5 Critical Car Tyre Maintenance Tips
Keeping your tyres in good condition is an essential aspect of car maintenance, and it is both illegal and dangerous to drive with non-roadworthy tyres. There are a number of things you need to consider with respect to tyre maintenance. This article takes a look at five critical car tyre maintenance tips so you can drive confidently and safely.
- Tyre rotation
Tyres are often moved from one position on the car to another to ensure even wear and tear. Front tyres carry more of the car’s weight and tend to wear out at about twice the rate of rear tyres, so rotating the tyres can extend their life. Car manufacturers differ in their recommendations, but most manufacturers advise tyres should be rotated every 8,000 to 10,000 kms.
There are four common types of tyre rotation:
- Cross rotation
- Straight rotation
- 5 tyre rotation
- 4 Wheel drive
- Tyre pressure
Tyre pressure is of critical importance for two basic reasons. Having properly inflated tyres protects against tyre damage and reduces the possibility that the car will spin out of control. Driving with low pressure tyres also increases fuel consumption. You should check your tyre pressure at least every month, more often if you drive many kilometers and always before setting out on any long journey. Tyres should not be hot when checked, otherwise add 4 to 5 PSI to the recommended pressure. To find the correct tyre pressure for your car, check the user manual, the label on the door or inside the fuel flap. The recommended pressure is not written on the tyre itself.
- Tyre tread depth
Tyre tread is important because it helps remove water between the tyre and road, ensuring the car remains under control and preventing the risk of aquaplaning. Tyres wear out over time, and this can be accelerated by uneven road surfaces, the tyre design itself and driving practices such as high-speed driving and hard braking. The minimum tread depth varies very slightly from state to state, but is between 1.5mm and 1.6mm. In Western Australia for example, it is 1.5mm. If in doubt, please check your state government’s transport department. The tread depth measures the depth over the face of the tread that is in contact with the road. It’s easy to see if the tyre meets this by checking the tread wear indicator, bars placed at regular points across the tread – they will be level with the tread blocks when the minimum tread is reached.
- Wheel alignment and balance
Wheel alignment is the process of properly aligning the wheels and axles. It ensures that your car handles at its optimum level, increasing safety as well as protecting tyres against premature wear and saving fuel. Wheel balancing balances the wheel and tyres. It protects the bearings and suspension, prevents premature tyre wear and stops vibration. Out of balance wheels, and the vibration they cause, is typically most noticeable when driving at high speeds.
- Repair and replacement
If you are in any doubt as to the roadworthiness of your tyres, you should take them to a specialist to check. Specialists can check the internal condition of the tyre as well as the outside, comply with all proper procedures for disassembling, repairing and re-assembling, ensure compliance with all legal and manufacturer’s requirements and ensure the tyre is re-fitted optimally.
However, there comes a time when tyres need to be replaced. This depends on various factors, including kilometers driven and driving style, but also climate and storage. It is essential to check your tyres on a regular basis and replace them when required, for example when they reach the minimum tread depth.