Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do in our lives and to think we rely on four patches the size of our hands to keep us safe as we drive on the road. The contact area between your tyre and the road is the size of your hand, and that’s it!
Buying a tyre is difficult and not cheap, so choose the right car tyre particular to your driving style and terrain. The next stage is to ensure you maintain your tyres well to keep you safe and to maximise the lifecycle of your tyre.
Here are some tips:
Check your tyres monthly for:
Pressure in your tyres – always maintain the correct tyre pressure
Tyres that are improperly inflated will have a significant safety implication, result in premature tyre wear, reduce safety and lowers fuel economy.
Check your tyre pressure once a month, preferably when the tyre cold or at least 6 hours since the vehicle was driven. As you use your car, your tyres will naturally leak air pressure. Use the recommended tyre pressure parameters set by your car manufacturer. The car manufacturer will have determined the correct pressure based on the weight of the vehicle and particular tyre specifications. The closer the tyres are to the recommended pressure, the greater the safety margin.
The key to tyre safety is to have the correct pressure to carry your vehicle’s load. Higher tyre pressures may stiffen the ride, but it’s a small price to pay for safety, plus the car can accommodate greater loads. View the dangers of underinflated tyres – here.
Maintaining proper tyre pressure also improves fuel economy, for every 3 units of PSI below recommendation, your vehicle consumes 1 per cent more fuel and incurs about 10 per cent more tread wear. Don’t forget the spare.
Regular tyre rotation improves tread life. Tyre rotation means to change the position of each of the tyres on the vehicle. The differing forces on the front and rear axles can lead to uneven tyre wear, and another factor is due to the natural weight distribution in the vehicle is uneven.
To ensure even wear it is generally recommended to rotate your tyres every 6 months or every 5000-7,000 kms.
Look for visible of premature and uneven tread wear or signs of damage
Once abnormal wear begins, it is very difficult to prevent it from growing. Uneven wear can be the result of mechanical wear as a result of misalignment, worn/faulty suspension parts, loose wheel bearings, worn steering mechanism and tyre pressures both (low and high).
It’s wise to always to inspect your tyres, look out for bulges or cracks especially after driving off-road or if you hit a pothole badly. Any structural damage to the tyre can prove to be a safety a hazard, especially if driving at high speeds.
When one or two tyres wear out before the others, this is usually the cause of incorrect alignment.
The benefits of wheel alignment include:
- Safe and predictable control
- More comfortable ride
- Reduced driver fatigue from making continuous steering corrections
- Improved fuel economy
Improper tyre alignment causes tyres to wear unevenly and prematurely. Check for improper wear due to wheel alignment. As a general rule, alignment should be checked every 8,000-10,000kms or at least once a year.
Remember once uneven wear begins, it’s very hard to fix. Look after your tyres and stay safe.