With the COVID-19 lockdown well underway, you would be forgiven for not having given the condition of your vehicle’s tyres a second thought. If you are not an essential worker and required to leave home for work, it is unlikely you are taking the road very often. As a result, your vehicle may have been standing – perhaps in one place or on an uneven surface – for an extended period of time which may have led to tyre damage/concerns.
“It would be a good plan to start your vehicle every couple of days to ensure that the battery stays charged, but did you know that you should also move your vehicle to prevent tyre damage as a result of long-term standing?” asks Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Dunlop. “We tend to think of our tyres as tough and indestructible, and to a large degree they are. But standing in one position for long periods, or on an uneven surface, spikes, or broken glass, may cause tyre damage such as flat-spotting or punctures.”
Checking the surface where you park for objects such as nails or rocks, moving your vehicle occasionally and ensuring the tyres are correctly inflated while the vehicle stands, may help to prevent damage.
Haffejee offers the following top three tyre tips for those who will be heading back to the workplace and into rush hour traffic post-lockdown:
· Check the pressure: Inflating your tyres to the correct pressure, as per the vehicle owner’s manual or the panel on the inside of the driver’s door, will not only extend the life of your tyre, it will assist with the braking and road grip when you get back on the road. Under-inflation can lead to tyre blow-outs and over-inflation reduces traction, so if you cannot check the inflation at home, head to your nearest filling station to have this checked. Inflating your tyres to the correct pressure while your vehicle is standing may not seem important, but it can help to maintain the tyre and prevent the development of flat spots and will ensure that your vehicle is ready for use in the case of an emergency or when the time comes to take the road again.
· Inspect your tread: Turn your steering to the far right and check the tread on your front tyres. Be sure to do a close inspection of the back tyres too. The tread needs to be above the tread depth indicator, a small gauge set at 1.6mm in the grooves of your tyre, to be legal. When the tread is below, or in line with the indicator, your tyres need replacing and driving with them in that condition will put your safety, and that of other road users, at risk. This would also be a good time to check for any damage that may now be evident as a result of hitting a pothole or pavement/curb when the vehicle was in use.
· Rotate your tyres: While this step is not possible during lockdown, it is something to note for the future. Rotating your tyres on a regular basis has been shown to increase the tyre lifetime and improve tread wear. This should be done by a professional tyre fitment centre, that will check each tyre for issues such as reduced or uneven wear, sidewall damage or punctures.