The year-end holidays are just around the corner and many of us are counting down the days for that trip away and for some much-needed rest and relaxation. For those planning to travel long distances by car these holidays, tyre safety should be top priority.
“Your tyres are the only point of contact that your vehicle has with the road and therefore need to be in good working condition at all times to ensure your safety,” explains Dean Horn – Super Tyres Managing Director.
While human error is the biggest cause of car accidents on the road, badly maintained vehicles and poor tyre condition also contribute significantly to the national road toll every year. “Many accidents can be prevented by ensuring that tyres and shocks are kept in the best possible condition,” says Horn.
The safety of both yourself and your passengers along with the other road users, may very well depend directly on the condition of your cars tyres. “Tyres are what hold the vehicle securely on the road, allowing drivers to steer and stop safely. Tyres and shock absorbers are partners in maintaining your safety. Shock absorbers look after the tyres by keeping them on the ground, and the tyres literally hold your lives in their grip,” he adds.
Making sure that your tyre pressure, tread and wheel alignment is correct is critical for road safety. Approximately 20 percent of fuel goes towards overcoming friction between the car and the road, have your tyres checked to help prevent unnecessary spending at the pumps.
Checking your tyre pressure to make sure that they are properly inflated can also make a significant difference in how long your tyres last. “Under or over-inflated tyres don’t wear evenly and won’t last as long. The front and rear axles and right and left sides of your car wear down your tyres differently. Rotating your tyres regularly helps extend the life of your tyres and improve performance. We recommend that you rotate your tyres every 10,000 Km,” says Horn.
To avoid any problems when driving to your holiday destination, practice these important tyre safety tips:
- Inspect your tyres: It is essential to regularly inspect your tyres for wear and any damage to avoid sudden problems. Have a professional inspect your tyres every six months. Always ensure that all four tyres are the same size, tread pattern and speed rating (including your spare tyre).
- Check the air pressure: Driving with incorrect tyre pressure can affect a vehicle’s handling and braking, particularly in wet conditions, and can seriously compromise your safety. Driving on severely under-inflated tyres can cause heat build-up and eventually, premature failure. Check your tyre pressure monthly and before every long trip.
- Respect the load capacity: Do not exceed the load capacity relative to the tyre’s load index. Tyres loaded beyond their maximum loads can build up excessive heat that may result in sudden tyre destruction.
- Check your shocks: Worn shocks won’t keep your wheels glued to the road, no matter how new your tyres are. In an emergency situation, applying brakes can cause your tyre to loose contact with the road, increasing the chance of an accident. Signs of worn shocks include: a vibrating steering wheel, bald patches on tyres, the car does not hug the road on bends and veers excessively in side winds. Be responsible and get your shocks inspected by a professional before any long trip.
- Inspect your spare tyre: Always inspect your spare tyre ahead of any long trip. Ensure it is pumped to the correct air pressure and is in good condition. If you see any damage to a tyre or wheel, replace it with your spare tyre and have your tyre checked by a professional.
Whilst you’re planning your accommodation and what to pack, don’t forget to make sure your vehicle is well maintained, safe and roadworthy. “If you are unsure about the tread on your tyres and feel they might be unsafe for driving long distances, get them checked by a tyre specialist well ahead of the mad, year-end rush,” concludes Horn.