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Tyres are the only point of contact between your car and the road. They, therefore, warrant substantial attention and care. Tyres that are in good condition ensure good acceleration, steering, cornering and braking. While most motorists check regularly on the oil and water levels, they generally neglect the conditions of their tyres. It is essential to take special care of your tyres as they are a vital component of road safety.
A flat tyre is not only a hassle; it can also be a major hazard too. Invest in a tyre pressure gauge and check the tyre pressure at least once a fortnight when the tyres are cold.
It’s important to know the proper air pressure of your tyre. This information can be found on a placard on the glove box door, driver’s door pillar, or in the owner’s manual. Inflate the tyres to the recommended pressure.
Do not under-inflate or over-inflate your tyres. It can upset handling. The slightest under-inflation can lead to excessive tread wear on the shoulders. Over-inflation will cause ride harshness and deformation of the tread and the tyres will wear out quickly along the centre. Lumps and bulges indicate that the outer rubber is separating from the main structure of the tyre. These can blow out and cause loss of control of the vehicle. Over-inflation is, however, recommended for long distance driving and/or when the car is heavily laden. Improper tyre pressure wears out the tyres, leading to costly replacements
Remember to conduct a monthly check on the treads. Remove any stones, flints or other foreign objects caught in the treads. If these are not removed, they may work their way deeper and damage the tyres. Any deep cut can be dangerous for driving. If you notice any damage or irregularity, seek professional assistance immediately.
Smooth or bald tyres result in skidding when you step hard on the brakes regardless of whether the road is wet or dry. Generally, tyres with tread less than 1.6mm in depth should be replaced. You can also compare the tread to the tread wear indicator (TWI), if there is any, on your tyre. A TWI is a bar, approximately 1.5mm high, located at the bottom of the tread groove. This serves as an early warning that you should replace your tyre. It’s not usually visible, but when it can be seen, it’s time to replace the tyre. If you’re still unsure about whether to replace your tyre, consult the manufacturer or dealer.
Each tyre wears out at a different rate, as each of them supports a different weight. For maximum tyre life, rotate the tyres every 7,000-8,000km. For high-powered vehicles, it is recommended that you rotate them every 5,000km. A common method is to rotate tyres from one side to the other. Alignment should also be checked on a regular basis – at every 16,000km.
Do not overload your car. Be aware that towing a boat or water scooter indirectly imposes extra load on the vehicle. In addition, you should avoid fast starts and stops, and sharp turns. Steer clear of potholes and hard objects on the road and avoid hitting the tyres against the curb.
Check that your spare tyre is inflated as well. You should have your car jack in your car at all times and learn how to use it.
Sports rims are very popular these days. If your tyres are fixed with sports rims but the spare tyre is not, do ensure that you carry the appropriate studs for the latter. The studs for sports rims are longer. If you do not have the correct studs, you will not be able to change your tyre, as the longer studs will not fit into the original rim. Do not attempt to fasten the studs by force. This may cause damage to the brake discs. Some sports rims come with wheel caps, which can only be removed using the Allen key or designated tools. To facilitate the recovery crew of changing your car’s tyres, please ensure that you have the studs and the special tool ready for removal of the wheel caps.