Tyre Maintenance and Road Safety

Tyre Maintenance and Road Safety 

Tyres should be inspected often, and the following list highlights some of the faults to look out for. If any of these conditions are present, consult a tyre expert.

  1. One-sided wear. This takes various forms. A regular smooth band of wear all around the tyre on the inside or the outside of the tread is a sign of incorrect camber. Too much toe-in causes irregular one-sided wear.
  2. Tread-centre wear. Regular wear of this kind is normally a sign of high tyre pressure. Driving fast for long distances may cause this on low-profile tyres, because traveling at 120 km/h wears a tyre out twice as fast as travelling at 70 km/h.
  3. Inner- and outer-edge wear. If both inner and outer edges are worn, it usually implies that the tyres have been run at too low a pressure at normal speeds.
  4. Irregular bald spotting. Known as cupping, this is usually caused by worn shock absorbers, worn suspension bushes, or even loose wheel bearings.

The importance of the correct pressure can not be over-emphasised. If the pressure is too low it affects the tyre in a number of ways.

As speed rises, excessive contact patch deformation leads to a wave being formed in the tread, which generates excessive heat, causing structural damage or even tyre failure. The extra flexibility will affect steering behaviour, directional stability, durability and rolling resistance. Even occasional low pressure driving, or periodic vehicle overloading, may cause damage that only shows up much later as a blowout.

Tyre pressures, including the spare, should be checked at least once a week, before the tyres have heated up, ie before 10 km have been driven, using a good pressure gauge.

Missing valve caps should be replaced, since they are there to prevent dirt from clogging the valves, which could cause a loss of air pressure.

Tyre rotation is a very contentious area, with some companies recommending it, other companies saying nothing, and BMW for one advising against it. Rotating the tyres regularly evens out the wear, but eventually all the tyres will have to be replaced at the same time, which is expensive.

Tips provided by CARToday.com/CAR Magazine

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Source: www.arrivealive.co.za