As the first term at public schools comes to an end, many of us are looking forward to a trip away to our favourite holiday destination or to visit family members. 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 significantly contribute 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.
To avoid any problems when driving to your vacation, 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 as specified by the vehicle manufacturer as well and the same speed rating and load index (including your spare tyre). Rotating, balancing and aligning your tyres every 10 000km will prolong the lifetime of your tyres.
• 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. 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 damage with severe safety consequences.
• 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 tyres 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 and if the vehicle does not hug the road on bends and/or 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.
“It is also very important to remember to sanitize and disinfect your vehicle before, during and after any trip,” explains Horn.
While we continue to disinfect our homes and workplaces, a car may often get overlooked, but is equally important. Clean the air conditioner vents by spraying them with a specialised cleaner and then remove and clean the filter. Clean high-touch surface areas such as the steering wheel, knobs, switches and buttons by using a car interior cleaner. Don’t forget to clean the interior and exterior door handles as well as your car key.
Whilst you’re planning your route and what to pack, don’t forget to make sure your vehicle is well maintained, safe and roadworthy. “If you are unsure about the condition and safety of your vehicle’s tyres and shocks, get them checked by a tyre specialist,” concludes Horn.