It is the right thing to continue to enlighten ourselves, educate and create awareness; we will continue to highlights things we need to know to stay safe on the road. Welcome to the sixth month, June is here!
Our first shot at “Tyre Safety” was on selection, if we get selection wrong; anything we do thereafter is what could be referred to as “medicine after death”. It is very important to apply due diligence in selecting appropriate tyre for our vehicle, especially when we are making choice for replacement.
There is nothing wrong in checking also to confirm tyres on our vehicle when we buy them as brand new or fairly used to see if they are suitable for use as specified; there are situation tyres made for cold region find their way into a temperate region; failure of such mismatch in application is inevitable, there are references online and in owner/vehicle manual to guide and keep us informed.
Having selected the right type of tyre should be followed by periodic inspection; which would vary from what the tyre is subjected to in terms of usage; loading, terrain, frequency of exposure. Good tyre does not last forever, even when used within manufacturer recommendation; there comes a time for replacement. However, inspection would help us to maximize our tyre usage and avoid premature failure. Worn tyres significantly impede vehicle’s performance – low tread depths reduce the effectiveness of braking, steering, and acceleration.
A closer look at our tyre would help us notice wherever there is an uneven wear on the tyre (centre, both edges); feather edges look like cracks on the tread, dips and cups or even a puncture. Inspection can also reveal under or over inflation of your tyres. Under inflation is a threat to tyre’s durability (could lead to early failure and increased fuel consumption); over inflation also increases the risk of tyre burst; there’s no advantage either way. Note; a tyre does not have to look flat to be under inflated, gauge it!
Tyre tread signals the health of the tyre. Driving with low tread depth increases the potential for failure, aquaplaning and increase the braking distance. Each tyre has a tread wear indicator (TWI) to check tread depth for continuous tyre usage. Mostly advertised minimum tread depth limit for tyre is 1.6mm. Look out for tyre TWI, if your tyre is at this point or below it; your tyre should be put out of use.
When and how often should I inspect my tyre? There are so many opinions about this. Some say every two weeks, another prefer once a month. I will suggest, if there is any mention of interval for inspection in your owner’s manual, follow it as possible as you can. But I will advise before any long trip and more frequently as your tyre ages; after driving through mud or flooded terrain is also a good time to inspect the tyres for any damage, remove stones or debris from the tire treads.
Finally, there is need for caution on how long tyres are to be put to use (how long they can last) as there are combination of factors that would determine this and such varies with design, driver’s habit, climate road conditions and caring for the tyres. Some manufacturer advocates 4 to 5 years tyre replacement even if tyre tread still look good and above 1.6mm depth or indicates mileage covered.
Care for your tyres, a lot is at risk when you neglect this responsibility…be safe and have a good month
Samuel Akinfe, CEO, Steerite Driving School