Ever since mobility by the use of wheels has been invented, the need to improve ride comfort has become an unending quest for manufacturers. A major major of this evolution has been tyres.
Through our daily driving, vehicles are exposed to different conditions, bumpy, wet, slippery, and rough roads, potholes, stones and all sorts. The primary point of contact to these is the tyres. Wear and tear becomes inevitable and the tyres integrity becomes compromised ultimately leading to total failure.
So how can you identify when tyres require replacement, to avoid failure? The following will guide your decision making.
- Tread Depth
One of the most obvious signs your tyres need replacing is the reduction in the tread. You know that slippery feel the sole of an old shoe has, that’s the kind that starts to happen when your tyre tread starts to reduce. The tread is the clear indicator your grip won’t be what it once was.
In some countries, the legal requirement is that all passenger vehicles should have at least 1.6mm “throughout a continuous band in the centre ¾ of the tread and around the entire circumference.”
Obviously measuring this is very difficult, but thankfully tyres have an inbuilt marker to warn you when they are too low. This appears as an indent or line running horizontally across the middle of the tread only once they are worn down considerably.
Once you notice that the tyre tread has passed the required level, you should endeavour to change the tyre immediately.
- Too many vibrations
It’s only natural to feel a certain amount of vibration from the road whilst driving, especially on rough, bumpy roads.
However, if you’re on a smooth road, with fewer obstacles and you get the usual vibrations you get during a drive on bumpy roads, then you might need to check your tyres.
While this could be down to any number of faults including wheel alignment or faulty shock absorbers, it could also be signs of a well-worn tyre.
If it’s none of the above, it could be a problem within the wheel itself, which in time will harm the tyre anyway, so as soon as you notice any unusual vibration, it’s best to get it checked out.
- Cracks On The Sidewall
Cracks on the sidewall begin to develop in even the most expensive tyres over time because the oils and chemicals in the rubber compound evaporate or break down due to UV light exposure.
A crack in the sidewall could result in the tread separating easier or worse in a blowout, something which you are really going to want to avoid.
If something more obvious appears like a clear crack or blister, get it changed as soon as possible because it is likely you are close to having a blowout, which of course can be very dangerous.
Thankfully cracks are the easiest thing to spot as the sidewall is obviously the most visible part of the tire, just make sure you check regularly.
- Strange Noises
We all get used to the hum and purr of our car’s engines and tires vibrating along the road, so when there is a sound out of the ordinary, you are likely to notice it quickly.
When tyres are beginning to crack or may have taken on a puncture, they can sometimes whine or squeak as the air compression changes.
If you hear anything strange when out driving, it’s worth pulling over for a routine check of the car, not just the tyres.
- Tyre life span
Like any part of your car, tyres have a life span which if bought brand new, will last roughly five years. After this time the rubber compound will start to come apart, leaving them more susceptible to cracks, blisters and blow outs.
Wear and tear can’t promise this life span, but if yours manage to last this long, you might want to consider getting them replaced to ensure you have the best grip you possibly can.
Getting new ones gives you the assurance of safety and you get to go a long way enjoying your journeys with new tyres. So, if you’re thinking of using your tyre of over 5 years because it still looks good, then you might need to reconsider your stance.
The men of the FRSC also conduct random inspection on tyres, and if found wanting, a fine will be imposed, increasing your financial liability.
- Tyre landscapes
If your tyres have a ‘hill and valley’ pattern of wear – known as ‘cupping’ – they may need to be replaced. Your suspension will also need a check-up. Worn or damaged suspension can cause tyres to bounce as you’re driving, coming down harder on some parts of the tyre than others.
- Dry Rot
Pervasive dry rot is a sign your tyres are no longer useable. Dry rot is caused when sidewall cracks and bulges are neglected. When Dry rot happens the colour of the rubber would change to dull grey from black and the tyre metal is usually visble throught the cracks in the tyre. If your tyre has gotten to this stage, then you need to fix it ASAP.
So if you weren’t entirely sure, now you know what to do to effectively check your car tyres and keep your car tightly gripped to any roads to the best of your cars ability.
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