Omagh Tyres supplied and fitted by Kevlin Tyre Centre
Omagh motorists! Use this helpful top 10 tyre safety guide, to check your tyres.
Your tyres are the most important component on your vehicle out of all the thousands of components in your vehicle. Your life depends on these tyres 100% of the time when you are on the road. It has been noted recently by the highways agency that tyres are responsible for a high number of fatal crashes and collisions.
We at Kevlin Tyre Centre, Omagh have gathered 10 essential tyre tips and present them to you in this handy guide.
1. Check tyre pressures and adjust at least once a month.
The leading cause of tyre failure is underinflation.
Underinflation can have many triggers, together with a continuous loss of pressure through the membranes in the tyre itself. It is typical for pressure to drop approximately 1 psi every month and 1 psi for every 8 degree loss in ambient temperature.
Underinflation has immediate effects on the vehicle handling (as well as fuel consumption), and the potential impact on overall safety and tyre life are actually greater. It results in premature and unequal tread wear on the outer edges. Underinflation also increases stress on the tyre carcass itself, through bending and overheating, which can lead to structural damages such as tread separation.
Therefore it is crucial to check on and adapt tyre pressure at least once a month and before every long trip (longer than 100 miles). Recommended tyre safety information is printed on a label located on the driver’s doorframe, inside the petrol filler flap or in the glove box.
2. Inspect tyres regularly for abnormal wear or damage.
To ensure maximum tyre life and safety, give your tyres a visual inspection at least once a month and before mailing any long trips. This can be easily done at the same time you check your tyre pressures.
Look out for:
- Excessive or uneven tread wear, which may indicate improper inflation or steering and suspension misalignment.
- Cracks or bulges on the sidewalls or tread.
- Chunking of the tread or any indication of tread separation from the carcass.
- Signs of puncture, or nails, screws, glass, pieces of stone or any foreign object imbedded in the tyre.
If you detect any of these faults, take your vehicle in for further checks by a specialist immediately. In most cases, punctures can be repaired if their size is not too excessive.
In general, external “plugs” are not recommended. Repairs should be made from the inside, and a complete inspection made while the tyre is off the rim. Sealing compounds and other emergency aids should be treated only as a means of moving the vehicle to a safe location for repair.
If abnormal tyre pressure loss occurs, check the tyre valve stems for leakage, as well as the tyre itself.
3. Rotate tyres every 6,000 miles.
Tyre rotation is essential to achieve even tread wear and maximum tread life. On front wheel drive cars, most of the braking, steering and driving forces are carried by the front tyres, which inevitably wear much faster.
A “cross rotation pattern” which is, moving the left front tire to the right rear axle, the right front tyre to the left rear axle, can balance tread wear and maximise tyre life. This sequence can be performed on any vehicle equipped with four non unidirectional tires. Designated by an arrow on the sidewall, unidirectional tires must be rotated only front to rear and rear to front, on the same side of the vehicle, so their direction of revolution does not change.
All wheel drive and four wheel drive vehicles are best suited to a lateral rotation, left to right and right to left at the same end of the vehicle.
4. Maintain tyres in proper balance.
Out of balance tyres can not only cause uneven tread wear and an uncomfortable ride but also excessive wear on the suspension and other components. An out of balance tyre can be detected by a severe thumping, usually most pronounced at highway speeds.
If such a condition occurs, have your tyres dynamically balanced as soon as possible. An experienced technician can usually determine which tyre is out of balance by driving the car.
Tyre balancing involves placing weights in appropriate places on the bead or inner circumference of the wheel. Tyres should always be balanced when first installed, and whenever they are remounted.
5. Maintain steering and suspension in proper alignment.
Misalignment of the steering and suspension, either front or rear, can not only adversely affect the steering feel and stability of a vehicle, but also cause rapid and uneven tyre wear. If not corrected, this misalignment can ruin a tyre in a short time and distance.
If you feel the steering “pulling” in one direction or another when traveling straight ahead on a flat road with no crosswind, or if you notice uneven wear on the tires, particularly front tyres, you should have the alignment checked and adjusted as soon as possible.
Alignment should also be checked after a vehicle has been involved in a collision or if it is used continuously on rough roads, particularly those with large potholes.
