Your car's tyres are the only points of contact between itself and the road. Considering they play such a crucial role, the layman seems to have taken their presence for granted.
Many different companies manufacture tyres, and they can be had in a wide variety of pricepoints, compounds and sizes. Disregarding the actual cost of the tyres, with car prices as inflated as they already are, and with GST hikes in the not-too-distant future, attempting to maximise your car's tyre life would surely be a good way to reduce car expenditure.
Especially so, if these 'attempts' are just very minor alterations to your habits behind the wheel. But just how do you go about maximising the life of your tyres?
Rotating Your Tyres Regularly
(Photo Credits: The Tyre Mart)
A car's driven wheels will almost always wear out more quickly, as more load and stress is put through them versus a non-driven axle. The problem is made worse if your car has four driven wheels, as these vehicles tend to be heavier, and all the tyres are under also under greater constant stress.
Tyre rotation allows wear to be distributed more evenly across your tyre set. Technicians typically swap tyres diagonal to one another (think rear right to front left) to essentially give the more worn tyres a chance to catch a breather.
Check Your Tyre Pressure Regularly
Having the correct tyre pressures can not only reduce the wear on your tyres, but also improve your car's fuel economy and handling. Tyres are designed to operate within a certain pressure window. Under-inflation puts extra stresses on the sidewall, whereas over-inflation causes the rubber to balloon, subjecting the tread block to prematurely fatigue too.
Do check your pressures at least once a month at the very least. Refer to your owner's manual for inflation information. If you have aftermarket wheels, ensure pressure is in line with what suggestions from your mechanic or tyre shop!
Balancing Your Wheels
(Photo Credits: The Tyre Mart)
Technicians will add counterweights to ensure your wheels are perfectly balanced. Owing to manufacturing variances and/or wear-and-tear, there may be various spots where the wheel has more mass/material than others. If left unbalanced, excessive vibrations, and thus stresses, will then be put through the wheel, subjecting the tyre to an even greater rate of wear.
Specialist balancing machines are employed to remedy the issue. Problem spots are first identified, and small weights are then added to balance the tyre. This is usually performed in tandem with the tyre rotation services, typically at no extra cost!
Checking Your Wheel Alignment
(Photo Credits: Precise Auto)
A tyre that points dead straight rolls along with little resistance. Adjusting the toe of the wheel past what the manufacturer recommends will create a scrubbing effect, as the tyre is in essence, dragged along the surface of the road. This wears out the tread more quickly, and also creates a lot of thermal energy that can be harmful to your tyres.
A tell-tale sign is a feeling of your car is veering to the left or the right often, or that your steering wheel is vibrating. Fuel consumption can also drastically increase as more energy needs to be put in to overcome the increases in friction. Alignment checks should be done twice a year during servicing, or whenever you think something is amiss.
Maintain Good Driving Habits
Calm your driving down. Aggressive inputs from behind the wheel can lead to increased tyre wear - throwing your car at a set of bends at speed can be huge fun, but there will always be some sliding from either the front or rear end, no matter how minute, which would help accelerate the rate of wear.
Planting your foot hard on the throttle to accelerate from a set of lights also stresses the tyres out, inducing more wheelspin than is needed for momentum, creating unnecessary heat and wear. To maximise your tyre life, the solution is simple: drive gently and sensibly. With early braking, softer acceleration and slower cornering, the stress placed on your tyres are lesser, therefore reducing overall wear.
More Rubber, For Longer
As compared to the rest of the mechanical gubbins on your vehicle, they are typically much less time and resource consuming to service and replace than the other mechanical bits. Though you'd still want to prolong their lifespan to reduce tyre expenditure for sure, especially considering how costly cars are to keep on the roads in general - and you can do so by ensuring you keep them in the optimal operating window, and by driving sensibly.
But if you are unfortunate enough to have already suffered a flat tyre, or require any other roadside assistance for that matter, our partners (access them here!) can come to your aid! Simply key in your current location, and our army of specialists will be able to assist you promptly!
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