Snapshot – Engine or no engine, tyres move your car, period. A critical component for a car’s running, both in terms of performance and safety, the tyre is often a neglected portion of the car as it remains mostly in the background, a silent performer that hardly comes into focus until say, you’re stranded with a puncture or say when the time for tyre replacement arrives. Taking good care of tyres can go a long way in making your commutes safer, your fuel efficiency better and tyre life longer. CarToq lists out 10 tips to get your car’s tyres to last longer.
Maintaining the correct tyre pressure goes a long way in keeping your tyres at their optimum health for miles and miles. Overinflating decreases the tyre’s contact patch and puts extra load on the tyre, resulting in faster degradation and this won’t be visible to the eye. Also, overinflation results in transmitting stress on suspension and chassis components of your car instead of playing a cushioning role. A bumpy ride is another problem caused due to overinflation. Underinflation on the other hand is downright dangerous as it puts undue stress on the sidewalls of the tyre and overheats it. This could lead to a potential tyre burst, and a nasty accident. Ensure that you drive around with the optimum tyre pressure recommended by the car manufacturer, depending on the number of people/amount of luggage in the car. Do not ignore the spare tyre during tyre inflation.
Wheel Alignment and Balancing
Getting your tyres and wheels balanced at mileages recommended by the car manufacturer goes a long way in preventing uneven wear to the tyres and additional wear of the suspension components. If you drive on bad roads for most part of your commutes, it would be a good idea to get the wheels aligned and balanced more frequently. A 5000 kilometer wheel alignment and balancing interval is recommended for those who frequently drive on bad roads. Also, taking a pothole or other such road imperfections at speed could cause the alignment to go awry, necessitating a wheel alignment job. Keep a close watch on how the steering responds to your inputs. Any pulling to the left or right, or unusual vibration at speed, could mean a pending wheel alignment and balancing job. Also, ensure that you get both wheel alignment and balancing done during the same session.
Rotating tyres during each wheel alignment and balancing session is important to ensure even wear of tyres. This should include the spare tyre as well. Not adhering to tyre rotation religiously could leave you with one or more tyres facing uneven wear and a tyre replacement much before schedule, which could have easily been prevented.
Replacing Valves and Valve Caps
While replacing old tyres with new ones, do ensure that you get valves and valve caps also replaced. Like the spare tyre, valves and valve caps are usually neglected items. Valves can fail very suddenly and cause you to be stranded. Therefore, it is a good practice to replace valves and valve caps while buying new tyres.
Driving gently won’t just minimize undue stress on the tyres but will also serve to increase the overall life of your car. A good fuel efficiency figure and more savings in the bank are other benefits of driving gently. Hard braking, banzai acceleration runs, constant runs at top speed and hard cornering is good once in a while, but such actions in a repeated manner can lead to all sorts of problems, from low tyre life to tyre burrts. So, whenever you can, try to adopt a gentle driving style that will maximize tyre life greatly.
Avoid Stony/Rough Surfaces
Roads with sharp stones and rough surfaces such as gravel, uneven and broken roads cause more tyre wear. Many such rough surfaces also lead to punctures and sidewall tears. So, avoid such surfaces as much as possible and when you have but no option than to drive through such surfaces, exercise caution.
Say no to overloading
Overloading your car beyond its rated capacity for people and luggage is a surefire recipe for high tyre wear. Also, such actions can lead to tyres failing prematurely through punctures and bursts. Overloading also puts undue stress on other components of the car and is best avoided.
Immediately replace/repair a punctured tyre
After a puncture, people are known to drive until the tyre gets shredded. Even driving at 10 Kph for a few kilometers after a puncture can cause immense stress on the tyre, which may not be visible to the naked eye. Such a tyre is downright dangerous even after it is fixed as its strength is seriously compromised. Avoiding such situations and replacing/repairing a punctured tyre as soon as the puncture is felt is ideal.
Minimize speeds on concrete roads
High speeds on concrete roads like the one on the Buddh Expressway is a recipe for accelerated tyre wear. Also, high speeds on cement surfaces cause the tyres to heat up very rapidly and cause many a blowout. If you observe closely, the Buddh Expressway is littered with burst tyres and is notorious for accidents caused due to tyre bursts. So your best option while driving on concrete expressways is to slow down and stick to the speed limit. Also, taking frequent breaks in summer can help tyres cool off, maximizing their lives and greatly decreasing chances of a blowout.
Do not buy low quality Chinese tyres
Chinese tyres priced very low can be very attractive to folks shopping for new tyres. Low quality Chinese tyres are best avoided like the plague as they are not only untested but also come with a bad reputation for excessive wear, multiple punctures and blowouts. So, avoid low quality Chinese tyres like the plague. Stick to tyres with the BIS/ISI marks that assure adherence to decent quality levels.