When it comes to looking after your vehicle, regular tyre checks should be at the top of your to-do list.
Worn or damaged car tyres create a serious hazard for you, your passengers and fellow drivers, compromising your grip on the road, brake response time and overall control of the vehicle. Worse, failing to check your tyres regularly means you might not notice problems until you’re in a tight spot on the road, when you really need them to be at their best.
Keeping your tyres in good condition will support a smoother, more efficient drive, reduced likelihood of tyre-related breakdowns, as well as increased peace of mind on the road.
Get the pressure right
One of the easiest things you can do to optimise the lifespan of your tyres is to get the air pressure right. Checking the pressure and reinflating as necessary can be done at any service station, costs nothing, and should be done roughly once a month.
Your car’s user manual will tell you what the pressure should be – usually between 30 and 35 PSI. If you’re driving offroad (for example, on sand in a 4WD), you’ll probably need to adjust the pressure to accommodate the surface.
This is important not only for the longevity of your tyres, but also for your car’s fuel efficiency. Underinflated tyres have more drag on the road, which means burning through more fuel, as well as causing tyre treads to wear down faster and impacting directional stability.
Adjust your driving style
A degree of wear and tear to your tyres is unavoidable, but you can reduce the need for premature replacements by adjusting how you drive your car.
Over time, repeated hard braking and accelerating increases heat and friction that burn tyres down faster, while taking speed bumps, turns and potholes at speed can interfere with wheel alignment and can cause undue wear on one or more individual tyres.
Similarly, if you’re transporting heavier loads, aiming for an even weight distribution across the vehicle will help ensure all tyres are taking their share of the load.
Regular servicing is key
While knowing your way around supplementary checks is important, it remains essential to have your tyres looked at regularly by a mechanic. They will be able to spot the early signs of wear and tear, and advise you of an upcoming need to replace your tyres.
Experienced mechanics will also be able to inspect your tyres in relation to the vehicle as a whole – for example, they may identify an imbalance and determine if you need a wheel service to correct this.
Be aware of the warning signs
When should you get a tyre replacement? Knowing what to keep an eye on in terms of tyre problems will help you avoid costly and potentially dangerous breakdowns caused by blown tyres. Consider these alerts to book in for a tyre service.
- Worn-down tyre tread visible to the eye
- Needing to inflate your tyres more than once a month
- Vibrating through the wheels even on smooth surfaces
- Poor handling when driving; reduced control when braking or turning
Generally speaking, a set of tyres can last anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 kms – it really depends on the type of driving you’re doing, including road type and speed, as well as tyre quality.