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How to handle (tyre) pressure

How often should you check tyre pressure and how can you spot problems?

Why your tyre pressure is so important and how to keep checking:

Driving with soft tyres causes the rubber to flex more than normal while driving, and this leads to overheating. As the speed and journey length increases, so does the temperature. Eventually the tyre comes apart, because the various components are only glued together, and the driver usually loses  control. So, it’s important to check the pressures regularly, but how  often?

On any newly-purchased vehicle, whether old or new, check the tyre pressures perhaps every day for the first three days, and then every week, or every fill-up. As time goes by, you will have established a history of how the tyres behave. Most tyres go down very little over time, and after a few weeks  check them only every second fill-up.   What to do in-between checkups?

  1. Walk around the car every morning to look at the size of the bulge the tyre makes where it meets the road. One soon gets to know how much the bulge increases as the pressure goes down, and then it’s worth checking the pressure.
  2. One should only hold the steering wheel lightly while driving, because a car  is designed to run in a straight line unless the road camber forces it to turn to one side. A soft tyre will cause the car to pull to the side that is soft. You should feel it on the steering, and you should stop and investigate. I even sometimes let go of the wheel just to see whether the car wants to pull to one  side.

Here are some hints from the tyre experts at Tiger Wheel & Tyre on what your tread is telling you:

1. Worn inner or outer edges, also known as “toe wear” – This could be an indicator of a problem with your wheel alignment. Have it checked right away.
2. Wear on both the inner and outer edges – Your tyres are likely underinflated. Inflate them right away and have them checked for leaks.
3. Wear down in the middle of the tyre could mean your tyres are overinflated – Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your tyres and stick with the pressure indicated.
4. Random bald spots – This could be from excessive breaking or skidding and could also be a sign that your shocks are worn or wheels are seriously out of balance. Either way, you should have it seen to immediately.
5. Cupping or scalloping – If you can see the signs of diagonal tread wear on your tyres, you should know this is a serious problem that could be the result of worn shocks or even a failing suspension. Have it seen to right away.

 

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