
When clear of water always drive a short distance with the footbrake lightly depressed to restore braking efficiency.
Check your radiator is clear of mud and leaves, and of course check for damage to your tyres, as you will not have been able to see any potential damaging underwater obstacles.
For most types of off-road driving it is possible to maintain your normal road pressures. However, in severe conditions It is permissible to lower pressures to increase the tyre footprint and flotation ability.
NB: Never use the tyre pressures below 16psi. Re-inflate the tyres as soon as possible. On route to the service point,drive slowly, and under no circumstances exceed 50mph.
One of the greatest risks of driving in the wet is aquaplaning: how can you counter this phenomenon Aquaplaning leads to “floating” of the tyre and immediate loss of grip.
It is a dangerous situation which is typically created by tackling very wet stretches of road or large puddles of water, created by bad road surface drainage, at speed.
At these times, the grooves of the tread don’t manage to expel the water under the tyre and, in practice, you can suddenly find the car “floating”.
With careful driving and tyres which are not worn and are correctly inflated this danger can, on most occasions, be avoided, since treads are designed to drain the greatest possible quantity of water to ensure the best possible adherence.
Now that we’ve clarified the concept of aquaplaning here is some advice on how to cope with this situation. Braking is no use because the car is floating and moreover there is also the risk, as soon as the tyres grip again, that the car may swerve suddenly making you lose control completely.
The best thing to do is keep a firm grip on the steering wheel to prepare for "regripping" trying to keep the correct steering direction for the entire duration of the phenomenon and take your foot gradually off the accelerator pedal given that the engine revs increase rapidly as soon as the car starts floating.
Everyone knows that… you don’t brake on bends. And yet – pay attention observing the drivers in front of you – practically everyone comes into bends braking, before “letting go” of the pedal when they reach the centre of the bend. And everyone feels that they are perfect drivers since “you don’t brake on bends”.
It’s a shame that all the stage of establishing the trajectory has occurred with the brakes on.
Driving this way subjects the tyres – above all the front ones – to a double exertion: maintaining the trajectory set and – in addition – resisting the force of the braking system.
All in a play of forces that can also endanger the stability of the car (and therefore the roadholding).
For this reason it is fundamental to brake sooner, slow down in time and – above all – brake as much as possible with the wheels straight. Doing it this way takes advantage of the maximum adherence possible offered by the tyre before steering.
"Green Performance" technology means fuel consumption could be reduced and environmental impact limited. But a lot depends on your driving habits. Here is some practical advice on how to make the most of the money saving opportunities presented by Pirelli “Green Performance” products.