Tyre maintenance isn’t a exactly a topic to set the pulse racing. Sometimes though, the most mundane subject matter is the one which requires the most thorough attention. It can’t all be bells, whistles, glitz, glamour and gold. So, if you’re here for sensible, honest, essential reading, then welcome. Proper car tyre maintenance could be the difference between life and death, and there’s certainly nothing tedious about that. So whether you own your own wheels or are renting a car abroad, here are 5 IDEAL tips for keeping your tyres healthy.
BE AWARE OF RISK FACTORS
First things first, prevention is better than cure, as the old adage goes, and this isn’t only applicable to human health, but tyre maintenance too. It’s important then, to recognise what risk factors are lurking round the bend, waiting to take your tyres down. Heat can cause an expansion of rubber which affects alignment and leads to irregular wear and tear. Potholes should also be avoided – or at least slowed down for – as hitting one at speed can knock things all out of kilter. Finally, and most obviously, driving over something sharp is likely to lead to puncture; check your drive regularly and be smart by avoiding industrial construction sites, road maintenance areas and anywhere else where shrapnel might be discarded.
KNOW THE SIGNS
Now we’ve established a few ways of avoiding tyre damage, it’s time to talk about recognising the signs of harm. If your car feels bumpy to drive, or is making an unfamiliar sound, it’s time to check your tyres (see below). You can also visually inspect your wheels for issues; cracking on the sidewalls, abnormally worn out tread, and visible bulges and blisters are all signs that you need to investigate tyre damage further.
TEST YOUR TREAD
Tired tyres take lives, so it’s vital to test your treads if the signs above have alerted suspicion. The mantra of inflate, rotate, evaluate is a simple one to remember; meaning you ought to check the pressure using a gauge, rotate the wheels frequently and check the tread depth using the penny trick. TyrePlus have a nifty guide here to testing your treads.
SPARE A THOUGHT FOR YOUR SPARE
While testing your treads is essential, it’s also important to spare a thought for your spare tyre from time to time. You should check the pressure and for any damage as all tyres lose air pressure over time, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually been in contact with the road. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all. If you’re in the process of buying a car, the spare tyre and all tools usually found in the boot should be present, correct and ship shape. Missing items is not only bad at face value, it is also suggestive of other discrepancies in the car’s maintenance and treatment.
Wheel alignment is a primary safety concern when discussing tyre damage, so it’s important to check whether everything is on the straight and narrow. Over time, and due to heat, usage, bumps in the road and more, your wheels can become misaligned. A mechanic will need to check this for you, and it’s suggested this should occur annually, if you’re erring on the side of caution. And when road safety is concerned, let’s face it; you should be.