Here are the 10 most important things you should know about tyres.
- Air. Proper inflation is the single most important part of tyre care. It is the essential ingredient for keeping tyres in good condition, to provide optimum performance and give maximum life. It is air that keeps tyres fit and safe and carries the weight of the vehicle and its load, not the rubber or the casing material.
- Tyres will provide greater life if they are properly maintained – it is an inexpensive task which takes only a few minutes at regular intervals. There are many individual causes of tyre problems. However, the three abuses, which will cause most problems, and the greatest costs, are under-inflation, overloading and speeding.
- Under-inflation causes excessive stress and heat, and can lead to tyre failure. Surveys show about 20% of all tyres are significantly under-inflated. Neglect of inflation pressures is one of the major causes of rapid shoulder wear, uneven tread wear and premature tyre failure. NB. It should also be stressed that over-inflation may also result in inferior vehicle handling, excessive wear and tyre failure.Always use the inflation rating recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. You can find it in the owner’s manual, on a door pillar or on the glove box door or fuel door of your vehicle. Check inflation when the tyres are cold and use a good quality tyre pressure gauge. Check or adjust inflation every few weeks, before any long trip or if traveling with a heavy load. Don’t forget to check the spare.
- Tyres lose air normally through the process of permeation. Changes in temperature can also affect the rate at which your tyres lose air. Generally speaking, a tyre could lose one or two pounds of air pressure per month in cool weather and even more in the heat.
- Overloading cars, light vans and lightweight trailers above what they are designed to carry is illegal. It also puts excessive strain on tyres resulting in greater than normal deflection and overheating. This in turn leads to more wear, greater susceptibility to impact damage and early failure. NB. Your vehicle’s handbook will give the increased inflation pressures required for heavy load conditions.
- Speeding over long distances on motorways at sustained high speeds imposes strenuous demands on tyres, especially in regard to heat generation. Tyres in good condition and correctly inflated are designed to withstand heat build-up at their maximum rated speeds. However, if inflation pressures are significantly below those recommended then excessive heat will be generated and wear will be accelerated and heighten the risk of premature, and in some cases catastrophic, failure.
- Balanced tyres are important for driving comfort and long tyre life. Unbalanced tyres cause vibration, resulting in driver fatigue, premature tyre wear and unnecessary wear to your vehicle’s suspension. Tyres should be balanced when they are fitted to wheels for the first time or after repair.Have wheels and tyres balanced if there are signs of vibration, wheel wobble or patchy tyre wear. Tyres should be balanced about every 20,000km and vehicle alignment checked annually or every 25,000km.
- Alignment of a vehicle is when the tyre and wheel assemblies are running straight and true and all suspension and steering components are sound. Proper alignment is necessary for even tread wear and precise steering. Uneven tyre wear or changes in your vehicle’s handling or steering response (i.e. pulling to one side) can indicate misalignment.Many vehicles today are equipped with rear suspensions that can be adjusted for alignment. Your vehicle may need a front-end or front and rear-end alignment, depending on the symptoms you are experiencing. The moderate cost of having your vehicle aligned, can more than pay for itself in tyre mileage, performance and comfort.
- A flat tyre is when a tyre loses all or most of its air pressure. It must be removed from the wheel for a complete internal inspection to make sure it’s not terminally damaged. Tyres that are run, for even short distances, whilst flat are often damaged beyond repair. Most punctures, nail holes or cuts up to 6mm, confined to the tread, may be satisfactorily repaired by TyrerightTM using industry-approved methods. Tyres with tread punctures larger than 6mm, or treads worn below 1.6mm, or any size sidewall puncture should not be repaired.It’s best to make sure your spare tyre has the correct air pressure, is always in good shape, and is ready to do the job when required. If your car is equipped with a ‘temporary spare’ tyre, be sure to check the sidewall for the correct inflation, speed, and mileage limitations.
- Tread depth on vehicle tyres is required by law to have a depth of at least 1.6mm. In wet weather, performance drops considerably below 2mm of tread, so change your tyres sooner rather than later.
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