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Are aged tyres putting you at risk?
Motorists should be aware of the many factors that affect tyre wear. Minimising these factors can increase your car tyres’ lifespan and ultimately save you money, so they’re well worth knowing about.
Driving habits like sudden braking and aggressive behaviour increase wear on your tyres and causes premature ageing.
Position affects wear more so than you might expect. Front tyres wear much faster as a result of steering, while back wheels are likely to last longer.
Improper alignment occurs when your vehicle’s suspension becomes worn or off-kilter, resulting in excessive, uneven wear on your tyres and a bumpy, jarring ride. A misaligned car will cause your tyres to wear out quickly, leading to frequent replacements. Worn tyres could cost more than money, too. Decreased traction in worn tyres could put you and your passengers in harm’s way. To determine whether your car needs realigning, start by checking for visible signs of uneven wear. Other signs of misalignment include a vibrating steering wheel, or if you notice your car pulling to one side.
Pressure directly affects tyre performance. Underinflation reduces your car’s fuel efficiency, while overinflation increases your risk of a blowout while upping chances of manoeuvrability problems. Use a pressure gauge to regularly check tyre pressure and determine whether it’s at the optimal level recommended in your car’s manual.
Load increases pressure on tyres and causes them to wear out before their time. The heavier the load, the more strain your tyres are under.
Speed has a profound affect on tyres’ longevity. Excessive speeds increase surface temperature and damage tyres.
Exposure to elements like heat and sunlight will cause tyres to degrade naturally over time. Check for cracking on the sidewalls of five year-old tyres – a common sign of ageing.
How to preserve tyres
Once you know how to preserve your tyres, increasing their lifespan is simple. All that’s required is to get in the habit of regular vehicle maintenance. By making your tyres a priority, you’ll protect yourself and your finances. Here’s how to combat factors that affect tyre performance.
- Driving habits – Drive cautiously and take corners slowly. Be conscientious behind the wheel. Adopt a new driving style that prioritises hazard prevention.
- Position – Have your tyres rotated regularly by a professional mechanic. This will promote even wear on front and back tyres over time.
- Alignment – Take your car into a trained expert to fix this particular problem. It’s a delicate issue that requires a skilled hand.
- Pressure – Conduct regular pressure checks at home.
- Load – Make sure you’re not hauling around excess luggage, as it’ll burn through your fuel and tyres. Empty your car of unnecessary items to ensure fuel efficiency and increase the longevity of your tyres.
- Speed – Stick to the speed limit and become a more reserved driver.
- Exposure to elements – Storing your car in a garage when not in use will prevent your tyres from degrading prematurely.
When to swap out tyres
Even if you follow all these steps and more, the time will come when you’ll need to replace your tyres. As a rule, swap out old tyres once every four to five years, depending on wear and tear. Tread depth that falls below the legal minimum of 1.6 millimetres across the central three-quarters of the circumference of the tyre will require you to invest in new tyres. Abnormal wear and punctures could require a swap-out as well. When in doubt, consult a trained expert who will evaluate whether your car tyres are fit for the road or need replacing.