Are Your Driving Habits Reducing the Longevity of Your Tyres

Posted by: Dan on 30/11/2015

Category: Maintenance

Whichever way you drive, it's true that no one is a perfect driver. Indeed‚ the best drivers are the ones who recognise that there’s always room for improvement and drive thoughtfully each and every time.

This is why reducing your tyre wear is so important. Not only does it ultimately ensure your tyres last longer - and saves you good money over the long term - but tyre wear also tells you a lot about the sort of driver you are. By following these seven tips, you can ensure your skills as a driver both maximise your safety and lengthen the life of your car’s tyres:

Driving fast over uneven surfaces

When going over gravel‚ unpaved surfaces and even dirt or grass fields (where rocks and stones can be present), driving as normal pace is ill advised. Instead‚ proceed cautiously and, as you drive along, try to ‘feel’ the terrain underneath your car. You should feel the vibrations of the ground in your brakes‚ steering wheel and even your seat.

If the road feels particularly bumpy, slow down further. Even though many roads are partly made of car tyres, they can still be brittle and wear a tyre's tread.

Failing to be extra gentle on brakes when towing

When you’re towing, you need take into account the extra stress the larger weight places on your car. While many motorists remain mindful of the fact that their vehicle is now taking up a larger space on the road, it’s also essential that you take extra care when braking when towing a trailer or caravan.

Try to be extra gentle in your driving and anticipate more than normal when you may need to brake. This is particularly important if you’re on a holiday and driving over uneven surfaces. The extra weight due to the trailer - combined with the greater distance your vehicle needs to stop when braking - means considerable strain can be placed upon your four wheels if you brake erratically. Instead, seek to both anticipate and brake earlier.

Failing to maintain other components of your car that put overall stress on tyres

In order to minimise the wear on your tyres - as well as maximise your car’s performance all-over - you need ensure that everything between your car’s steering wheels and tyres is well-maintained to give you the highest level of efficiency and output.

By contrast, failing to do so will ensure your tyre wear increases. Think of it like an athlete - whether a sprinter or distance runner - that takes good care of their feet by wearing protective shoes, but then ignores any wear and tear they get on their legs and torso from running great distances. The same challenge exists with your car.

Ensure your coolant is topped up, your battery is charged, and your steering system is responsive and fluid. Doing so will leave your car well maintained, and its overall performance will minimise the impact on your tyres each time you break.

Excessively hard braking

Formula One driver Jenson Button is famous for being gentle on his brakes - and this is a driver who regularly races above a speed limit of 300kms an hour. He’s careful because he knows that harsh braking is damaging to the broader components of your car.

While, in an emergency situation, such an action is necessary and unavoidable - and cars are built to withstand the occasional sudden stop - everything from your brake pads to your fuel supply can be impacted by straining your car with regular harsh breaks. Therefore, while safety is always most important, braking as gently as possible whenever you safely can will extend the life of your car’s tyres.

Ensuring your car seat is correctly positioned

Many motorists don’t realise until their driver’s seat is correctly setup the impact it has on their daily drive. While a wide array of data has shown improvements in driver safety when it comes to wearing seatbelts, a decrease in speeding and other areas, it’s also a reality that your comfort in your car’s seat impacts your ability to drive safely.

It may sound far-fetched, but if you’re uncomfortable while driving, you’ll be more likely to drive and brake in a manner that’s sharp and sudden, as opposed to smooth and steady. To avoid distraction due to driver discomfort, put your wrists on the top of your steering wheel as you extend/shorten your seat’s distance from the wheel. Once your arms are fully extended from your body and straight, you can lock in your seat’s ideal position for your size.

Turning the wheel when you car isn’t moving

Though this is hardly a dangerous mistake to make while driving, it does have the effect of wearing down your tyres over time. Many motorists regularly turn their wheel first without moving and, in doing so, put a tremendous pressure on the tyre as, in absence of a forward movement, it turns with the whole weight of the car upon it.  

While everyone needs to take a narrow space in a carpark sometimes - and so sometimes moving the tyres without moving the rest of your car may be unavoidable - always try in normal driving to move your wheel only when the car is in motion. This means getting into the habit of not turning the wheel until your foot is on the pedal (or, at least, removed from the brake).

Not allowing your car to warm up

If you anticipate driving through congestion and ‘stop start’ traffic, it’s a good idea to take your car for a quick drive around the block before joining into traffic on a busier road. As you go along, do some gentle braking and, while at a complete stop, gently pump the brakes a little to give them a bit of a workout. While doing this regularly at high speeds is something to be avoided, doing it when the car is at a complete stop will ensure your brakes are in good condition and that they remain responsive.

Tyre wear over time is a natural occurrence. Taking small steps and extra care in your regular daily driving can greatly improve the life of your tyres. Avoiding hard braking, as well as ensuring the broader condition of your car is well-maintained and healthy, is also prudent as your car’s overall performance impacts your tyres.

While adopting these habits may take a while, they’ll ultimately extend the lifespan of your current set of tyres, making them a worthwhile addition to your regular auto habits.

Have another tyre-saving tip? Share it with the Tyreright community by leaving us a comment below:

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