The Mercedes of tyres
Inspection and Maintenance
An essential part of looking after your tyres is examining them regularly, removing stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Also look for lumps or bulges in the tyre. Should you find any, get them inspected by a tyre specialist, as this could indicate internal damage. Always wipe away oil or grease with a suitable diluted detergent.
Maintaining the correct tyre pressure is essential for the safety and longevity of your tyres. Make sure to check the tyre pressures monthly and before any long trip, not forgetting about the spare.
A key inspection is to regularly check your tread depth. Ensure your tyres meet the legal requirements of a minimum 1 millimetre of tread in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width and round the entire circumference of the tyre.
When driving in wet weather, the tread pattern of a tyre helps to evacuate water from the contact patch with the road. As the tread wears down, the tyre gradually loses the ability to remove all of the water from the road surface, resulting in longer stopping distances and an increased risk of aquaplaning.
Tyres that are worn below the legal limit are a contributory factor in many road collisions, particularly in wet weather conditions, which is why tyres with sufficient tread depth are key to braking safely. That is why it is advisable that tyres are replaced before they reach the legal minimum.
<b>Things to look out for when checking your tyre tread:</b>
<b>Uneven Wear</b>- If your tyre tread is badly worn in some parts but not in others, this could be the result of your tyre pressure being too high or too low, and also can be a factor of worn suspension components as well.
<b>Tracking Problems</b>- Excessive wear around the inside or outside edges of your front tyres could mean your front suspension has been knocked out of line most probably from hitting a deep pothole or banging against a kerb. Sorting out your alignment, will reduce the abnormal tyre wear and make your car feel much better to drive.
Tyres need to be properly aligned to ensure optimum longevity and performance. This means they should be parallel to each other and vertical to the axles and road surface. This ensures the tyre gets maximum traction and reduces friction, which results in less wear when driving.
The area of the tyre with the greatest amount of wear is the “toe alignment”. The 'toe' refers to the leading edge of a front tyre when viewed from above. 'Toe in' means that the leading edges of the vehicle's front tyres are closer together than the rear edges, while 'toe out' means that they are further apart.
If you’re experiencing vibration through your steering wheel when driving, this could indicate a problem with tyre balance.
- <b>It is important that wheels are balanced correctly.</b>
Unbalanced wheels cause wear on the vehicle's suspension system as well as the tyre itself, and also increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption. There are two main types of 'imbalances' in tyres, Static Imbalance and Dynamic Imbalance.
- <b>How can tyre imbalance be identified?</b>
You will experience tyre imbalance as vibration when driving, particularly at increased speed. If the vibration is felt strongly through the steering wheel, it is likely to be a front tyre that is out of balance. If the vibration occurs through the front passenger seat, this could be the result of an imbalanced rear tyre.
- <b>How can tyre imbalance be corrected?</b>
It's relatively easy to deal with imbalanced wheels and tyres - your nearest dealer can correct the problem very quickly. Basically, balance weights are fixed to the rim of the wheel, creating an even weight distribution. Often these are clip-on or adhesive weights, or a combination of the two, depending on the type of wheel and the distribution of the weight causing the imbalance.
Properly maintaining your tyres can help increase their lifespan. A quick inspection can help to prevent expensive damage and unnecessary wear. We recommend you do the following, which will only take a few minutes:
- Check your tyres for damage: look out for cuts, cracks or bulges, as these can lead to slow punctures and blowouts.
- Check the correct pressures against manufacturer's recommendations as given in your owner’s manual and fuel cap.
- Adjust pressures as necessary.
- Remove dirt from valves and fit valve caps all round.
- Get rid of any stones and other foreign objects from treads.
- Get your steering alignment corrected if front tyres show signs of excessive or uneven wear.
- If there are signs of vibration, wheel wobble or patchy tyre wear, have your front wheels and tyres re-balanced.
Tyre Marking Guide
The writing on the sidewall of tyres has two main purposes.
he first is to help identify the size and specification of the tyres correctly.
The second is to confirm that the tyre has been tested and approved to European and other country safety standards. The European mandatory is known as 'E' marking. All passenger tyres in South Africa have to have ‘E’ markings.
<b>Load Index and Speed Ratings</b>
The majority of tyres carry coded markings on them, which correspond to their load carrying and maximum speed capabilities
Speed Ratings are based on scientific tests where the tyre is run at speeds in 10km/h steps in 10-minute increments until the required speed has been met.
The Speed Rating is particularly important and it is essential that you check your speed rating before buying tyres. Choosing a tyre with a lower speed <b>rating could invalidate your insurance.</b>
For example: <b>95W</b>
<b>95</b>= Index of maximum load carrying capacity per tyre, in this case equates to 690kg.
<b>W</b>= Symbol that equates to a speed rating of 270km/h (approximately 168mph).
The load index is a numerical code, which corresponds to the maximum load a tyre can carry at the speed indicated by its speed symbol, under specific service conditions. For specific load index details see below.