Tips for Tyre safety and maintenance before a road trip
by Editor News
Planning a road trip is one of the most fun and exciting things that we do but preparing for it is a far more serious job than it looks. It is important to check and double check all the necessary things that one has to carry and prepare for any odds that can happen. The most important element of any road trip is the vehicle that is being driven. It doesn’t matter if it is a car, a motorcycle or a bicycle, it is important to make sure that you don’t get stuck in the middle of your trip. Tyres are one of the most common factors due to which people get into trouble on any road trip. Here are a few Tips for Tyre safety to keep in mind before any journey to avoid a troublesome situation because of your tyres.
- Examine your tyre: Before the journey, examine all the tyres of your vehicle. Check if they have correct pressure or not. Examine their tread wear, and check for any cracks or bulge. Examine the spare tyre as well. If there is any crack or bulge, do not ignore it. Replace it immediately.
- Carry more than one: Spare tyres are lifesavers in a situation of puncture and blowout. But what if two of them gets punctured or blows out? This can actually happen if you drive over a sharp object. It will first harm your front tyre and then the rare one. To avoid such a situation one should carry two spares. It is important to always keep a spare one. During long trips, a spare wheel is a must. In case it gets punctured in a remote area, you can depend on the spare one. You should also carry a portable pressure gauge to check its pressure from time to time.
- Analyse the driving conditions: One of the most important yet overlooked thing on any road trip is analysing whether the tyres are suited for the driving conditions or not. If you plan to go off-road it is important to change your regular tyres to off-road ones. The same way if you have to go to a relatively cold or snowy area, change to the ones suited for winters. There are different types of tyres for different weather conditions. There are summer, winter and all-season.
- Carry a tyre pump: In a long journey to an isolated place where it is hard to find petrol pumps, it is important to keep a portable tyre pump for emergency situations. Maintaining tyre pressure is important for a safe drive and a portable pump is the best option. This is an important accessory and you shouldn’t avoid it.
- If you get stuck, stick to the car: In case of a car if you get stuck anywhere due to any reason, don’t go out hiking looking for a pump or a town. Call someone for help and wait till it comes. Staying in your car will be safe and will give you time to think as well.
These were a few tips for a long journey. Now that we know that tyres are as important as the engine of the car, we should also know that a car’s balance, control, mileage as well as its movement is also directly dependent on them. Therefore, it is our duty to buy the right tyres for our cars and maintain them properly.
If you are planning to buy a new set of tyres before a road trip, you must know what exactly you need to buy. To avoid confusion before buying them for the first time, it is important to know certain things.
So here is a list of a few things that are important for people to understand who owns a car or a bike or even a bicycle for that matter.
- The tyre size: To know the perfect size of your tyre, you need to see the code on its sidewall. This code tells its size. It is easy to decipher it and know everything about the tyre. For example, if the code is 265/65 R17 112T, it means the tyre’s width is 265, the profile is 65, rim diameter is 17, load index is 112 and speed rating is T. Knowing how to calculate the size of the tyre also plays an important role while upsizing it.
- The type: There are different types of tyres that one can choose from. Summer, winter and all season are the three categories that are made for different seasons. Apart from this there are commuting, sports, dirt, mountain and many different categories to choose from. One should always choose the right type of tyre according to their requirements. The type of rubber compound that has been used is also an important element. For wet surface or rainy seasons, tyres with grooves help in channelling the water effectively and maintaining balance. Similarly, sipes help them to run on snowy tracks.
- Expiration of tyres: Most companies suggest that after the tyre has been driven for 40- 50 km, one should change them. Experts say that a person should use them for a maximum duration of 6 years. Many people think that it does not expire at all, which is a misconception. Whether used or not, they do expire with time. It either expires due to wear and tear or due to oxidation of rubber. Experts also say that if the tread depth of the tyres is less than 3mm, then it is unsafe to use them. Also, if the treads depth is 1.6mm or less, then it is very dangerous as well as illegal to use them. Therefore, no matter if a tyre has been used or not, it will degrade with time.
- Tyre maintenance: Check your tyre pressure, its tread depth and other wear and tear once in a month. To maintain their health it is important to take them for regular check-ups. Cleaning your tyre is also very important. The three most important things to check while maintaining them are the pressure, the rotation and the tread wear. Inadequate pressure will result in decreasing its life. The pressure may vary according to vehicle loading capacity and speed. One should check its pressure at least once a week and after a long drive. To get your tyre under proper pressure check it with a gauge. It is also important to rotate them on a daily basis. It helps in improving the overall performance of the vehicle and improves the tyre life as well. Another important part is checking the tread wear on the regular basis. Car drivers should always give attention to their tread level. This can be done by using the tread wear indicator. The tread wear indicators indicated whether or not you need to replace your tyre. When the tread depth is lower than the minimum legal tread value, then it’s time to change your tyres.
- Cleanliness of tyres: Remove the dirt from the spaces on the tyres. Use water to clean the dirt from them. Clean it with a tyre cleaner or use soap and water to clean it. You can also scrub them to remove dirt from the pores. Use a tyre dressing to protect the tyre from UV rays and excess heat. To wipe your tyres you should use a microfiber cloth as it picks up all the leftover dirt particles.
- Avoid upsizing: Although big and wide tyres look good on the car and give a better grip on the road, they tend to decrease the vehicle’s mileage. Experts say that one should choose tyres which are of perfect size for the vehicle. Even if you feel like buying an upsized tyre check with an expert first. One can also check with the upsizing tool. This tool is basically a calculator that tells how much the size of the rim should be increased and how much the size of the rubber wall should be decreased to properly upsize a particular tyre. The upsizing also depends on the size of the tyre and also the type of the vehicle. If not properly upsized, then it will not give a smooth ride and also decrease the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
When someone needs to replace the tyres of their vehicle, they usually face the dilemma of whether to replace just the damaged one or all four of them. In an ideal situation, all tyres on a vehicle should wear out evenly. But achieving this situation gets highly unlikely as there are various conditions that play a key role in wearing out of a tyre like a vehicle's design, size of tyres and maintenance.
Vehicle manufacturers recommend that all tyres of a vehicle must be replaced at the same time for achieving optimal performance. Changing just one of them often disturbs the suspension and gear ratio of the vehicle. Having to replace all of them at once gets costly and is not easily affordable. Let’s look at some of the key factors that one needs to take into consideration while choosing the tyre.
So, if you need to replace just one or two tyres of your vehicle then it is important to keep a few things in mind. Below given are three points that tells what to do and what not to do while replacing old tyres.
- Select the same brand as before: The best choice would be to go for the same brand which was originally fitted. This would ensure the consistency in its type, size and the material it has been made of. With these three parameters closely matching, you can expect to attain the best performance out of the vehicle. One should avoid mixing different types and sizes of tyres as it makes the vehicle unbalanced and could be vulnerable for your security. Fitting a radial category with non-radial or winter with an all season should be strictly avoided.
- Tyres with similar specifications: Due to unavailability, if the exact brand of it is not available, then one must go for something of the same type with same tread pattern, load index, speed rating and traction. If they fall within the similar performance category, they would prove to be a better choice and can provide appropriate handling to the vehicle.
- Mixing Tyres with different parameters: There is a possibility that you don't find a tyre with all matching parameters. In this scenario, one must focus on those metrics which are allowed to be mixed by the manufacturers of the vehicles. Load Index and Speed Ratings can be different for different on four wheels but it must be above the minimum recommendation as per manufacturers. New tyres have deeper tread patterns; these must be fit the rear axle. Deeper tread patterns on rear wheels would ensure better grip on wet surface.