Wheel tips to save you from disaster
Wheels are the only point of contact between the vehicle and the road surface, and like any car part, need to be looked after and cared for. Therefore, whether a luxurious or high-performance car, if the tyres are unfit, you will not be able to enjoy the car’s optimal performance. Allan Adalla offers ways to care and maintain your tyres for.
1. Alignment and balancing
Wheel aligning is fundamental when doing the usual vehicle maintenance. It entails the adjustment of the angles of the wheels as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
The point of these adjustments is to get the maximum life out of a tyre, ensure even wear of tyres and getting rid of vibration in the steering wheel, the floorboard or the seat that gets worse at faster speeds.
It is, therefore, recommended to take your wheel alignment and balancing after every 5,000 kilometres or whenever you find any uneven wear on the tyres.
2. Size matters
Many car owners prefer fitting their cars with bigger tyres on the rear axle. Indeed, it makes your car look swanky, but did you know that it tampers with your car stability?
Experts suggest using the same size and same type of tyre on all four-wheel positions until and unless the vehicle manufacturer defines different sizes to be used for the front and rear.
This can be checked with the manual of the vehicle. If for instance, two radial tyres are fixed with two non-radials, the radial tyres are to be mounted on the rear.
If you come across different types of tyres used on a vehicle in any configuration, avoid using them for a longer period of time and always keep speed in check.
Using different tyre sizes in a 4x4, all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles require special care.
3. Storage is vital
To store the tyres, you should first clean them and choose the storage position. It could either be laying or standing.
It’s advisable to go for a tyre rack; it will even keep you safe from injuries in case of an accidental tyre burst when inflating while the wheel is off the car.
Always store tyres in a cool and dry place away from chemical and substances such as grease, petroleum products, hot pipes and electric motors.
Stagnant water is another foe of tyres, hence you need to ensure that there are no chances of water collecting inside the tyres.
Continuous exposure to the aforementioned elements can lead to inner weakening and early deterioration of the tyres that are subjected to abrupt breakdown.
4. Beware of hydroplaning
We are in a rainy season that brings numerous challenges to motorists. In this weather condition, the tyres are more exposed and prone to premature wear and tear.
During downpours, it is difficult to drive through a heavily clammy road or street and this is worsened by worn-out tyres, raising the risk of hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning ocurs where water gets in front of tyres faster than the weight of the vehicle can push it out of the way.
The water pressure can actually raise your vehicle so that it slides on a thin layer of water. However, preventative driving and good treads can lessen the danger.
Experts advise that one of the best weapons to shun hydroplaning is buying a new set of tyres.
The approach is simple, compared to limited tyre grooves, the new tread will allow more water to channel through the tyre grooves.
5. The jack
Most motorists ignore driving around with the jack on-board. You find most of them stranded along the road begging for jacks when the tyres go flat.
Always drive with your jack secured in your car and ensure that it is regularly serviced and lubricated.
At the time of changing the tyre, it’s advisable to use the hydraulic car jack; it is safe and easy to work with.
If hydraulic car jack is not available, the regular jack will also serve the purpose. Also, keep watch on the condition of the spare tyre.
Too often it’s forgotten until when needed. Jack is one small but all important tool that should always be a priority to every driver.
You’ll never know of its importance until your car gets a puncture while you are at a lonely place.
6. Drive smoothly
It is always advisable to drive at a moderate speed that would prevent you from applying brakes frequently. Rough braking takes a direct toll on the life of your car tyres, which leads to premature wear.
Rash driving and regular stoppages (more so at high speeds) invite tyre skidding, which not only asks for a mishap, but also pushes the tyre to lose tread much quicker than expected. Though the car stops, the tyres endure the entire wrath.
7. Observe the time
The tyres’ wear and tear depend on several factors such as driving style, the distance driven and weather conditions among others.
Nevertheless, there are simple ways to spot the wearing of the tyres such as cracking or bulging marks on the side walls of the tyre, deformation of tyre tread grooves and distortion in the overall carcass of the tyre.
Furthermore, you can use a coin or a tread wear indicator, which can be of great help when you are pondering whether or not to replace the tyre with a new one.
The tyre tread wear indicator for a four-wheeled vehicle is placed within the grooves at 1.6mm. And tyres worn beyond these limits are said to be dangerous to drive on.
8. Regular check on pressure
Due to the unexpected rise in fuel prices, drivers are desperate to find ways to ensure fuel efficiency on their cars.
The right quantity of air pressure is amongst the ways to ensure fuel efficiency. Check your car manual to see the right amount of air pressure to inflate in your tyres.
This also ensures maximum tyre lifespan, safety, cornering at speeds, general performance and handling.
Overinflated tyres have less amount of contact with the road surface; also the side wall decreases flexibility and affects road adhesion ensuing limited control of the vehicle.
The underinflated tyres reduce overall tyre diameter and increase sidewall flexing leading to difficulty in handling the vehicle at different stages.
9. The wheel bolt
Generally, the wheel bolts are provided by the vehicle manufacturer. For your overall safety, just ensure that the bolts used aren’t too short or too long.
If they are short, there are chances of the wheel popping out; if they are too long, they might injure the suspension of the car.
Examine them and get them replaced with the ideal sizes. To keep your tyres safe from theft, ensure that they all have at least one lock nut.
10. Tyre rotation
Tyre rotation need not be done as frequently as conducting a visual inspection of the tyres. Experts say tyre rotation must be done between 8,000km and 15,000km.
The significant difference is due to the varied road conditions, type of vehicle, driving habits, and type of tyres.
Therefore, taking into account your conditions, make sure that you rotate the tyres. Tyre rotation is exceptionally vital to tyre safety and upkeep.