Ensuring that your car tyres are in good condition is an important part of car maintenance. Driving with worn-out or otherwise damaged tyres is not only illegal, it puts you and other motorists in danger particularly if bad weather conditions prevail. However, with simple care and maintenance, you can keep your tyres serving you for much longer and enjoy the best driving experience in that time.
1. Check tyre pressure
Your tyres should have the correct pressure at all times because this not only reduces chances of losing control of the vehicle, it also protects your vehicle from damage. In addition, driving with low-pressure tyres reduces vehicle efficiency thereby increasing fuel consumption. You can check your tyre pressure every month if your car only makes short trips, or bi-monthly if you frequently drive long distances. It's also advisable to perform a pressure check as part of vehicle assessment before taking a long trip.
The recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle model is not indicated on the tyre, so you'll have to consult your user manual to find out. If you don't have it nearby or at all, you can Google your car model and find the specific recommendation on the manufacturer's site. Car pressure should not be checked during hot weather, because air expands with heat and can give you a wrong reading. The best time to check is early in the morning – and it'll only take a few minutes at your nearest petrol station.
2. Rotate tyres regularly
Rotating your tyres is important because they do not wear out at the same rate. Front tyres wear out faster because of weight transfer when the car brakes and because they perform most of the steering work. Rotating your tyres will ensure that they wear out evenly, so that all tyres can last for the same length of time. Otherwise, they will have to be replaced in pairs, which means that you'll always have unequally worn-out tyre sets.
You can check your manufacturer's manual or website for tyre rotation recommendations, but most manufacturers recommend doing so every 8,000 km (5,000 miles). Rotating car tyres is something you can do within a few minutes, and there are three main methods of rotation, which are straight rotation, cross rotation, and 5-tyre rotation. Whichever method you choose, keep track of where the tyre was last to ensure that each tyre sits on the four positions in turn.
3. Perform wheel alignment
As the name suggests, wheel alignment is the process through which axles and wheels are properly aligned to ensure that you have optimal control of the car (i.e. the wheels respond in the exact way that the steering moves and not slower). This increases your safety while driving and has the additional advantage of reducing tyre wear and fuel consumption as a result of increased efficiency. Wheel alignment also removes vibrations, which can be a nuisance when driving at high speed.
Wheel alignment should be done by a professional tyre expert for best results. It is recommended that you do it annually, or every 20,000-24,000 km (12,000-15,000 miles). However, if you notice your tyres are wearing out faster on one side or the vehicle drifts to one side when driving down a straight path, you know it's time to realign your wheels.
For more information, contact a car service in your area.