When planning an adventure, we often focus on the various activities we want to take on and all the necessities for the trip, that we forget the importance of our tyres and checking them before the trip. Tyre safety may not be as exciting, but failing to make sure your tyres are in check can turn your adventure and even your everyday drive into dangerous and timely disaster. The 2021 Best Tyre Fitment Centre, Tiger Wheel & Tyre, gives some tips on how to check your tyres before any adventure.
Tip 1: Look at your tread
The tyre tread is the rubber that grips the road and wears down as you drive. No matter where your adventures take you, the grip of your tyres is crucial both on and off-road. The more worn your tyres are, the less traction and grip you will have on the road, meaning your braking distance will increase, and you are more likely to skid when driving in the rain. Although the legal tread depth limit in South Africa is a minimum of 1mm across the entire circumference of the tyre, we recommend you change your on-road 4×4 tyres when the tread depth reaches 3mm. For all-terrain tyres, we recommend you change your tyres at 4mm, as the edges will begin to wear at this point, offering much less grip and stability.
If you are unsure whether your tyre tread is legal, ask a Tiger Wheel & Tyre professional to point out the tread wear indicators in your tyres.
Tip 2: More than just pressure
Your tyre pressure can be the difference between life and death. We often assume the tyre pressure is 2 Bar; however, each car comes with recommended pressures. You can find this on the sill of the driver’s door or inside the fuel cap. So, rather take the time to check this information and make sure the pressure is correct, as over-inflated and under-inflated tyres can be dangerous. Over-inflated tyres erode quickly at their centre, while under-inflated tyres wear down on the outsides quicker. Under-inflated tyres also overheat easily and can cause tyre bursts which are notorious for road fatalities.
The correct tyre pressure off-road is more complicated as there are numerous variables that need to be considered. We will take a closer look at this later in another article.
Tip 3: Keep the balance
Wheel balancing and wheel alignment are confusing aspects most of the time, and its importance is often neglected. Neglecting these aspects negatively affects the handling and driving comfort; it can also place stress on the wheel bearing that can lead to premature wearing and decrease the tire life. It also puts stress on the components of the suspension. In extreme cases, steering components can be damaged, and all the parts might fail prematurely. It also increases the need for extra energy and can cut down the mileage of the vehicle.
If your car is shaking or pulling to one side while driving, you need to get your wheels balanced and aligned. Sometimes it’s very subtle, so make sure you check your wheel balancing and alignment every 10 000km or before each major trip. This not only improves the handling of your car but also extends the tread life of your tyres. Moreover, ignoring the symptoms can prove to be expensive and even dangerous.
It is important to note that after you went off-roading, your tyre balance and alignment might be off as crawling over rocks, roots, and humps put lots of stresses on the wheels from different directions throughout the adventure. These stresses can cause shearings, wearing and loosening of the suspension and steering components, which can cause misalignment of the wheels.
Tip 4: The extra tyre
Lastly, before taking on the road, make sure you have a spare tyre that is inflated to the right pressure and has the right amount of thread to ensure a safe journey. In addition, get yourself a tyre repair kit to fix those pesky punctures. If your car is fitted with run-flat tyres – tyres on which you can continue driving after a puncture so you can take the time to get to an auto shop – you won’t have a spare. Remember to check the manufacturer’s specifications to find out how fast and how far you can drive on your run-flat tires.
The more care you take to look after your tyres, the longer they will last, which means you will have more money to spend on your adventures and other 4×4-fitments.
For all your wheel and tyre needs visit, Tiger Wheel & Tyre: