Tyres are the only contact that a vehicle has to the road, its importance cannot be overemphasised.
A major form of maintenance for tyres is to ensure that its pressure is kept within acceptable limits.
Tyre pressure is a measure of the amount of air in the tyre of a vehicle in pounds per square inch (psi). Having the proper tyre pressure is a crucial safety issue.
Next to the brakes, the tyres are the most important safety device in the car.
Checking the pressure of air in your tyre regularly and maintaining it will ensure good handling, safety, comfort, life span and optimum fuel economy.
Improper tyre inflation may result in rapid or irregular wear. This can cause significant internal and external tyre damage that can lead to sudden failure.
Simple steps to keep your tyre in good condition includes, but not limited to
- Checking the tyre pressure bi-monthly.
- Checking the tyres when they are cold at least three hours after you were last on the road.
- Rotating the tyres regularly as recommended by the manufacturer.
Over-inflation (high pressure) – When this is done, less of the tyre touches the road surface causing the car to bounce around on the road. When the car is bouncy, traction and stopping distance suffers. Over-inflation reduces the cushioning power of tyres. They are more susceptible to impact, penetration and abrasions as well as reduced road tyre contact. It reduces tyre lifespan.
Under-inflation (low Pressure) – Too much of the tyre surface area touches the ground which increases friction between the road and the tyre, as a result of this, tyres wear prematurely. Under inflation causes excessive flexing of the tyre sidewalls which leads to overheating causing breakup and tread separation. It is the leading cause of tyre failure, and it increases fuel consumption.
The benefit of maintaining accurate tyre pressure
- Maintaining the correct tyre pressure can increase the lifespan of tyres.
- Better fuel economy
- Less chance of tyre blow-out or flat tyre
- Enhanced performance
- Better handling (promoting safety)
TPMS (Tire pressure monitoring systems)
This is an optional system on some models of vehicles, that constantly monitors tyre pressures through tyre sensors, it gives a visual warning that triggers a vehicle dashboard indicator light or audible warning if the air pressure in one or more of your tyres has dropped below the expected level.
The system improves the overall safety of a vehicle, by constantly monitoring tyre pressures every few seconds helping to avoid potential blowouts or accidents associated with a change or incorrect tyre pressure.
Having correct tyre pressure helps to prevent financial waste, by reducing the rate at which tyres wear and tear which prevents having to change tyres frequently, simply put, it increases the durability of tyres.
Moreover, correct pressure improves fuel efficiency as under-inflated tyres increase friction, rolling resistance and high utilisation of power, more fuel will be required to drive the car forward, thereby increasing the fuel consumption of the vehicle.
When the TPMS indicator comes on, it usually means that the air pressure in one or more of your tyres has dropped below the pre-programmed threshold. The indicator can also be triggered erroneously by a bad sensor.
A TPMS uses a sensor mounted in the wheel to measure air pressure in each tyre when air pressure drops 25 per cent below the manufacturer’s recommended level, the sensor transmits that information to a car’s computer system and triggers a vehicle dashboard indicator light, if the light is steady, it means the vehicle tyre pressure needs to be checked, when the light is flashing, it simply means you need to have your TPMS checked
However, driving with an illuminated TPMS indicator is not a good idea, as it can potentially lead to an accident and completely ruin your tyres.
Note: Tyre pressure varies for each car make, to find the correct air pressure for your tyres, check the information on the inside driver’s panel of your car.
Do not put yourself under pressure, keep your tyres in check with the professionals.
Reactions to AutoClinic:
I am a regular reader of your column. I appreciate your depth of knowledge. Kindly advise me on the problem with myToyota corolla 1.8 GLi saloon car (manual gear). The engine oil gets short very quickly: yet it is not smoking, and does not leak. I changed the engine oil from Ammasco to Mobil, but the problem persists. Please, help (‘Bayo, Okitipupa)
Hello Bayo, thank you for reaching out to me. When an engine loses oil as you narrated, many factors could be the cause.
I wish you were more specific about the year of manufacture of the vehicle, this would have advised me on the exact engine that is installed in the car from the factory.
I shall, however, proceed to provide a generic answer to your question.
Old/Defective PCV Valve: The positive crankcase ventilation valve is installed in the valve cover of the engine as the breather valve for the engine, to reduce pressure and blow-by gases in the crankcase. A defective one it will scoop-up engine oil alongside the gases. This will be introduced into the combustion, to be burnt by the engine.
Worn or damaged valve oil seals: These seals are made of rubber and are designed to prevent engine oil from entering the combustion chamber while ensuring that the valves move freely and the required lubrication due to them. The longer and hotter the engine runs will lead to a shrink in the mass of the seal, thereby causing the engine to burn engine oil.
Leakage: It is a no-brainer that oil leakage internally or externally will be a major source of oil loss.
Worn/damaged piston rings: These rings are designed to ensure that oil that splashes around during the movement of the piston is returned to the oil sump for reuse.
Aged or damaged piston rings will allow oil passage through into the combustion chamber, where it will be burnt.
Your mechanic can check all these and carry a leak-down test to ascertain the exact problem of the engine.
I will you the very best of luck.
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