A flat tyre is not only an accident waiting to happen but could also blow a hole in your car insurance no-claims bonus, according to the RAC Foundation.
With 40 people killed and scores injured a year in crashes caused by defective or wrongly inflated tyres, it urges a five-wheel check in the run-up to the Easter getaway.
That fifth wheel, the spare, should be discarded after six years whether used or not, because as the rubber dries out over time it may distort and fail.
Said spokesman Philip Gomm: "Tyres deteriorate with age. Just because it has sufficient tread, this doesn't make it safe. Check carefully for signs of cracking and ageing.
"If in doubt, ask an expert. Manufacturers recommend that tyres be replaced if they are more than 10 years old, and drivers can find the date of production stamped into the rubber of the sidewall. Unfortunately, only half the driving population know this information is there."
Meanwhile, under-inflated tyres reduce fuel economy by up to 10% because of the extra rolling resistance to the road, which in the best of circumstances accounts for 20%-30% of fuel consumption.
Copyright © Press Association 2009