By: Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay head of marketing & brand

 

Motorists have to contend with many inconveniences on a daily basis – reckless drivers, annoying traffic and widespread potholes are among the most common. As such, it’s no surprise that a burst or flat tyre can be frustrating for those already at their wits’ end, particularly during the winter months, when it can result in many hours spent in wet and freezing conditions.

 

Not only can a burst or worn tyre result in delays, but it can also put you and your passengers in harm’s way, especially on busy roads or in extreme weather conditions, when good tread is needed to maintain grip on wet roads.

 

Despite being one of the most important components of any vehicle, tyres are often overlooked by drivers, who tend to realise the effects of wear and tear only when it’s too late. To avoid coming unstuck on the roads this winter, here are a few key tyre maintenance tips you’d be well advised to employ at regular intervals:

 

Check for wear and tear

A quick or superficial check on pressure unfortunately won’t yield much insight into the state of your tyres. To identify wear and tear, it’s important to understand potential patterns and the implications they might have on your drive.

 

Excessive wear on the outer or inner edges of your tyres is likely a result of poor wheel alignment, while wear in the central areas of your tyres suggests over inflation. Cupping wear – a form of diagonal balding or scalloping on the tyre – should be cause for concern, as it points to a worn, bent or otherwise compromised suspension. If you identify this type of wear on your tyres, make an appointment with a mechanic immediately.

 

Tread carefully

Smooth tyres can be extremely hazardous, particularly in wet conditions, when they can cause aqua-planing (a loss of tyre traction when driving fast on wet roads) and consequent accidents. As such, it’s important to keep a close eye on your tyre tread, ensuring that you maintain a minimum depth of 1mm across all four tyres. If you suspect that any of your tyres might be looking overly smooth, it might be time to check in with your mechanic.

 

Under pressure

One of the main causes of tyre damage is incorrect inflation, which can significantly shorten their lifespan by reducing contact with the road. Therefore it’s critical to ensure you keep your tyres pumped to a correct level – information you can find in your user manual or on the inside of the driver door or fuel cap. Remember, tyre pressures should be adjusted depending on the load you’re carrying, so don’t forget to make the necessary adjustments if you’re heading off on a big family road trip.

 

Check for gashes, gaps and bulges

It might seem obvious, but it’s important that you do regular inspections of your tyres, checking for any irregularities, punctures, gashes or bulges. You’ll also want to look out for any missing valve caps, which can result in a loss of air pressure, and ensure that no wheel nuts or screws have gone amiss.

 

Just in case

Remember, it’s not only the four tyres currently in use that you need to keep an eye on. A puncture or deflation can be far more readily rectified with a functional spare tyre in place, so it’s vital that you don’t forget this critical lifeline when doing your checks.

About The Author

Tumiso Mfisa

I'm currently a final year student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, studying ND: Management. I'm also an intern at Spice4life, and I define myself as the man of God, businessman, motivational speaker, debater, preacher, day maker and most importantly the family man. I'm goal driven and always look to assist others wherever I can.

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