Beginner’s Guide To Tyre Maintenance

By Chad Ina - June 14, 2016

If you’ve been a loyal reader or have read some of our other articles here at Car Fix Tips, you’d know that we’re in the midst of covering a new series of posts all centralized reound the topic of ‘Beginner’s Guides’. We’ve already covered what every DIY car enthusiast, new car owner or overall car newbie should do to his car’s engine to constantly keep it healthy and fully functional. After taking care of the most critical component of your car, let’s now move on to the next part of our beginner’s series.

Introducing: Beginner’s Guide To Tyre Maintenance. Like your engine, there are certain protocols, procedures and practices that you should be implementing to your car tyres regardless of how new they are or how experienced you are with your ride.

If you’re a beginner, this post is especially tailored for you to remove all the guesswork required on your part when just starting out – so we think you’d greatly appreciate this resource. Now that your engine is all revved up and ready to go, you need to make sure your tyres are just as ready to carry the loads and power from that engine – letting you cruise down the streets smoothly and seamlessly.

Rotate Your Tyres

Rotating your tyres can have immense benefits to your car, including prolonging its lifespan. By moving the tyres from one position to the next (swapping the front with the back and the back with the front etc), you’ll be evening out the wear and tear for all your tyres.

This is because your front tyres typically carry more of the car’s weight and tend to wear out twice as fast than your rear tyres. By consistently rotating / switching their positions, you’ll help to even out the loads put on both sets of tyres, thus removing any imbalance that might occur to them – eventually extending their lifespan.

Rotating should be done approximately every 5000 miles / 8000 km. Since this is a beginner’s guide, we’d like to spare you the details of the nitty-gritty as much as possible, as long as you understand the principles behind each theory. For example, if you’d like to go into more detail about the types of rotation available (cross rotation, straight rotation, 5 tyre rotation, 4 wheel drive etc), then this resource should help you tremendously: Click Here

But for now, simply understand that a constant change and rotation can have tremendous health benefits for your tyres, and should be implemented consistently.

Pressure Checks

This is probably one of the more easier to checks to do, but typically tends to get overlooked. Checking your tyre pressure is crucial not only for the smoothness of your drive, but also for your own safety.

Keeping your tyres road-worthy is an absolute must for to keep your car in a good standing over the long-term. Plus, it is also illegal and hugely dangerous to you and all the other drivers on the road if you’re driving without the properly-maintained elements of a healthy tyre.

By keeping an eye on the pressure, you’ll reduce the risk of tyre damage or the car spinning out of control when driving. Also, proper, inflated tyres will reduce fuel consumption.

Apart from just the general pressure of your tyres, be on the lookout for subtle details such as splits on the tyre sidewall, chunks of missing rubber gouged out, or if you’re really unfortunate, nails/other dangerous objects sticking out of the tread.

(Note, if that is the case with you, don’t pull out the nail right away, as that’s what’s still keeping the tyre inflated. By pulling it out right away, you’ll be dealing with a punctured tyre. Get to your nearest mechanic if you’re unsure how to deal with such a situation properly).

Essentially, apart from pressure, you’re looking out for any adverse effects on your tyres the same way you’d look out for injuries on your body if you’re been sprinting down a highway at 60mph every single day. On average, this should be done about every month or so, but for the truly cautious, checking them once a week can also be hugely beneficial.

The more you look after your tyres, the more they’ll look after you.

Tyre Treads

By now you should know that, its not a matter of if your tyres will wear out, but of when they will wear out. All you can do with your maintenance procedures is minimize this wear from occurring, or prolong its effects from taking hold.

Checking your tyre tread is crucial in prolonging those effects. Tyre treads are vital in removing water between the tyre and the road, thus keeping the car under control and preventing the risk of aquaplaning. This is why your tread depth is crucially important, because if it isn’t deep enough, the tyre tread will not work like its supposed to.To measure and get the actual value of the depth, utilize the tread wear indicators built into the tread (if you’re unsure how they look like, they are essentially bars placed at regular points across the tread).

Without boring you with too much of the details, as the tyres wear down after prolonged use, inevitably, the tyre tread will be level and flush with the wear indicator – indicating that its time to change the tyres as it won’t fall within the minimum depth requirement.

The minimum tread depth varies from country to country, so your best bet would be to check with your state government’s transport department to ensure you’re within the legal driving limits. However, if you’re too lazy to do so (as most of us are), as a general rule of thumb and approximation, a ‘normal’ tread depth is usually around 1.6mm.

Conclusion

This guide should give you some good ground to stand on if you’re unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of proper tyre maintenance.  Although not as in-depth or technical as your basic engine maintenance, your tyres (or any part of your car for that matter) are just as important to take proper care of for long-term functionality and health.

Each part and component of your car relies on one another to function as a holistic unit, so don’t overlook the tyres the same way you wouldn’t overlook your engine.

A faulty engine may lead to serious issues such as overheating, but faulty tyres may lead to serious danger when driving – not only to you, but also to other drivers on the road.

We’ve already got enough bad drivers on the road as it is, let’s not be one of them.

About the Author - Chad Ina

4 comments

  1. Hi Chad
    Thanks for your interesting blogs.
    Just to add to the tyre comment, the tyre wear on my car is different. The rear tyres are down to the indicators but the front tyres look almost like new (the mechanic’s view).
    Had I rotated them, I would not need to replace any.
    Rgds
    Boon

    • Thats good to hear. Its funny how tyre wear actually goes unnoticed, yet so important! Do you have a rear wheel drive car?

  2. The tyres are one of the MOST important bits of your car, most people do not know this.
    I would like to point ouit that the pressure in the tyres is EXTREMELY important for safety reasons) and should be kept well above the figures posted by the car mfg. as their figures are a compromise between comfort and economy.
    The point I like to make is:
    IF you service the tyres to ~0.2bar (4-6 psi) above the recommended (minimum) figure, and DO take note the MAX. pressure figure posted on the sidewall of the tyre which ypu should NEVER exeeded.
    You WILL benefit in less tyre wear and LESS fuel consumption since the rolling resistence will be reduced (at the cost of comfort in some cars).
    Furthermore; always service the tyres when COLD meaning after a drive of LESS than 5 km (3mi) at moderate speeds (if you service the tyres “hot” DO NOT let air out whatever the reading).

    • If you have more or less pressure in your tyres than the manufactures state and you have a accident the insurance can refuse to pay up. That is one of the things the assessor does first when the vehicle is recovered. I no what you are saying you will get more miles to the gallon. But I would not take that risk.

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