Tyres are one of those under-estimated components of a vehicle. In a crash-avoidance situation it is the tyres that will determine how well you are able to maintain control of the vehicle. Tyres also affect the noise inside the vehicle, the comfort of ride, and the road holding.
Tyres in South Africa are subject to varying degrees of extremes and these range between over loading (Often well over the load index rating), under inflation (according to the manufacturers specifications), extreme temperatures (cold or hot), poor road surfaces (with potholes and corrugations) and sustained high speeds (often in excess of the speed ratings and speed limits).
Here are five ways to ensure the health and legality of your tyres.
- Regularly check your tyres inflation pressure, preferably each time you fill with fuel.
- When loading the vehicle check the inflation pressures are in accordance with the load specs for the vehicle. A rule of thumb is, if it looks too flat it probably is.
- Most passenger, light commercial vehicles and SUV tyres are manufactured with wear indicators in the main groove of the tread path. This is a small block that is set at 1.6mm in intervals and across the width of the tyre. These are easy to locate and identify. If the surrounding tread is level with any one of these indicators, the tyre is illegal.
- Good practice is to ensure that you have the wheels/tyres rotated and the wheel alignment checked on the vehicle every 8,000km and not more than 10,000km, as this will indicate early signs of damage or deterioration. Proper alignment and rotation can save as much as 25% of the life of the tyres. Do not hesitate if you feel there is something not quite right get it checked.
- Look after you tyres. Avoid potholes, rough roads, fast pull aways, harsh braking, high-speed cornering and other forms of obvious abuse.
If you are not sure of how to check your tyres for depth or age, any reputable TDAFA (Tyre Dealer and Fitment Association) member will be able to assist with the proper advice.
When investing in new tyres for you vehicle, CHEAPEST is not always BEST. Tyres are complex products and are designed to operate and perform in specific ways in different circumstances. By changing any of the dimensional or performance criteria you are changing the entire manner in which the vehicle will behave. Ensure that the tyres being quoted to you are the correct size, load index and speed index for the vehicle. These are variables that affect the price of a tyre and you surely want to compare apples to apples.
Brands of tyres are different and poor quality tyres should never be available from any reputable or TDAFA member fitment centre. It is in your best interests to seek out a TDAFA member dealers when using your hard earned cash on tyres.
Second hand tyres
Second hand tyres are just that, they are used and have in most instances been removed for one reason or another – very seldom does the owner decided to change the tyres on impulse. Many times tyres are removed due to a puncture and have been driven on flat (indications are visible) which damages the side wall of the tyre, making it unsafe. Furthermore where punctures have been repaired, the repair must have been performed according to the SANS 10408 standard. Used tyres can, at best be, visually inspected by the seller or buyer and the integrity of the tyre casing and the tread path area is not able to be fully verified.
The best advice is to steer clear (pun intended) of the second hand tyre market, for your own safety.
Second hand tyres are best described as follows: The pleasure of a low price is quickly forgotten when the product fails
Should you have any queries regarding the tyres on your vehicle it is advisable to approach any TDAFA member as soon as possible for assistance.