What your tyres tell you

Your tyres are your car’s only connection to the road. They are often overlooked as safety items, but sometimes they’re the first place where a problem could appear. Knowing how to read your tyres, is an important part of keeping your car running as smoothly as possible.

Here are a few tips you can use to check your tyres:

  1. Maintain proper inflation pressure in your tyres: Proper inflation pressure is necessary in giving you the best tyre performance, safety, and fuel economy. Remember to frequently (at least once a month) check your tyres (when they are cool) with an accurate tyre pressure gauge.
  2. Maintain inflation pressure at the recommended level: The recommended level can be found on the vehicle (look in the driver or passenger door for the tyre inflation information sticker) or in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Maintaining proper inflation pressure is the single most important thing you can do to help your tyres last longer and stay durable.
    • Under-inflation is the leading cause of irreparable tyre damage and may result in severe cracking and subsequent air loss. It reduces load capacity, allows excessive sidewall flexing, and increases rolling resistance, resulting in heat and mechanical damage.
    • Over-inflation increases stiffness that may cause an uncomfortable driving experience and generate unwanted vehicle vibration. It also increases the chances of impact damage.
  3. Don’t spin your tyres excessively: Avoid excessive tyre spinning when your vehicle is stuck in ice, mud or sand. This may cause tyre over-heating and irreparable damage. Use a gentle backward and forward rocking motion to free your vehicle. Never stand near or behind a tyre spinning at high speeds, for example, while attempting to push a vehicle that’s stuck or when an on-car spin balance machine is in use.
  4. Check your tyres for wear and damage: Eventually your tyres are going to need replacing. In South Africa, the legally recommended tyre tread depth should be a minimum of 1.6 mm. Any wear on tyres below this tread depth would require you to have your tyres checked and possibly even replaced. If you have any questions, have your tyre dealer inspect them for damage such as penetrations, cracks, knots, bulges, or air loss.
  5. Tyre pressure monitoring system alert: Refer to your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information on what to do if the tyre pressure warning system activates or consult a reputable mechanic or vehicle dealership.
  6. Don’t attempt to mount your own tyres: Serious injury may result from explosion of tyre/rim assembly from improper mounting procedures. Remember to follow your tyre manufacturer’s instructions and match tyre diameter to rim diameter. Only specially trained persons should mount tyres.
    • Don’t mix tyres of different sizes and types on the same axle.
    • When changing your tyres, be sure that you do not purchase or fit second-hand tyres, especially tyres bought from vendors on the side of the road. A second-hand tyre has exceeded its use and safety and therefore should not be fitted to any vehicle, there is the risk of tyre blow-outs on public roads that will result in accidents.
    • If you need to replace your tyres, have them replaced by a certified professional at a reputable mechanic or garage.
  7. Don’t overload your vehicle: Check your vehicle’s owner manual to determine the load limits. Overloading your vehicle places stress on your tyres and other critical vehicle components. This can also cause poor handling, increased fuel consumption and may cause tyre damage. Never fit your vehicle with new tyres that have less load capacity than required and remember that optimum rim width is important for proper tyre load distribution and function.
  8. Maintain vehicle suspension & wheel alignment, & balance & rotate your tyres: Lack of rotation, worn suspension parts, under-inflation, over-inflation, wheel imbalance, and misalignment can cause vibration or irregular tyre wear. Rotate your tyres according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations or at maximum intervals of 10,000 km.

Staying safe on the roads is important. At African Independent Brokers we’re all about safe driving. We want you to be safe on our roads at all times.

Did you know that African Independent Brokers provides cover for any extra accessories you add to your vehicle.

Chat with one of our friendly consultants today to find out more about our Tyre and Rim offerings. Telephone: 0861-001-002.

African Independent Brokers (Pty) Ltd (Registration number 2012/010479/07) is an authorised financial services provider (FSP38159), Underwritten by Dotsure Limited (Registration number 2006/000723/06), an authorised financial services provider (FSP39925). Copyright © African Independent Brokers (Pty) Ltd – All rights reserved.