Tyres form a very important part of the car, the part through which a car meets the road. This also means that the tyre is the part that takes all the abuse that the road can throw at it. It goes without saying that taking care of your tyres is not only necessary from getting one place from another, it’s also vital for your own safety. Taking care of tyres just doesn’t mean getting wheel alignment and balancing done regularly. It goes much beyond that. Understanding what your car’s tyre is telling you is important for your own safety and your car’s reliability/longevity. Here are 5 warning signs you must never ignore.
A tyre’s tread is what gives your car the vital grip needed on the road for going around corners and braking. After prolonged use or abuse, a tyre’s tread will wear out. When the tyre’s tread wears out, it’s important that you get it replaced. If the car’s tyre is used at highway speeds, retreading is not recommended.
Every tyre sold by reputed brands will have a wear indicator. So, it’s important that you check your car’s tyres for adequate tread depth at regular intervals (say once every 5,000 Kms). Tyres with no tread left can burst, leading to potentially disastrous consequences.
If your car’s tyres runs for too long without alignment or balancing, there is a chance that they would have uneven wear. Uneven wear can also be caused due to worn out/faulty suspension components. If you leave the uneven wear of your tyres unaddressed, soon it could wear out the whole tread.
And you know what happens to tyres that are worn out/bald. Ensure that you inspect your car’s tyres once every 5,000 Kms for uneven wear. Also, sticking to wheel alignment, balancing and rotation procedures every 5,000 Kms will keep your tyres in top shape. Under inflation or over inflation can also wear out tyres.
Cracks and bulges
A stitch in time saves nine. A crack or a bulge on the tyre caught in time can save your life. If left undetected, a crack or bulge can cause the tyre to burst at high speeds. As a tyre ages, bulges on the sidewalls are common. This is more common in OEM tyres, which are often the cheapest set of tyres produced by a tyre maker.
Bulges and cracks/tears can also be caused due to sharp stones and poor driving habits. Whatever be the case, it’s unsafe to drive around on such tyres. Get such tyres repaired or replaced at the earliest, for tyre bursts are a major cause of road deaths.
If you feel a strong vibration/resonance in the steering, the wheel’s balance may be to blame. Such vibration could also indicate suspension problems. If left unchecked, a vibrating wheel will put undue stress on suspension components. And replacing a modern car’s suspension isn’t cheap.
Visit a tyre shop and get your car’s wheels balanced if you sense vibration through the steering wheel. Sometimes, a bulge on the tyre’s sidewall may also cause a rhythmic vibration. If you experience this, you will have to change the tyre as no amount of balancing can fix this.
A budget hatchback/sedan’s high quality tyres usually last for 50,000 Kms, while the OEM tyres last for around 40,000 Kms. If your car has clocked such a mileage and if the tyres still have good tread left on them, it’s recommended that you watch out for frequent punctures. Such punctures are signs that the tyre is on its last legs and needs replacement. Also note that rubber has a finite life, and the rubber on tyres that are over 5 years tends to become hard. It’s a good practice to replace tyres that are older than five years even if there’s enough tread left.