Your tyres are the only part of the car that has direct contact with the road. Tyres affect your vehicle handling, ride, braking, and safety.
For optimum performance, tyres must have the correct air pressure, tread depth, balance and the wheels of the vehicle must be properly aligned.
While it’s easy to overlook those four patches of rubber called your tyres, performing a few simple checks can yield better fuel economy and improved vehicle handling.
Since most tyre damage and wear is a result of driving on tyres that are improperly inflated, tyre experts suggest checking your air pressure once a month.
Causes of Tyre Problems
Road hazards like potholes, glass and rocks are usually unavoidable. There are, however, three main causes of tyre problems that are avoidable: incorrect inflation pressure, speeding and overloading.
Taking precautionary measures to avoid them will ensure safer mobility and longer tyre life.
Under or Over Inflation
Tyres that are under inflated or over inflated can affect your tyre life, driving comfort, traction and braking.
Under inflation generates excessive flexing of the tyre casing, which results in overheating, increase of rolling resistance and premature wear.
In extreme cases, under inflation can cause tyre damage. Likewise, over inflation can reduce tyre life, reduce grip and create irregular wear.
Driving at Top Speed
Driving at high speeds has a greater chance of causing tyre damage than at low speeds.
If contact is made with a road hazard, it has a greater chance of causing tyre damage.
SpeedDriving at speed will cause the tyre a greater build up of heat, which can cause tyre damage.
It can also contribute to a sudden tyre destruction and rapid air loss if the tyres are not properly maintained.
Failure to control a vehicle if a tyre experiences sudden air loss can lead to an accident.
If you see any damage to a tyre or wheel, replace it with your spare tyre at once, then have it checked by a tyre specialist.
To ensure that your tyres are not overloaded, read the load index of your tyres, which is found on the tyre sidewall. Do not exceed the load capacity relative to this load index. Tyres that are loaded beyond their maximum loads can build up excessive heat that may result in sudden tyre destruction.
Also follow your manufacturer’s loading recommendations. Do not exceed the maximum axle load rating for any axle on your vehicle.
Make sure you have the right tyres
The speed and load ratings for your tyres should match those of the original tyres that came with the car, you should never fit a tyre with a lower speed rating or load rating than the manufacturer recommends for the car.
Maintain the right tyre pressure
Both under-inflating and over-inflating can wear your tyres out more quickly — and can damage them more easily. Under-inflated tyres will wear out faster because they overheat.
They also have a greater surface area contact with the road, which means increased rolling resistance — and more fuel used. Over-inflated tyres can undermine road handling.
Check your tyres regularly
Don’t just check the tyre ‘by eye’ – and kicking it won’t tell you much, either.
Use a tyre pressure gauge to regularly check all the tyres at least once a month, and once a fortnight is even better. Make sure you check the spare tyre as well.
Do the pressure check when the tyres are cold, as the heat of driving will raise the pressure reading.
Check the tread pattern to see that it meets the minimum 1mm tread depth — although it’s better to change the tyres long before they wear down to that level.
Make sure you use valve caps to prevent road debris from damaging the valve, which could make it impossible to refill your tyre.
Look for damage
Have a thorough look for splits, bulges, cracks, and any objects stuck in the tread.
If you see something like a nail or screw embedded in the tyre, do not pull it out. Drive carefully to a tyre retailer or service mechanic and leet them remove it.
Cars are like human beings, proper care and maintenance is very key to the survival of a vehicle on Nigerian roads