Thursday Tip: Let’s Burn Some Rubber! Tyre Wear
& Why tyres are so important?
Correct Inflation Pressure
Correct inflation pressure is important, as the pressurised air inside your tyre has to support the weight of your vehicle and its load. Inflation pressure can also affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Tyre pressures vary depending on the vehicle model and the load being carried.
So go to your local service station and check your tyre pressures regularly against the manufacturer’s specifications for your vehicle. You’ll find the inflation specifications in your vehicle owner’s handbook.
The following illustrations demonstrate how the effects of correct and incorrect inflation pressure can be seen on your tyre tread pattern.
- Have a smaller contact area with the road.
- May effect breaking
- Create uneven tread wear – the centre of the tyre wears out faster
- Compromise handling
- Creates an unpleasant ride – the tyre is unable to ‘soak up’ the bumps
- Can increase rolling resistance
- Increase fuel consumption – due to the rolling resistance, which makes the engine work harder
- Creates uneven tread wear – the edges of the tyre wear out faster
- Affect braking performance
The effects of tyre pressure on fuel consumption
Under-inflated tyres increase your vehicle’s drag, which increases fuel consumption. But by how much exactly? A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the USA found that every 1 per cent decrease in tyre pressure correlated to a 0.3 per cent reduction in fuel economy. Under inflation of the tyre by 10 per cent increases fuel consumption by 2 per cent. Twenty per cent under-inflation increases fuel consumption by 4 per cent. With tyre pressure at 40 per cent below the recommended level, the tyre’s fuel consumption increases by 8 per cent.
This can have a significant effect over time as tyres can naturally lose one to two PSI per month. Changes in temperatures can also affect tyre pressure. For every 5 °C drop in temperature, there is a 2 per cent loss in tyre pressure. Your tyre also inflates about 2 per cent with a 5 °C rise in temperature. If the temperature fluctuates throughout the year or even from day to night, the effect can be significant.
Tyre Defects & Deterioration
If your vehicle’s tyres show signs of deterioration (wear and tear), you should remove them and replace them. Do not drive on the public road with sub-standard tyres on your vehicle.
There are several tell-tale signs you should keep an eye out for:
- cracking or crazing of the sidewall of the tyre, caused by its flexing
- distortion of the tyre tread
- deformation of the main body of the tyre
- loss of pressure despite regular pumping up
- deep cuts
- separated or perished rubber
- vibrations through the tyres when you drive
Wheel Alignment & Balancing
You may hear the terms ‘wheel alignment’ and ‘wheel balancing’ used interchangeably, but they are separate issues, both important in the upkeep of your tyres and vehicle.
Wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Aligning your wheels can help
maximise tyre life and ensure that your vehicle drives straight and true when on level surfaces.
The effects of tyre misalignment may be detected by either of the following:
- uneven or rapid tyre wear
- when driving on a straight flat road the driver can feel the steering wheel pulling to one side (having to exert a slight extra force to keep the vehicle
driving in a straight line).
Wheel balancing allows the tyres and wheels to spin without causing any vibrations. Your wheels’ balance is gauged by checking for any heavy spots on the wheel-tyre combination and compensating for such flaws by placing a measured balancing weight on the opposite side of the wheel from where the heavy spot is located.
The symptoms of a wheel that is out of balance include:
- vibration in the steering wheel, seat or floor-pan, usually at motorway speeds
- ‘scalloped’ or ‘cupped’ wear pattern on the tyres
If your tyres demonstrate any of the symptoms outlined above, we advise that you seek
advice from your local authorised tyre repair centre.
Get Your Tyres Checked!
As we have seen, your car’s tyres are critical to road safety. Therefore, it is imperative that you check your tyres constantly. As with anything, if problems are left unchecked, no matter how big or small they are, they can wreak havoc on other parts of the car.
Read more tips on tyres
Get your car ready for winter
What does tyre size mean?
To the untrained eye, the side wall of a tyre can look like a meaningless set of numbers, letters and symbols. Hidden amongst these is the tyre size. But what does it look like and, more importantly, what does it mean?
Thursday Tip: Why is having your wheels aligned...
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