The only thing separating your car from the road is its tyres. A properly looked after tyre lessens the chance of a blowout and keeps your vehicle on the road, as it should. Most people overlook the importance of maintaining proper tyre pressure.
Maintaining proper tyre inflation is relatively simple and essential to the overall performance of your vehicle. A properly inflated tyre will provide longer life, quicker steering response, better fuel efficiency and a smoother ride compared to an improperly inflated tyre. Both under and over inflation can cause problems such as premature thread wear and even tyre failure. It is recommended that you check your tyre pressure every month.
Most people know how to add pressure to tyres but do you know what is the correct pressure for your vehicle? That information is readily available on a placard on the driver’s door jamb or in your owner’s manual. Tyres should be inflated when they are cold to get an accurate reading. Remember to inflate your spare tyre as well. It doesn’t hurt to prepare your umbrella before it rains.
It is recommended to have a separate tyre pressure gauge. There is a high margin of error for pressure gauges located at service stations due to their exposure to weather and are possibly inaccurate. It is a good idea to invest in an inexpensive gauge that will be more reliable. This will also allow you to measure the pressure when the tyres have cooled.
Besides tyre pressure, tyre thread depth also plays an important role in providing a smooth and safe ride. A heavily worn thread will prefer a tyre from performing and lead to dangerous driving conditions. New tyres typically come with 7mm to 9mm thread depths. Some tyre models will have deeper threads than other models. It is vital to maintain a minimum thread depth of 1.6mm for your tyres.
Your tyre should have consistent wear all around. Uneven thread wear could be a sign of improper inflation, wheel alignment or other problems. If you notice uneven thread wear, have your tyres checked by a professional to avoid more serious problems.
A simple way to check tyre tread depth is by using a tyre depth gauge. These can be found at local workshops or accessories stores for a relatively inexpensive price. However, it should be kept in mind that a thread depth gauge is not the best indicator for whether your tyres are road-worthy. Tyre performance and diminish significantly even if the thread is more than 1.6mm. A tyre with improper thread wear could result in hydroplaning or lose control in rainy conditions.
Besides tyre pressure and tyre thread depth which are relatively easy to check, wheel alignment contributes to your tyres performing properly and help them last longer. It improves handling and prevents your vehicle from pulling to one direction or vibrating strangely on the road.
Alignment refers to an adjustment of your vehicle’s suspension; the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels. The key to proper alignment is adjusting the angles of the tyres which affects how they come into contact with the road.
Do have your vehicle checked by a professional immediately if you notice uneven thread wear, the vehicle pulling to one direction, steering wheel going off centre when driving straight or steering wheel vibration. It is impossible to “self-align” your vehicle, you will do more harm than good to your vehicle. Save your time by getting your vehicle checked by a professional.
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