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Extending the Life of Your Car Tyres

Car Wheel Alignment

Tyres are an expensive item on a motor vehicle, especially as that expense is multiplied by four, but by simply observing a few basic rules, you can extend their life considerably and save yourself a lot of money in the process. Here’s how.

Tyre pressure

Running your tyres at the correct pressure not only saves on fuel consumption, it also reduces unnecessary tyre wear. If your tyre is over or under-inflated, the shoulder of the tyre is subjected to uneven wear, which reduces its life. It is important to check your tyre pressure monthly at the very minimum and adjust it accordingly. The correct pressure for your tyres is listed in your vehicle owner’s manual and often on the driver’s door jamb or inside the fuel cover of your vehicle.

Tyre rotation

Having your tyres rotated regularly may also improve their longevity by spreading the wear evenly amongst all four tyres. Common tyre rotation methods include:

  • Forward Cross method (for front wheel drive vehicles whose tyres have a symmetrical tread pattern)
  • X Pattern method (for tyres with an asymmetrical tread pattern)
  • Rearward Cross method (for rear wheel drive vehicles whose tyres have a symmetrical tread pattern).

Wheel balance and alignment

Whenever you rotate your tyres or fit new ones, you should always have the tyres balanced and the wheels aligned. This is a significant contributing factor to tyre preservation and is well worth the small extra expense.

Wheel alignment requires the adjustment of the angles of the wheels until they are perpendicular (at right angles) to the road and parallel to each other. Wheel balancing involves checking for ‘heavy’ spots on the wheel and tyre combination, which may create vibrations (and thus tyre wear) and placing small measured lead weights on the opposite sides of the rim to compensate.

Driving technique

Another way to extend the life of your tyres is to change your driving habits. Tyre wear is exacerbated by actions such as cornering too fast, accelerating from a standstill too quickly and braking too sharply and too often.

Reducing speed through corners, accelerating smoothly without spinning the wheels and coasting up to red lights and stop signs, rather than waiting until the last minute to brake, are all excellent ways to save your tyres from unnecessary wear.

Other tips

You can also preserve your tyres for longer by doing some or all of the following things:

  • Not going off-road in your vehicle or driving it on poor road surfaces
  • Opting to walk or ride your bike, rather than using your car for errands and short trips
  • Buying good quality tyres that will give you more miles for your dollar
  • Not parking too close to verges where the tyres may rub against kerbing
  • Having your tyres filled with nitrogen, which gives more accurate tyre pressure readings and improves tyre longevity.

With the price of rubber increasing an average of 10% a year, tyres are expected to get more expensive, so prolonging their useful working life through simple steps such as these can only be a good thing in the long run.  It may also be worth speaking to your car insurance company and enquire about tyre and rim insurance.