Although we rarely ever think about it, the truth is – the tyres on our cars take a beating every time we take our baby for a spin. Tyre failure can be very dangerous if it happens while you’re driving because you can lose control over your car. Usually, losing control is not caused by poor driving skills but simply because the fact your tyres weren’t properly (and regularly) inspected on time! Also, do know that the surface you are driving on doesn’t determine nor affect the lifespan of your tyres; the fact is that whether you are driving on Sydney sandy roads or asphalt – your tyres WILL need changing at one point or the other. So, we suggest you be extra careful when it comes to your car and tyre control before something goes wrong.
Here are a few tips and warning signs you should consider:
According to the professionals, the tread on your tyres should never be smaller than 1/16 of an inch (1.6 millimetres) in depth. The best way to measure the tread depth is by using a gauge, just as professionals do. Additionally, there is a pretty sweet trick drivers like to use to establish how much tread depth they are left with. Believe it or not – the trick involves a penny, and nothing more. Yes, an actual penny.
Take a Lincoln penny and insert it head-down into the tread. Apparently, you don’t have enough tread if Lincoln’s entire head remains visible. In that case, the best thing to do is take your car to the mechanic and get a new set of tyres.
Cracks in the sidewall
Not everything ends with tread depth; cracks in the sidewall are something you want to be mindful of, too. Luckily, visual checks of sidewall problems are easy to do with a naked eye, so you don’t need to waste money on going to your mechanic. Look for visible cuts and tracks in the sidewall: if you can immediately spot them it means the tyres are potentially developing a leak or that they are close to blowing out. To prevent this from happening, get your car to a repair shop and talk to your mechanic about getting them replaced. The sooner you take charge of the problem, the better for your car and your overall driving safety.
The tread wear indicator bar
We love our cars no matter their age; however, the problem with older models is that they’re not entirely caution and safety wired. Unlike the older models of cars and tyres, the newer ones have tread wear indicator bars built into the tyres themselves. As the tread wears down, these bars go from invisible or barely visible to fully appearing and signal that it is time to change your tyres. You’ll know the tread is getting low if you notice more than one of these is visible on a tyre. You can use the penny test to double-check the depth, but the best thing to do is consult a local tyre dealer and see what can be done. Do note that not every tyre changing has to cost you an arm and a leg; talk to your mechanic about cheap tyres from Blacktown and try to get the best offer you can.
Too much vibration
Your car (and tyres) will be vibrating when driving, especially on poorly covered roads. Still, experienced drivers know the difference between ‘regular vibration’ and ‘weird vibration’. Causes for the vibration can be plenty, from unbalanced or misaligned tyres to worn-out shock absorbers. Apart from the possibility that your tyres are worn-out, the vibrations may indicate that there is an internal problem with the car itself. The moment you notice that your car isn’t behaving the way it usually is, i.e. the vibrations feel awkward, take your car to a mechanic.
Bulges and blisters on the tyre
Bulges or blisters are a “normal” part of every tyre life; however, if not treated, these blisters can cause the outer surface of the tyre to weaken which leads to a range of more complex problems. Your tyres can suddenly blow out, which can lead to loss of control over the car, which can then lead to a car accident. This is why, the moment you notice something sticking out of your tyre(s), take your car to a mechanic ASAP, just to be sure you’ve prevented any further damage. While Sydney roads are pretty tyre-friendly, you can never be too sure.
In order to keep your tyres “healthy”, you need to know what damages them in the first place. Age, wear and damage play a huge role in tyre maintenance as do road conditions such as speed bumps, sharp objects, potholes, curbs, etc. The climate can also be a factor with extreme temperature changes affecting your tyre life. Be mindful of your driving habits: quick starts or emergency braking and speeding are no friend to your car nor your tyres. Finally, neglecting basic tyre maintenance such as taking your car to regular check-ups with the mechanic, checking air pressure, alignment and rotation of your tyres and not balancing tyres after they are installed can damage your them significantly.