Getting the most out of your tyres
Tyres are one of the most important features of your car and usually one of the most ignored. This is a fact that disturbs when you consider how well your car reacts under: Acceleration Braking Steering Cornering Ride quality Fuel consumption; and Transmitted road noise. All of these are affected by the tyres you have fitted and the grip they have on the road (just to make you a bit more nervous, remember that the footprint of a tyre is hardly bigger than a man’s hand).
There are a few basic steps you can take to ensure that your tyres remain in a safe condition.
Always keep tyre pressures at the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer and published in your handbook or on the vehicle placard affixed to your car.
The placard is normally on the driver’s door or door pillar (Japanese-based vehicles).
Some will have it under the bonnet (Holden).
Some even have it on the back of the fuel filler door (European vehicles).
Tyre pressures should be checked at least once a fortnight, when they are cold.
If you note that the pressure is down by more than 35kPa (5psi) have the tyre checked by a tyre specialist.
Never check the tyres pressures when they are hot – air expands and can give a reading increase of up to 35kPa (5psi). Don’t forget to check the spare wheel. If your car develops a ‘‘shake’’ through the steering as you increase speed, there is a problem and it requires correction.
This may only be a wheel balance (normally you will drive into the shake then drive out of it as your speed increases).
This can be carried out at your local Beaurepaires store within half an hour, and saves damage to the vehicle suspension and steering components.
A wheel alignment is essential for even tyre wear which will give your tyres a longer life and should be done once a year or every 12,000km.
Although the tyres are not the fault (they are merely being presented to the road on the wrong angle) it is very correctable and adds kilometres to your tyre life.
These simple tips will help increase tyre life and reduce cost.