7 Tips for Proper Tyre Maintenance
Posted by: Lydia on 11/07/2018
Tyre maintenance is one of those car chores many Aussies are happy to ignore. For many drivers, if there are four tyres on the car and none are flat – good enough! In reality, though, it’s wise to establish a system for maintaining your tyres to keep them in tip-top shape.
Such a system involves regular tyre checks, of course, but also a few other steps. When you get right down to it, tyre maintenance can take some work. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 7 tips for proper tyre maintenance, so your tyres will be all set to have a long lifespan beneath your car.
1. Do daily checks
Tyre maintenance always starts with frequent checks. By regularly examining your tyres, you’ll become well-acquainted with their condition, which will make it easier to spot any small issues before they turn into major ones.
Following your car’s tyre wear patterns is important here. As you’re examining your tyres, find a tyre wear bar and see if it’s flush with the rest of the tyre's tread. If so, it’s a safety issue and you should replace it as soon as possible. Beyond the tread, also examine the sidewall. Every tyre is prone to having a couple of scuffs or minor scars, but if there’s a deep scratch or bubble, it means the tyre is no longer safe to drive on. A quick daily inspection can save you a world of trouble if you spot something that looks wrong early on.
2. Kick ’em
Just because your tyres look OK after an inspection doesn't mean they are definitely trouble-free. It might sound odd, but kicking your tyres can actually be helpful. Obviously, some common sense is necessary here about the strength of the kick. You’re pressure testing – not doing kung fu.
The kick should be like a good Socceroos penalty kick – enough power to impact, but never over the top. Kicking or pressing your foot down on a tyre is a good way to feel if it’s under-inflated. Kicking the tire can also alert you to loose lug nuts, while a rattling sound might mean a problem with the suspension, shocks, or wheel bearings.
3. Rotate them regularly
Rotation is a simple but good habit to get into for proper tyre maintenance. By regularly rotating your tyres, you can reduce the risk of black spots and other localised wear occuring on your set of treads. It’s ideal to rotate your tyres every 7 months or 12,000 km, whichever comes first.
4. Monitor wear, and change out a single tyre if needed
While rotation will help ensure your tyres wear evenly, sometimes one tyre may sustain damage before the others. When tyres wear evenly, they can all be swapped for a new set when the time comes. If one tyre has worn out well ahead of the others, it must be replaced to ensure it doesn't pose a risk to the maintenance of your other three.
5. Avoid unnecessary punishment
Good tyre maintenance is not only about what you do with your tyres, but what you don’t do.
Tyres are made to be tough, and a good set will cope with a variety of conditions. Nonetheless, over time, daily wear and tear can really speed up degradation.
That’s why trying to avoid rough roads is wise. Also practice gentle breaking – a lot of premature tyre wear is caused by drivers making a habit of slamming on the brakes. Doing this once or twice won’t be an issue, but hard braking daily can really speed up tyre wear and tear.
6. Polish your tyres
Polishing your tyres may not help you avoid the damage of a massive pothole, but it will add an extra layer of protection. This extra coat will help protect against minor damage and abrasions, while also keeping your tyres looking fantastic.
7. Set up your own inflation station at home
Many people pump up their tyres at the gas station. That’s fine, but often you’re in a hurry, there’s a queue, or you just want to get home before the footy starts. This means you may be rushed while trying to check and inflate your tyres, which increases the odds that the job will be done wrong.
That’s why it’s a really good idea to get your own tyre pump at home. Not only is it far easier to pump your tyres in the garage than at the gas station, but it also means you won’t be pressed for time while you’re doing it.
Inflation is really crucial to good tyre maintenance. It’s true a properly-inflated tyre can still sustain damage if it encounters a really nasty hazard. But under-inflated tyres are themselves a hazard, as under-inflation drastically increases the potential for a puncture to occur. That’s why ensuring your tyres are checked regularly for proper pressure is essential.
Maintain tyres regularly and retire when necessary
Proper tyre maintenance will help prolong the life of your tyres, but it won’t be able to prevent their ultimate retirement. Every set of tyres must sooner or later come off the car. It’s great to get as much mileage out of your tyres as you can, but once they’ve become worn, it’s essential for safety to swap them for a new set.
The same rule also applies to punctures. A minor one can be patched, but if there’s major damage it’s best for your car and your peace of mind to just get a new tyre. The new tyre or set can be put on, and with the proper maintenance should have a long life.
The production of vehicles around the world is forecast to grow by around 3.5% a year. This means more cars, and more tyres to be made for those cars. As innovation cycles increase, we’re seeing rapid growth in car and tyre tech. It’s a really exciting era. But good maintenance will always be important, so follow these tips and you’ll be sure your tyres go the distance.
What other tips for proper tyre maintenance can you share? Let us know in the comments below: