The manufacturer of your vehicle specifies the suitable pressure to be maintained and is measured in PSI or BAR pressure. It is important to check tyre pressure regularly. Air from a tyre generally escapes at the rate of up to 2 pounds of air every month. Loss of air pressure from a tyre is pronounced during warm weather, so more regular checks are needed when temperatures rise.
Benefits of correct air pressure:
- Safety: Tyres that are under inflated can overheat; and over inflated tyres can lead to poor vehicle handling on the road.
- Economy: Over or under inflated tyres suffer more damage than those with the correct pressure and need to be replaced more frequently. Vehicles with under-inflated tyres have increased rolling resistance and require more fuel to maintain the same speed.
- Environment: Correct tyre pressures help maintain optimum fuel efficiency. This can equate to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from your vehicle than those from a vehicle with incorrect tyre pressure. Thus by maintaining the recommended air pressure in your tyres you contribute towards a cleaner environment.
Role of Valves:
- Valves help maintain tyre pressure and permit air to be added or removed.
- The valve in your wheel is a small but very important part of your vehicle as far as safety and tyre life is concerned. It holds the pressure inside the tyre assembly and is the access point to adjust your tyre pressure. A valve cap in good condition is also essential as it provides a secondary seal and prevents dirt from getting inside. It is recommended to have the valves replaced every time your tyres are changed.
If your car feels as though it’s pulling to the left or right — even though you’re steering in a straight line — it could suggest a problem with your wheel alignment. Incorrect alignment can result in rapid and irregular tyre wear and can even affect the handling and safety of the vehicle.
Benefits of correct wheel alignment:
- 30% increase in tyre mileage on an average
- 2% increase in fuel economy
- Alignment ensures a vehicle is stable at high speeds
- A vehicle that is properly aligned handles better and is safer to drive
Wheel alignment can be affected by driving against a pavement, hitting a pothole in the road or by excessive wear to steering or suspension components. Alignment of wheels and tyres to the specification required by your vehicle is an important way to guarantee a smooth ride and to get the most out of your tyres The direction and angle at which tyres are set are both equally important. Wheel alignment or ‘tracking’ involves checking the direction and angle against vehicle manufacturers’ specifications. These are often described as toe in, toe out, positive camber or negative camber.
“Toe” refers to whether the front of the tyres are closer or further apart than the rear of the tyres. Different types of vehicles need different toe settings to allow for the way wheels pull either towards each other or apart.
“Camber” is the inward or outward tilt of a tyre. The camber is set by the vehicle manufacturer, and can be affected by potholes in the road and may need to be adjusted periodically.
Correct wheel alignment is achieved by adjusting a car’s suspension and steering components to ensure the wheels are perfectly aligned to deliver the least wear on the tyres.
One of the easiest ways to tell when something is not right with your tyres is from behind the steering wheel. Vibration through the steering wheel can mean that a wheel is out of balance, this results in premature wearing of suspension and steering components, rotating parts and tyres.
Tiny weights are used to counterbalance the heaviest part of the tyre and wheel assembly.
If these weights become loose, the wheel will wobble — more at higher speeds — which will increase tyre wear and is potentially unsafe.
In such a situation you should have your wheels balanced on a wheel balancing machine. The machine rotates the tyre and wheel assembly and automatically calculates the weight and location of the balance counter weight. Balanced wheels in a vehicle deliver a smoother ride and better wear from your tyres, again saving you time and money.
Tyre Tread Wear:
You must ensure that the tyres you are driving on have more than 1.6 mm of tread on them.
Most new tyres have about 8 mm of tread pattern when manufactured but as tyres wear their ability to disperse water reduces. Tyres should be replaced before the tread wears down to the level of the Tread Wear Indicators. This can be checked easily with the help of a tread depth gauge or visiting your nearest Tyre dealers.
Tread Wear Indicators are moulded into all major grooves of tyres in at least four positions around the tyre. These indicators sit at least 1.6 mm above the bottom of the grooves and should be examined regularly and should be replaced when at the wearing limit.
Don’t overload your vehicle:
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the load limits. Overloading your vehicle places stress on your tyres and other critical vehicle components. This can also cause poor handling, increased fuel consumption and may cause tyre damage. Never fit your vehicle with new tyres that have less load capacity than shown on the vehicle tyre placard, and remember that optimum rim width is important for proper tyre load distribution and function.
Maintain vehicle suspension & wheel alignment, & balance & rotate your tyres:
Lack of rotation, worn suspension parts, under inflation, over inflation, wheel imbalance, and misalignment can cause vibration or irregular tyre wear. Rotate your tyres according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations or at maximum intervals of 10,000 km.
Driving at high speeds can cause damage to your tyres due to excessive heat build-up, high speeds can also lead to tyre explosions. Also abrupt application of brakes is quite bad for your tyres, as it leads to skidding and tread wear. Driving at a constant speed and avoiding excessive use of brakes increases tyre’s life. Do not excessively spin your tyres when stuck in ice, water logging, mud or sand. The centrifugal forces due to free spinning can result in tyre explosion and other damages. Use forward/ backward motion to set your vehicle free.