That line-6 engine sounds great, doesn’t it? But that supercharged V8 is even better; it delivers more power and torque to the wheels. There is no replacement for displacement, right? What if I’ll tell you that all of these are useless since you are missing a very important detail? Just look below the chassis; what do you see? A set of nice 18″ rims? Well, rims don’t touch the asphalt though. However, tyres are always in contact with the ground and once they lose grip, you’re lost as well. Tyres come in many sizes and models, and choosing the right ones for your needs may be a bit tricky. Still, choosing the right tyres and not doing regular maintenance means your pleasure won’t last for long.
Believe me; it is not difficult to maintain a tyre; however although there are plenty of tutorials over the internet regarding tyre care, not all of them are unfortunately, accurate. Check out the list below and find out what are the top 5 measures of tyre care you should take to ensure full performance on road and track as well as a prolonged life.
1. Proper inflationÂ pressure is a must
Engineers and scientists are working around the clock to provide the latest grip and water clearing technologies for tyres. Improper inflation of tyres will make even the highest-end technology fade away and malfunction, and on the long run, cause early wear. Tyres should be inflated according to the weight they have to carry. You will find the proper inflation rate on the tyre’s manual or on producer’s website. Don’t go with the value engraved on the tyre!Â That value represents the maximum inflation capacity of the tyre and not the optimum one. When not inflated properly, one of the phenomena occurs:
- under inflation – tyre inflated below required value, causes overheating and increased wear
- over inflation – tyre inflated above required value, causes loss in vehicle handling
We strongly recommend checking your tyres’ pressure once a month.
2. Balancing and alignment
Since your tyres are now inflated at the appropriate value, you are one step closer to prolonging your vehicle’s tyre life. However, inflating tyres isn’t the only issue to consider. Proper balance and alignment of wheels is another critical element to consider if you really want your tyres to live up to their expected period. Wheel alignment is satisfied when, according to the date provided by manufacturer, all suspension elements and wheels are facing the same straight direction. If you notice your car leaving more than one set of tracks while driving straight, then your wheels are probably not aligned. This will cause non-uniform tyre wear and cause handling issues (shaky steering wheel, strange noises in the cockpit). Most service units do own a laser alignment machine and are able to correct such issues for around R300.00, which is way cheaper than a set of tyres.
Balancing wheels is done in order to counterweight heavy zones of the wheel. Usually, balancing is done when fitting new tyres either new or after repairing the rims. Also, if tyre replacement isn’t necessary, wheel balancing should be done as per manufacturer instructions.
3. Vehicle cargo weight distribution
This one goes especially to truck owners, but can also affect automobile drivers. Improper distribution of weight over the tyres can cause the same issues such as under inflating them. Ensure an equal loading distribution by arranging cargo at the center of mass of a vehicle; usually, it’s the center point of the chassis. In shorter words, place your cargo so that each tyre will support roughly the same amount of weight.
4. Driving Habits
We all have our own unique bad habit when it comes to driving a car. For some it’s overspeeding while for other it’s braking heavily and screeching starts. While the adrenaline rush we’re getting from such actions is definitely a good feeling, tyres usually are the ones who are going to suffer. Driving at high speeds not only endangers your safety, but it also may cause one of the tyres to fail unexpectedly. If you check a tyre producer’s website, you will notice that there are different speed ratings ranging from N (up to maximum 140 km/h) to Y ( up to 300 km/g). If you are driving your car at a higher speed than the tyre rating allows, there is no guarantee you will be able to stop safely.
Sharp turns at high speeds, drifting and driving on the separator zone are all great on track day, with track tyres. Using regular street tyres to do such maneuvers will result in high level of wear and tear, reducing tyre life with almost 70% in extreme cases. If you want a dose of fun, just invest in a good set of racing tyres. Remember though that racing tyres are not street legal.
5. Tyre storage
Tyres should not be stored for long periods of time unless they are properly inflated and covered. Stacking tyres and placing heavy objects above them is again a “don’t”, as it may cause shape deformation and render tyres unusable.
Tyres should be stored in temperate environments away from direct sunlight, chemical substances and perforating objects. Wet environments should also be avoided at all cost.
We strongly advise you to maintain your tyres properly by respecting the above concepts. You will save money on the long run and enjoy more comfortable rides in your vehicle.