Keeping a car up and running has come pretty second nature to most of us after driving for a couple years, fill it up with fuel and the regular scheduled service. But what we often neglect to check is the tyres. In fact a friend of mine recently shared on social media how he had run his tyres bare to the point where the reinforcing steel belts were peeking through the rubber! It is anyone’s guess how he never met with an accident.
You don’t need to be an expert to know that no matter how safe a drive you may be, driving with a worn out tyre is extremely dangerous not only to you but to others on the road as well. The condition of your car tyres play an essential part in its performance and fuel consumption.
With these simple tyre checks you can ensure your car’s performance, fuel savings as well as the safety of your daily commutes.
1. Check your tyre pressure
A tyre can still visually keep a symmetrical shape even though the pressure has dropped considerably. So it is important to check the pressure even though the tyre may look “normal”.
You can do so by using a tyre pressure gauge which you can get at any auto accessory shop. You can also do that for free from most tyre pumps at any fuel station. The tyre pump will quickly bring your tyre up to the specified pressure you have set. The correct tyre pressure setting can be found in your car manual or at the driver’s door frame.
Using an underinflated or overinflated tyre is dangerous as it will wear out your tyres unevenly. You will end up having to change your tyres sooner than usual.
There is actually a wireless digital tyre pressure monitoring system you can buy. Simply replace your tyre valve caps with the sensor caps and plug in the main device into your cigarette lighter. The tyre pressure levels of each tyre are displayed on the device’s LCD.
2. Get groovy and check the tyre tread depth
The grooves in a tyre is what gives it traction, especially in wet conditions which happens a lot in our tropical climate. So any worn out tyre tread is very dangerous. So how much is too much? Use a 10 sen coin as a simple gauge, stick the 10 sen coin with the “BANK NEGARA MALAYSIA” facing upside down and facing you. Check in various location of the tread. If you can see the whole letter, then it is time for a change. (To be exact, don’t wear out your tyres more than 1.6mm).
Tyres should always be replaced in adjacent pairs (both front or rear tyres).
3. Check for uneven tread wear
Reach in an Check for uneven tread wear d check if there is any uneven wear to the tyre tread. Are the tyres wearing out more on one side or the middle? This could be a sign of using an unspecified tyre pressure or that your car is due for a tyre alignment balancing.
Another sign that you have uneven tyre wear is if your steering wheel shakes or wobbles when you drive. The diagram below shows the uneven tyre wear from over or underinflation or the need for alignment balancing.
But of course, your tyres aren’t made to last forever. How to know how long your tyres should last?
Don’t have the time or the hassle of getting your hands dirty? Simply drive your car to your closest car tyre shop to have them checked or pumped up.