Tyres are one of the most important, and often most overlooked, parts on a modern day vehicle. Regardless of the manner one drives, they are the main contact your vehicle has with the road, and many people fail to realise that tyres require maintenance on a regular basis for them to continue operating at their peak. So at whatever speed you drive, it is all dependent on the relationship between the tryes and the road surface. No matter how good the car you are driving is, its overall performance is directly governed by the quality of its tyres and the grip they provide. Experts have pointed out that balancing, wheel alignment and wheel rotation will do it while taking care of basic tyre components will save you from many things.
According to tyre experts from Tyre Rack in Windhoek, it is absolutely essential that your tyres have good deep tread channels to deal with wet conditions. “If the tyre is worn out, the remaining tread cannot adequately disperse the water at the contact patch. What happens next is that a film of water is sandwiched between the tyre and the road surface. Once this happens the grip totally disappears and the car slides to cause and accident,” said China Blaauw.
According to China, bald tyres are extremely dangerous because there is no tread to pump the water away and the car will be slipping and sliding as soon as the rain arrives. “The tyre does not have a life expectancy. It all depends on how treat it. If you mishandle your tyre, the faster you will need to replace it. People who like spinning or hand break turns will obviously have to replace their tyres in a short time.”
The breaking effect also has an impact on the tyre. It is understood that if a driver breaks hard, the tyre develops a flat surface and as such, the tyre is no longer round.
So when should one replace their car tyres?
Many drivers are oblivious about the information on the tyres. Tyres have wear indicators that tell you when the tread is too low. Look closely at the shoulder of the tyre and you’ll notice a number of marker arrows. “The wear indicators are raised bumps, around 1.6mm high, in the main channels of the tread itself. In Namibia, your tyre tread should be no less than 3mm or else risk the chance being stopped over by the traffic for a fine. So once it wears down to the top of the wear bars it’s time to fit some new rubber,” said China.
Align your wheels
It is also important to take your car in for wheel alignment. You will need to ensure that your car has its wheels correctly aligned. An incorrect wheel alignment will greatly reduce the tyre’s life. “Wheel alignment is to adjust the tyres up straight so that they can be in line. It is done to prevent the tyres from running out unevenly. We advise the clients to bring their car for wheel alignment after every 10 000 kilometers,” said China.
Driving a car with a bad wheel alignment will just scrub off the tread and wear the tyre unevenly. “You can have a situation where the tyre has quite good tread on the outside shoulder but the inside is down to the canvas. Watch out for things like steering vibrations or the car tracking to one side. This mostly happens when a driver encounters potholes, hits a pavement or drives over a stone.”
The alignment of the vehicle’s wheels can dramatically affect the way the vehicle handles, stops and how quickly the tyres wear out. Having the alignment checked will make sure all the suspension and steering components are in good condition, and will increase the life of your tyres.
“Having your tyres rotated and the balance checked at regular intervals will increase the life of the tyres, as it allows the tyres on both the front and the rear of the car to wear evenly and prevent any wheel vibration at higher speeds.”
It is a fact now that your car tyres are important. As such, drivers should be worried when they encounter any activity that may have an impact on their tyre. “If you hit a pavement, run over a stone, driven on a gravel or you have been involved in an accident, it should be a priority to check your tyres.”
He adds that some encounters like driving over a stone causes a bubble on the tyre and if driven to heat, it may cause tyre bursts. The tyre gets hard knocks on the side wall which cripples tyre efficiency. When driving long distances, China advices drivers to inflate their car tyres with nitrogen air that keeps the tyres in cool temperature and avoids tyre bursts. “Drivers can do this after every 10 000 km.”
For more advice on how to care for your car tyre, Tyre Rack in Windhoek offers wheel alignment, fitment and puncture repairs.