OF COURSE- YOU ARE A GOOD DRIVER.
All drivers, good and bad, must rely on four small “footprints of rubber”, placed on the road by their car’s tires.
Modern tires are very tough and reliable when looked after properly. But often, they are taken for granted. They are, after all, the only contact between your car and the road, which might be wet, dry, icy, smooth or rough.
Just a little care and a little ‘tire-know-how” will make your motoring safer, more enjoyable and more economical.
There are two basic types of tires. They look much the same from the outside but are made very differently and have very different characteristics.
All tires are made of rubber and have an inside casing made from fabric woven from either textile cords or steel cords. It is the angle that these cords run which determines the type of tire.
This is the older of the two and has the cords running diagonally across the tread pattern.
This type of tire has the cords running “radially” around the casing across the tread and a belt of textile or steel cords under the tread.
THE TWO TYPES PERFORM DIFFERENTLY, DO NOT MIX THE TWO TYPES ON ONE CAR.
It is advisable for new tires to be “bedded-in” at lower speeds for the first 100 kilometers to allow the tire beads to seat firmly on the wheel rim.
Some tires have a short, fat cross-section. These are called “low profile” and should not be mixed with the more usual types because they will make the car handle oddly. If fitted to the same size wheel as a conventional tire, the assembly will have a smaller diameter than it should and the speedometer reading may be affected.
Some cars are equipped with a lightweight, space-saving, temporary spare wheel and tire. The car and tire manufacturer clearly specify maximum speed, distance and use restrictions. These are usually printed in the car handbook and on the wall of the tire itself.
These restrictions must be adhered to and the temporary spare replaced by the repaired standard tire as soon as possible.
Manufacturers clearly state what the pressures of the tires on your car should be. The wrong pressures can make the car dangerous, shorten the life of the tire and result in needless high fuel consumption.
Pressures should be checked regularly, with an accurate pressure gauge, when the tires are cold.( pressures rise as the tire heats up). Often the pressure will be different for the front and the rear tires. Sometimes, pressures should be higher if the car is to be used heavily laden or for long distances at high speed – again the handbook will have this information.
Under inflated tires generate heat that soon weakens the casing. Their tread pattern rapidly wears on the outside edges of the pattern and the grip is inferior to a properly inflated tire.
Over inflated tires are susceptible to impact damage. Their tread wears rapidly in the center and they provide less grip that a properly inflated tire, especially on bumpy surfaces. They also give the occupants a rough ride.
When checking pressures don’t forget the spare.
Don’t break the law, a tire must not be unsuitable for the purpose for which it is to be used, don’t mix tire types. Tires should be properly inflated, have no deep cuts, a lump, bulge or tear caused by failure of the structure, have any part of the cord exposed, or have a tread pattern less than 1.6mm deep (2/32th).
These are just the minimum requirements.
It is very unwise to use any tire, which has a fault, always have it checked.
CAR TIRE MARKINGS
Different tire types have different size markings. It is very important that the size fitted is the size of tire recommended in your car handbook, or is an alternative approved by the car’s manufacturer. Size, tire type and speed capacity are all shown in the tire marking.
A car and its tires might have performed perfectly well for eleven months of the year when used for a short journey to and from work, or perhaps the odd journey to the shops a couple of times a week. Then suddenly it’s holiday time and the car is laden with kids, luggage, buckets and spades and is expected to perform just as well for a holiday trek of anything up to a thousand miles or more, at high speed, perhaps on fast, hot interstate routes.
Pressures are all important. Check the handbook and see if the car manufacturer recommends higher pressures for this sort of trip. Check also to see what is the maximum load suggested by the manufacturer for your car and keep to it. This applies to loads carried in the trunk, on a roof rack or to any tires on any trailer or caravan being towed.
Inspect the tread and sidewalls (inner wall too).Any damage will be aggravated by the holiday trip. If in doubt have your tires inspected by an expert, and if appropriate replaced. It is cheaper in the long run to do this than to have a tire failure that will be at least a considerable nuisance, or at worst a tragedy.
GET IT MENDED
Tire repairs should be carried out by a professional. Any time a tire is damaged it must be removed from the wheel and examined on the inside to make sure there is no hidden damage that could cause a dangerous failure later. For this reason externally applied plugs and liquid sealants should be viewed as a temporary emergency repair only.
Tubes should not be fitted to any tire marked “tubeless”.
A tube must be fitted to any tire marked “tube type” or not marked “tubeless”. Always fit a new tube with a new tube type tire. Never use old or heavily patched-up tubes.
Whether tubed or tubeless, the valve retains the air in the tire and is ALL IMPORTANT.
A rubber snap-in valve is usual with tubeless tires, but metal clamp-in type may be used with alloy wheels. Always replace the dust cap after checking pressures. Always replace the valve when you have a new tire fitted.
A BALANCING ACT
Properly balanced wheels and tires are essential for smooth, safe motoring. Out of balance wheels and tires show up as vibration of the car or it’s steering – often at about 50 mph.
Out of balance assemblies, impair road holding and braking performance and can cause uneven tire wear.
Always have assemblies re-balanced when a new tire is fitted.
CHECK THE DAMAGE
Tires are tough, but under-inflated, over-inflated or over-loaded tires are prone to damage of their casings. Neglect of any superficial damage can lead to moisture and dirt penetrating the tire, often making it become beyond repair. Running over kerbs or hitting potholes can weaken tire casings. Damage may not even be visible without removing the tire and inspecting the inside walls. Inspect tires regularly and remove any flints, nails or grit embedded in the tread rubber.
Like most things tires deteriorate with age. This can show as cracking of the sidewall and tread rubber.
TAKE A LOOK
The best way of ensuring long reliable service from your tires is to take a look regularly.
LOOK at the pressures-and remember to check them when the tires are cold.After checking pressures.
LOOK to ensure the dust cap is replaced.
LOOK at the tread, if it seems low get it checked by an expert.
LOOK at tires before taking the car on along journey. Make sure there is no visible damage and no abnormal wear. When buying a used car
LOOK at the tires to make sure they are the right type for the car- and that they are not “mixed “ wrongly if some are cross-ply and some are radial.
Avoid harsh braking, fierce acceleration and hard cornering. That is the way to get the best life from your tires. Do not overload your car and avoid hitting kerbs and potholes. Check pressures and inspect frequently for damage.Look after your tires and they will look after you.