How Safe are Your Tyres?

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How Safe are Your Tyres?

In so many cases we see vehicles with tyres that have low tread depth or no depth at all. In terms of vehicle safely, the brakes and tyres are the two most important items to keep an eye on.  Worn tyres reduce the performance of your car and low tread depths decrease the effectiveness of braking, steering, and even accelerating – all of which are important in staying safe on the road. Moreover, in wet weather, tread depth plays a crucial role in dispersing water to maintain a good grip.

Checklist for tyres

  • Check for punctures, penetrations, cuts and bulges.
  • Cuts in the tyre could allow moisture to reach the casing plies. This is harmful for both textile and steel casings and will affect safety and tyre life.
  • Uneven tyre wear is a sign that wheel alignment needs attention.
  • Inner and outer edge wear. If both inner and outer edges are worn, it can suggest that the tyres have been run at a pressure, which is too low at normal speeds.
  • Irregular bald spot, also known as cupping – is usually caused by worn shock absorbers, a worn suspension, or even loose wheel bearings.
  • Missing valve caps should be replaced, since they are there to prevent dirt from clogging the valves, which could cause loss in air pressure.
  • Tighten wheel studs/nuts to the correct torque setting when mounting new tyres – also check for loose or missing wheel nuts.
  • Check tread depth on all tyres and replace well before they reach the regulatory minimum depth of 1.00 mm.

Tyre pressure

Over or under inflation reduces the contact between the tyre and the road and shortens the lifespan of your tyres. Make sure tyres are always inflated to the right pressure for your car. If you are not sure, check the Owner’s Manual or the display on the driver’s door side panel.

Don’t forget to also check that your spare wheel is in good shape, too, including a properly inflated tyre and that you have the correct tools to replace it. You never know when you might need it!

Maintaining your car’s tyres

  • Make sure the size and speed/loading ratings of your tyres conform to the specifications in the Owner’s Manual.
  • Check tyres and rims for any accidental damage after impacting with potholes/curb stones or other obstacles in the road.
  • Be sure to have your tyres, brakes, shock absorbers and rims checked when servicing the car.
  • Car wheel alignment should be tested at regular intervals to obtain even tread wear and maximise lifespan of tyres.
  • Once a month check your spare tyre when filling up. And if you have a ‘biscuit’ wheel as a spare, use it only to get to a garage to have your tyre fixed. Micro wheels are not designed be used for long periods or at adverse speeds.

Safety tip: If a tyre bursts, do not apply the brakes, rather use the gears to slow down the car. A sudden change in direction or braking on a flat tyre can result in loss of control. Rather risk losing one wheel than damaging more of your car!