Looking after your tyres and making sure they are replaced when necessary is one of the easiest maintenance tasks you can do for your car, but also one of the most important.
Your tyres are critical to the overall safety and performance of your vehicle, they are the only piece of your car which is in constant contact with the road and they affect your ability to brake, corner and accelerate safely. A balding tyre can add up to 10 metres of extra stopping distance in wet conditions, and low tyre pressure can increase your fuel consumption by up to 3%.
Regular inspections of your tyres is one of the best ways to keep your vehicle, and your family, safe on the roads. The cost of tyres makes them a major investment and good maintenance will extend their life and save you money.
There are three main areas to focus on when it comes to tyre maintenance:
Check your Tyre Tread Depth
In Australia the minimum legal tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm. However anything under 3mm can seriously affect your stopping distance and the overall handling of your vehicle, especially in wet conditions, which is why it is recommended to replace your tyres at 3mm tread depth or less.
Worn tyre treads can cause dangerous hydroplaning at speeds as low as 35kmh, which means your tyres are no longer in proper contact with the road but rather ‘skating’ on water which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Tyres have special tread wear indicators which are raised bars in the main grooves of the tread. These bars or TWI become level with the rest of the tread pattern when the tyre tread depth has reached the minimum of 1.6mm. TWI’s are good for regular visual checks but the best way to measure the tread on your tyres is to use a dedicated tread gauge. You should always check each of the main grooves, in at least two spots and check all four tyres.
Check your Tyre Inflation Pressure
You should check your tyre air pressure at least once a month and keep your tyres correctly inflated at all times. Tyres which are underinflated or overinflated can cause problems with handling, significantly reduce the life of your tyres, cause your vehicle to use up to 3% more petrol and increase the chance of a dangerous blowout. The correct pressure for your car can be found in your operating manual or sometimes inside your glove compartment. You should check your tyre pressure when your tyres are cold and always before long journeys or carrying heavy loads.
Check for tyre damage or irregular wearing
Regularly making a visual inspection of your tyres is a very important safety exercise. Blowouts and loss of control due to damaged tyres cause a large percentage of road accidents in Australia every year. Look for any bulges, cracks or cuts in the tyre and if found, have the damage inspected by a tyre service professional to get the best advice on whether the tyre should be removed from service. Irregular wear patterns, such as feathered edges, wear on one side or only in the middle of the tyre can be signs that your vehicles steering, suspension or wheel alignment needs adjustment. As well as compromising your safety – these issues will reduce the life of your tyres and should be addressed as soon as possible.
At Car Service Salisbury we sell a wide range of tyres to suit vehicles of all shapes, sizes and uses. If you have any doubts about the safety of your tyres please don’t hesitate to come and see us for a bit of advice.
We provide a free 65 Point Vehicle Inspection report with every full car service here at Car Service Salisbury which includes a check of all five tyres (including your spare) and we will certainly advise you of any issues we feel could be affecting your safety or that could extend your existing tyre life.