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Cars & Motoring: On the Road Again – Are Your Car Tires Safe?

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Cars & Motoring: On the Road Again – Are Your Car Tires Safe?

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Written by  Laurinda Seabra
Monday, 24 July 2017 09:18

With holidays just around the corner, if you are planning on taking a long road trip using your car as the mode of transport, you must ensure that your vehicle is as safe as possible. One very important safety area is the status of your tires. So, before, you depart; make sure that you have your tires inspected by a professional tire service provider.

It is a fact that tires failure accounts for many road accidents. You may have the best brakes and shocks but if your tires are worn beyond its safety limits, you are in fact placed yourself and your passengers at risk, not to mention other drivers too.

  • Tires should always be replaced with the same size designation as recommended by the vehicle or tire manufacturer.  
  • Tire brand, size and tread pattern must be the same on each axle unless otherwise specified by the car manufacturer. 
  • Guard against used “tire imports”, many of which are beyond rethreading but are rethreaded and sold illicitly.
  • Similarly watch out for counterfeit tires - illicit copies of respected brands. In addition be careful of second hand tires. Many have defects that may not be immediately visible.
  • Never assume that the tires on your vehicle are correct, even if you have just purchased it.
  • Unless you bought new from an authorized dealer your vehicle may already be fitted with potentially lethal tires.

Moral of the story? Buy from reputable dealers.

Tire Pressure

The correct tire pressure is vital to your safety on the road. Under-inflated and over-inflated tires affect handling and grip, and can potentially cause irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior. These tires are also much more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout while driving, especially a high-speed. By keeping your tires at their optimum pressure, your running costs are also reduced. It is a fact that tires, which are not set to their correct pressure, wear out more quickly, not to mention that it results in higher fuel bills, shorter tire life, reduced safety and increased CO2 emissions.

  • Check tire pressure, including the spare, once a month or before undertaking a long journey. 
  • Check tire pressure early morning (low ambient temperature) 
  • Always use a reliable pressure gauge 
  • Use tire sizes recommended by the manufacturers at the recommended inflation pressure.

Tires Checklist

Tires should be inspected often, and the following list highlights some of the things that you need to focus on:

  • Check tires regularly for punctures, penetrations, cuts and bulges. 
  • Cuts in the tire could permit damp to reach the casing plies. This is harmful for both textile and steel casings and will affect safety and tire life.  
  • Wheel alignment - misaligned wheels will lead to excessive tire wear.  
  • A worn steering mechanism, ball joints and wheel bearings will also reduce tire life.
  • Consult your vehicle manual for the proper size and speed rating.  
  • Check the tires for one-sided wear.  
  • Check for tread-center wear.  
  • Check for inner- and outer-edge wear. 
  • Check for irregular bald spotting. 
  • Missing valve caps should be replaced.
  • Torque wheel studs /nuts to correct setting when mounting new tires - check for loose or missing wheel nuts.
  • Check tread depth on all tires and replace well before they reach regulatory minimum depth of 1.60 mm to reduce the risk of aquaplaning on wet roads. The tire specialist’s suggestion is to change the tires before 2,00 mm depth, mostly in the winter.
  • Tires, sizes speed / load ratings must conform to the specifications in the Vehicle Owner’s Manual.
  • Check tires and rims for any accidental damage after impact with potholes/curb stones or other obstacles in the road.

 Tires, brakes, shock absorbers and rims should always be checked when servicing the vehicle.

Vehicle wheel alignment should be tested at regular intervals to obtain even tread wear and maximum service life. Never forget that the four tires on your car are the most important components between you and the road, so make sure that they are safe. 

So, after you have done all of the above, we wish you a safe and happy trip.

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