Warning signs of tyre failure

Loose-tyres-kill-three-wreck-carYour vehicle’s tyres play a crucial role to your car’s safety. This season, before embarking on any long journey with your car, it is important you ascertain the conditions of your vehicle’s tyres. The tyres of your car are one of the key factors affecting your vehicle’s handling and braking, and overall highway safety. What steps can you take to ensure that your tyres stay in optimal condition? Performing regular checks is quick and easy, and a worthwhile investment of time in you and your family’s safety.

•Trouble signs to look out for

Visually inspect your tyres on a regular basis. If you note any of the following early warning signs, have a professional inspection performed, check and correct items that may be causing the condition, or replace your tyres.

•Uneven tread wear

This can be caused by improper inflation, misaligned wheels, damaged tyres, or by problems with suspension parts.

•Excessively worn tread

Most modern tyres have tread-wear indicator bars running across the tread, which signal the minimum allowable tread depth of 1/16-inch. When the tread wears down to these bars, it’s time for new tyres. Inexpensive tread-wear gauges are available at auto-parts and tyre stores.

•Bulges or blisters

If you see a bulge or blister on the sidewall, replace the tyre at once. These signal potential weak spots that could lead to tyre failure.

•Excessive vibration

Tyre vibration may be a sign a wheel is misaligned, unbalanced, or bent. It could also signify internal tyre damage. Don’t ignore vibration: have the vehicle serviced at once.

•The problem of under-inflation

Surveys have shown that as many as half the cars on the road may be riding on one or more under-inflated tyres. Part of the problem is that tyres lose air through the rubber and at interfaces with the wheel and valve, sometimes so slowly that many people don’t realise it has happened. Seasonal temperature changes may also cause the tyre pressure to drop.

Because the sidewall flexes more at lower tyre pressures, under-inflation compromises the driving control that a tyre is designed to provide. Even a small pressure loss—such as four psi—can affect a car’s handling, making it harder to control. It can also make the ride softer and the car wallow. In addition, under-inflated tyres lower a vehicle’s fuel economy, which can cost you more money at the pump. A sidewall that flexes too much can also cause heat to build up excessively, which can shorten a tyre’s life and possibly lead to a tread separation or blow-out.

•Tyre-inflation maintenance tips

Don’t judge the pressure by eyeballing a tyre: Modern radial tyres bulge slightly, making them look a little under-inflated, even when they’re not.

At least once a month, use a tyre gauge to check the pressure in all four tyres and the spare. Set the tyres to the automaker’s recommended tyre pressure. This is printed on a placard in the car, either on a doorjamb, the fuel-filler door, or on the inside of the glove-compartment lid. Don’t go by the “maximum inflation pressure” imprinted on the tyre. If your car has a limited-service spare, also check that it’s inflated to the pressure specified on the placard—usually 60 psi.

Measure the pressure with the tyres cold, before they’ve been driven more than a mile or two. As the vehicle is driven, the tyres heat up and the pressure rises, which makes it more difficult to set them to the correct cold-tyre pressure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.