6. Never overload a tyre.
Overloading is the second leading cause of tyre failure, next to underinflation.
All tyres are designed to operate within a maximum load range designated by a code on the tyre sidewall. Exceeding this can result in both excessive wear and reduced tyre life due to structural damage, including the potential for sudden failure.
In most vehicles, the maximum passenger and cargo load for which the vehicle and tyres are designed is printed on the same label that designates recommended tyre pressures. That load, particularly in the case of trucks and SUVs, may be substantially less than the vehicle is physically able to contain. It is critical that the maximum allowable load never be exceeded.
When determining the actual load in your vehicle, don’t overlook the weight of a trailer if you are towing, since it also acts directly on the vehicle’s tyres.
7. Avoid overheating tyres.
Heat, like load, is the enemy of tyre life. The higher the heat it is subjected to, the shorter the tyre’s life-in terms of both tread wear and structural resistance.
High speeds, high loads, underinflation, coarse pavement or concrete, and aggressive driving, including high cornering loads and hard braking, all contribute to high tyre temperatures. Combined with high ambient temperatures and continuous use, they can create extreme circumstances and cause sudden tyre failure.
To maximise tire life and safety, therefore, it is important to minimise the simultaneous occurrence of such conditions. Be particularly vigilant at high temperatures and adjust your driving style to consider its effect on tyre life and performance.
8. Replace tyres when required.
Your vehicle’s tyres should be replaced if:
- Any portion of the tread is worn to the “wear indicator bars”-lateral bars moulded into the tyre grooves at about 20 percent of their new tread depth, or to a depth as measured in a groove of 1.6mm or less.
- Tread wear is severely uneven (in which case have the wheel alignment checked) or the centre is worn much more than the edges (be more vigilant about tyre pressures).
- The tyre sidewalls are severely cracked or there are bulges anywhere on the tyre.
- There is any indication of tread separation from the tyre carcass.
- The tyre has been punctured and cannot be satisfactorily repaired.
There are other reasons you may need new tyres, as well. If you have been running on winter tyres, then a change is in order in the spring. Using snow tyres on dry roads accelerates their wear significantly and diminishes both traction and handling ability.
9. Install tyres in matched pairs or complete sets.
Installing different tyres on the left and right sides of your vehicle can significantly upset the handling balance of a vehicle, not to mention its ABS operation. For that reason, it is imperative that tyres be installed in front or rear pairs, or complete sets.
Those pairs should be the same construction, size, brand and type, with approximately the same tread wear. In most cases, if you have to buy one new tyre, you should buy a pair. It is essential that side-to-side pairs be the same and highly desirable that front and rear pairs also be matched, except in cases such as high-performance cars with larger tyres in the rear.
If you replace only two, the new tyres should generally go on the rear wheels, regardless of whether the vehicle is FWD, RWD, or AWD. It is important to maintain maximum traction at the rear wheels to ensure stability. Putting new tyres on the front and nearly worn out tires on the rear wheels of any vehicle is a recipe for instability. It is thus very important to avoid dramatic differences in tread wear, front to rear.
Under no circumstances should you have tyres of different construction (radial and bias ply) or different classification (all season and winter) on opposite ends or sides, since handling can be adversely affected.
10. Select the right tyres for your vehicle and driving environment.
Recent improvements in “all season” tyres have substantially advanced the concept of one tyre for all needs. On the other hand, more specialised tyres than ever are now available for high performance, rain, snow, ice, off-road and touring. Some are even uni-directional, “run-flat” and even “green.”
Most drivers are happy just to know they have “all-season” tyres, and that is the way most new vehicles are equipped. These are a benign compromise, sacrificing exceptional capability in any one area of performance for acceptable capability in all.
Within that premise, however, there are huge variations in actual performance. Unfortunately, factors that improve one tyre characteristic tend to diminish another. For example:
- A hard tread compound may enhance tread life and fuel economy but detract from both wet and dry traction.
- Short, stiff sidewall construction may enhance cornering power and directional stability but detract from ride quality.
- A wide tread with minimal grooving may enhance dry grip but detract from traction in wet and snowy conditions.
- An aggressive, open tread may enhance snow traction but aggravate tire noise and sacrifice tread life on pavement.