Be­ware early tyre fail­ure signs

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

Sure, the dealer wants all the lu­cra­tive re­pair and main­te­nance jobs. But gen­er­ally, you need to use a dealer only for work cov­ered

Get­ting the right re­pairs at a fair price de­pends partly on com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your me­chanic. Here’s what to say and to ex­pect: De­scribe the prob­lem fully. Pro­vide as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble. Write down the symp­toms and when they oc­cur. If pos­si­ble, talk di­rectly to the me­chanic who will be work­ing on your car. Don’t of­fer a di­ag­no­sis. Avoid say­ing what A VE­HI­CLE’S tyres play a cru­cial role in a car’s safety. As the only parts of the car that phys­i­cally touch the ground, they are one of the key fac­tors af­fect­ing a 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 your and your fam­ily’s safety.

Trou­ble signs to look 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. Crack­ing or cuts in the side­walls. 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. Al­ter­na­tively, you can use a Lin­colnhead penny as a tread-wear in­di­ca­tor. In­sert the penny into a tyre groove with Lin­coln’s head to­ward the tyre. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, the tread is too worn. 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 un­der­in­flated 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, un­der­in­flated tyres lower a ve­hi­cle’s fuel

Con­sumer­re­ports 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 blowout. Tyre-in­fla­tion main­te­nance tips Don’t judge the pres­sure by eye­balling a tyre. Mod­ern ra­dial tyres bulge slightly, mak­ing them look a lit­tle un­der­in­flated, 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. A tyre-pres­sure gauge is avail­able at auto-parts stores. 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 cold­tyre pres­sure. — Con­sumer­re­ports

IF you see a bulge or blis­ter on the side­wall, re­place the tyre at once.

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