Tyre Care – How To Keep Your Tyres In Good Shape
Are you paying enough attention to your tyres? Even the best cars won’t perform well with bad or incorrectly inflated tyres. Bad tyres reduce fuel efficiency, tyre life and comfort besides becoming a serious safety hazard. Correct tyre pressure, wheel balancing, wheel alignment, tyre rotation and tread condition are the five critical factors in tyre maintenance. Regular vehicle service and a five-minute monthly check is all that is needed to ensure that your tyres are in good shape.
Maintain Correct Tyre Pressure
Always inflate your tyres to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. You will find this information on the tyre, on the side of the driver’s seat and the owner’s manual. Tyres tend to lose pressure with time (about 2 psi a month). Check the tyre pressures in all your tyres (including the spare wheel) once a month. Tyre pressures should be checked when the tyres are cold. So, it makes sense to buy a tyre pressure gauge.
While minor variations in tyre pressures are not problematic, serious pressure differences can be dangerous. When tyre pressure is low, rolling resistance increases and fuel efficiency goes down. In serious cases, the tyre may not be able to support the weight of the vehicle and may blow out resulting in a loss of control. Low tyre pressure also reduces the life of the tyre. You won’t even realise it because most of the damage occurs on the inner wall of the tyre. When tyres are overinflated, the ride will be bumpy and uncomfortable. In hot weather and on long drives, tyres will heat up and the pressure and risk of a tyre burst will increase.
Get Wheel Balancing And Alignment Checked Regularly
If your car shakes too much or tends to pull to one side, you probably have a wheel alignment problem. Uneven wear can result in misaligned wheels. Over time, tyre wear also creates wheel imbalance. Imbalanced wheels will result in uncomfortable rides and accelerated wear of tyres, shock absorbers and struts. Get the wheels balanced and aligned at least once in a year. Get your car checked if you notice abnormal sounds or a marked deterioration of ride quality.
Rotate The Tyres For Even Wear
Tyres should wear evenly to maintain stability and ride comfort. Due to the front-wheel drive, engine weight and the extra job of steering, front tyres tend to wear faster in most cars. Tyres must be rotated (interchanged) as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer to ensure even wear. If you don’t rotate your tyres, your front wheels will wear excessively and rear wheels will develop uneven tread wear. As a result, the ride quality and fuel efficiency will deteriorate.
Check The Condition Of Your Tyres Every Month
Tyres have a finite life even when unused because rubber deteriorates with age. Usually, the tyre manufacturer will specify a tyre life both in terms of years and mileage. When you cross any of those milestones, it’s time to get new tyres. Tyres may need earlier replacement if the treads have worn out or if cracks or bulges have started appearing.
With use, tyre surface wears and tread depth decreases. Treads are important for road grip, especially in wet conditions. They remove any water between the road and tyre surface ensuring good road contact. When treads wear down their ability to remove water diminishes. As a result, you could lose control on wet or water logged roads. This is called aquaplaning or hydroplaning. It’s like a skid; you can’t steer, accelerate or brake. The loss of control could result in a serious accident.
Checking the condition of the tread is easy. All you need is a 20p coin. Insert the coin into the tread and see how far it goes into the groove. If the tread is sufficient, the outer band of the coin should not be visible. If you can see any portion of the outer band, your treads have worn down below the legal requirement. Get your tyres checked as soon as possible.
Tyre Deterioration And Damage
Tread depth is not the only deterioration in tyres. With age, tyres tend to develop cracks on the surface even with low vehicle usage. Tyres can also sustain damages when you hit the curb, go over potholes or road debris. Such damage can result in bulges or cracks, which eventually weaken tyres and can cause blowouts. It’s important to visually examine your tyres for cracks or damage.
If you get your car serviced regularly at a good garage, you are less likely to have tyre issues. Periodic expert check of your tyres is the best way of ensuring that issues are promptly detected and addressed. At good garages, things like rotation, alignment and balancing are usually part of a regular service. Other than maintaining the right pressure and an occasional visual check, you have nothing to worry about. If you live in or around Manchester, bring your car to our specialist garage at Oldham or Bury for economical and expert servicing.