6 Tyre Safety Tips Before Travelling
Posted by: Lydia on 25/07/2018
Australians love a good road trip. With 7.7 million square kilometres of terrain in our Great Southern Land, we’re never short on amazing roads or our enthusiasm for them.
But while road trips should be fun, the preparation for them actually involves some pretty serious business. Even in this day and age of smartphones, it’s still no fun getting stuck on the side of the road with car trouble.
Preparations are especially important when it comes to your tyres. They’re the point of contact between your car and the many kilometres of road you’ll pass over while travelling. They’re also your car’s last line of defence, because if something goes wrong, you need tyres you can trust to come to a quick stop.
Here’s a look at 6 tyre safety tips you should be aware of before setting off.
1. Anticipate your journey
There’s a big difference between a pleasant 300km trip down the Grand Pacific Drive in New South Wales, and a 4,300km drive from Brisbane to Perth. The type of journey you take and its duration should inform your car preparations. If you’ve got a set of tyres in good condition and it’s a short trip, they should be fine to use.
But if your tyres are nearing their end, it might be time to buy a new set, even if you feel they still have a few more thousand kilometres in them.
Any long journey is bound to see your tyres go through a variety of weather and road conditions, in addition to other elements that add to wear and tear. So if it seems like it’s almost time to swap them for a new set, make sure you take care of it before you head off.
2. Be prepared to replace just one
It may not seem like a big deal if that one tyre has a little extra wear when you look at it in your garage. But you’ll really kick yourself if that tyre is the reason you end up stuck in the middle of nowhere.
That’s why it’s really important to play it safe when it comes to tyre wear before a road trip – because if something goes wrong, you won’t necessarily have local resources you know and trust on hand.
This tip applies to repaired tyres, too. They can certainly be safe to use, but hard conditions place extra strain on them. If you’re swapping smooth suburbans roads for rough, rural ones, don’t tempt fate and ensure your repaired tyre is swapped for a new one. Also make sure the tyre you replace it with is in the same condition as the others, so all four will deliver the same performance.
3. Be mindful of conditions
Every driver knows the difference between ‘could’ and ‘should’ driving. Sure, you ‘could’ try to make it through on that yellow light – but you ‘should’ come to a stop. True, waiting one minute for the light to go green may be annoying, but a red light fine is always a bad thing.
The same principle applies to having the right tyres for your drive. If you’re set to drive in a lot of off-road conditions, sure, you could do so on a regular set of tyres. But a proper off-road set will be much better for your vehicle. On the other hand, if you have an off-road vehicle and are set to cruise nothing but black bitumen on your road trip? It’s best to swap to a regular set of tyres to ensure your vehicle has optimised performance and fuel economy.
4. Bring a portable tyre pump
Sometimes you may be travelling for long periods in between petrol stations and rest stops.
You might find even when you arrive at one, there’s a long queue for the pump. This can be especially common if you’re travelling during the holiday period. That’s why bringing your own portable tyre pump is a really wise idea, as the correct inflation of your tyres is critical to your car’s safety and performance.
There are plenty of portable tyre pumps on the market that are compact and handheld. Pack one away in your boot, and you’ll never need to worry about where you can next fill up your tyres as you travel.
5. Carry two if you can
Just about every vehicle in Australia is driving around with a spare tyre in it. That spare comes in handy when you have a blowout and need to get back on the road pronto. But sometimes double blowouts can happen. A pothole you hit with your left front tyre might snag the rear left one before you can avoid it, or that debris on the road that you don’t see until it’s too late might hit your two front wheels.
Such scenarios can usually be sorted quickly by a call to a tow truck or your local mechanic when at home. But when out travelling, a double puncture can be much harder to deal with unless you carry two tyres. So whether it's in the boot, mounted to the roof – or a combination of both – try to find room to carry two spares if you’re really keen to maximise peace of mind while driving.
6. Stay with your car if you get stuck
Always keep this general rule in mind: if something does go wrong, stay with your car. If the next town is really close, you may be tempted to just walk. But with the prevalence of smartphones, there’s no longer a need to do this. If you encounter tyre (or another other type of car) trouble, just ring and wait.
There’s also no point in hiking 5km into the next town if it turns out they don’t have a mechanic or a tyre shop. You may as well have just stayed in the car and used that time to finally figure out how your digital dashboard works.
There are also all the different forms of roadside assistance available across the nation. Look to ensure you keep your emergency contacts close at hand as you cross borders, and you’ll maximise your odds of dealing with any tyre issues you encounter quickly if you run into some bad luck.
What other pre-travel tyre tips do you have? Let us know in the comments below: