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Maintaining Tyres

Maintaining Tyres

Maintaining Tyres: How to keep your car tyres in tip-top shape

You may put effort into keeping your car’s interiors and paintwork in top condition but what about your tyres?

From driving up gravel driveways, to hitting potholes on the highway and skidding when braking suddenly in wet weather, your car tyres don’t get much credit for playing their part in getting you from A to B.

Making car tyre maintenance a priority will improve your driving experience and save you money on petrol and other maintenance costs, so keep on top of these basics:

1. Rotate your tyres regularly
A quick and simple way to get more life out of your tyres is to rotate them regularly to avoid uneven wear. Including tyre rotation in your car service may cost a little more, but you’ll save money in the future by not having to replace your tyres sooner because they wore out more quickly. So book in a tyre rotation for every 10,000km you drive – or sooner if you notice uneven wear.

2. Book a wheel alignment
Over time, the wheel angles of your car will change, especially if you’ve hit a few potholes or are prone to striking the kerb while trying to reverse park. Booking in a wheel alignment during your regular car service is recommended to ensure you don’t end up with uneven tyre wear, which will end up costing you more in the long run. If your steering wheel is vibrating, your car is pulling to one direction, or you’ve noticed your tyres are wearing down faster on one side than the other, your car is probably due for a wheel alignment. Book it in with your mechanic, get it done, and lengthen the life your tyres.

3. Monitor your tyre pressure
Keeping your tyres balanced at the optimal pressure is an easy way to ensure your driving experience is smooth and safe. It will also save you money as driving with low tyre pressure increases fuel consumption. Late-model cars tend to have tyre pressure monitors that will alert you when your tyre pressure is low. So, listen to those alerts and adjust your tyre pressure at the nearest service station. If your car is older and without an alert system, keep on top of your tyre pressure monthly or fortnightly if you drive every day.

4. Drive with care
You might know that driving over potholes isn’t great for your car’s suspension system, but your driving habits also impact your tyres. Driving slowly over hard surfaces (like ungraded roads and gravel driveways) will help protect your tyres from damage. Turning your wheel while your car is parked and stationary should also be minimised to avoid wearing out your tyre treads earlier than necessary. Sometimes this can’t be avoided while manoeuvring in and out of parking spots, but if you’re in the habit of turning your wheel and hearing your tyres grind against the asphalt while you’re at a dead stop, it’s likely you’re increasing the wear and tear on your tyres unnecessarily. Skidding and breaking suddenly also wears down your tyres, so drive with care to prolong the life of your tyres.

5. Pay attention to cracks
Tyre cracking is inevitable as tyres degrade over time when exposed to road surfaces and UV from the sun. Finding cracks in your tyres is a sign your car is due for new tyres, but not all cracks are created equal. Small cracks found in the tread blocks of your tyres are to be expected with age and aren’t of immediate concern, while larger, deeper cracks indicate it’s time to invest some of your cash in some new tyres. Cracks in the sidewalls are more serious and need to be taken care of sooner rather than later to avoid a potentially hazardous blowout.

6. Inspect for damage
Every month or so, take a few minutes to look at your tyres closely. If you find any bulges, scrapes, splinters or nails embedded in your tyres, you might need to get your tyres checked or replaced by a professional. Bulges can undermine the structural integrity of your tyres and should be looked at by a professional to avoid your tyre bursting while you’re driving.

7. Don’t forget your spare
Hopefully you’ve got a spare tyre hidden away in your boot. You may not think about your spare tyre until you need it, but it’s a wise idea to include your spare in regular tyre checks. Spare tyres can lose pressure over time, so check the pressure of your spare tyre once a year and/or before you set off on a road trip.