We are so engrossed in our hectic life, that we tend to ignore things which seem trivial but aren’t. Maintenance of tyres is one of them, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be time consuming. Monthly self-inspection for tyre pressure and tread wearing can be done easily. Proper care and action then taken ensures an optimum performance, better fuel efficiency (extra money in the pocket feels good to everyone and anyone), your tyre’s long life and prevents some serious accidents especially in wet conditions. Given below are a few tyre maintenance tips that every car owner should follow:
Tyre Rotation, Balancing and Alignment
Tyres on the front and rear are subjected to different loads and different steering and braking mechanism which leads to uneven wearing. In order to increase the tyre life and performance, you should rotate their positions between 8000 KM to 11000 KM. Tyres are rotated from front to rear and rear to front that is in a specific direction. If you’re experiencing annoying vibrations or irregular tread wear then it might be a possibility that your tyres are unbalanced. Properly balanced tyres maximize their life and prevent uneven wearing. Balancing should be checked after new tyres are installed or after a puncture is repaired. Every vehicle has a specific wheel alignment setting. If your tyre is not aligned within the specified limits then it may result in uneven handling and tread wear, also increasing fuel consumption. You should get your wheel alignment checked when experiencing unusual steering problems.
Checking Tyre Tread Depth
When you check for tyre pressure (ideally every month), you should also check for tread depth/wear. Tyre tread maintains proper car traction on the road. With their wear your car loses traction and is more prone to skidding and sliding in wet conditions. Tread depth can be checked by a simple coin test. Insert a coin with the head of the national emblem towards the tyre, if you can clearly see the head then your tyre’s tread is too low. Also, there are tread wear indicators which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber. Wear bars will appear on the tyre when the tread is worn down to 1.6mm and it is time that you replace your tyres. When you check for tyre pressure (ideally every month), you should also check for tread depth/wear. Tyre tread maintains proper car traction on the road. With their wear your car loses traction and is more prone to skidding and sliding in wet conditions. Tread depth can be checked by a simple coin test. Insert a coin with the head of the national emblem towards the tyre, if you can clearly see the head then your tyre’s tread is too low. Also, there are tread wear indicators which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber. Wear bars will appear on the tyre when the tread is worn down to 1.6mm and it is time that you replace your tyres.
Replacing tyres and mix & match
Before replacing your tyres, always consult the vehicle hand manual for tyre replacement recommendations. Vehicle handling may be significantly affected by a change in tyre size or type. When selecting tyres that are different from the original equipment, make sure that proper clearance, load-carrying capacity, and inflation pressure are selected. It is always recommended to put new tyres on the back axles for better traction, if you lose traction on rear then the car is definitely going to spin. For optimum handling and control, it is recommended the four tyres should be of the same type and size unless otherwise specified by the vehicle manufacturer. If only two radials are mounted with two non-radials, the radials should be mounted on the rear. If you are using a mixed configuration, do not use it for long period. Always refer to the guidelines provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer for mixing and matching.
Proper Inflation Pressure:
Proper air pressure maintenance provides for better mileage, performance and safety. Under-inflated tyres are the major cause for a tyre’s damage. Under-inflation creates more rolling friction which leads to heating and mechanical damage, tread wearing and thus to a shortened tyre life. Over-inflated tyres have equally adverse effects. It causes stiffness as mostly the mid part of the tyre remains in contact with the ground causing tread wear and increases the chances of impact damage. Check your car’s tyre pressure at least once in a month and before a long drive (including your spare) with a proper measuring gauge. Tyre pressure is measured in PSI (pounds per inch), and it should be measured when the tyres are cold that is when your car has been at rest for some time. Pressure should be maintained at a level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer (as mentioned in the manual), this alone accounts for greater durability and longer tread life.
Driving at high speeds can cause damage to your tyres due to excessive heat build-up, high speeds can also lead to tyre explosions. Also abrupt application of brakes is quite bad for your tyres, as it leads to skidding and tread wear. Driving at a constant speed and avoiding excessive use of brakes increases tyre’s life. Do not excessively spin your tyres when stuck in ice, water logging, mud or sand. The centrifugal forces due to free spinning can result in tyre explosion and other damages. Use forward/ backward motion to set your vehicle free.
Vehicle’s Load Limit
Ever vehicle has its own limit which can be checked from the manual. Overloading your vehicle increases load on your tyres and other vehicle component, which may cause poor handling, increased fuel consumption and damage to your tyres. Also, when purchasing new tyres it should be ensured that they have the load index as specified in the manual. Apart from the above mentioned points, you should store your tyres in a cold, dry place and never let water accumulate in them. Follow these steps and inspect the spare tyre as well. You’ll be glad that you did it when in need.
Taking care of small things is what matters the most, after all it is your life (and that of others) which depends on the proper maintenance of your vehicle.