One of the keys elements in the car that needs special care are the rubber circles called tyres. Without them we may have still been toiling our way around dirt patches in the stone-age. But thanks to science and technology we not only have the conventional air-inflated tube tyre, but also the new generation tubeless tyres. We no more have to search for a road side puncture-wala in order to get our tyres repaired, how embarrassing those days were, isn’t it?
But how many of us still take care of the rubbery component that forms the integral part of your car? Well to start with hardly a handful would in real sense look after their cars. It is the only thing which is always taken for granted, whether consciously or not is up for debate. So here are a few basic measures that you must arm yourself with to enjoy smooth and seamless driving.
Let’s start with the all important Air-pressure – a cause of 6 million liters of fuel wastage in the United States.
- Always maintain inflation pressure in accordance to the guideline of your car manufacturer.
- Once a week check the tyre pressure of your car, ensure that the tyres are cold.
- While fitting new tubeless tyres ensure the air tightness by replacing the valves.
- Valve cap must be in place at all times.
- For contingency situations, always have your spare tyre ready for use.
Now move on to the wheel balancing of your car. Unbalanced or uneven wheels cause tread wear and vibration. It may also lead to premature dysfunction of your steering parts and suspensions. You must always check the alignment in the following cases. Uniformity in the tyre assembly is a must for efficient car handling.
- Whenever a tyre is removed or a new tyre is installed.
- If any irregular tread wearing or vibrations are felt.
- After or at every 5000 km.
Moving ahead to the wheel alignment of the car, alignment is nothing but adjustment of the front and rear suspension parts. It makes sure that the vehicle drives in a straight line and handles better. If the alignment of the wheels are taken good care of, the probability of enhanced fuel economy and tyre life increases manifold. One must undertake this exercise under following circumstances.
- If you notice a difference in handling
- If you have driven along a poor road or a rocky terrain or may hit something.
- A wear of distinct pattern is noticed on the tire’s shoulders.
A frequently asked question of many car owners is the dilemma of, when to change the tyres? The answers are varied in number just like the number of tyre manufacturers. Certain manufacturers imprint a unique code on their tyres which give the benchmark as when is the right time to replace your tyres. An example of this is the tyre manufacturer JK’s Tread Wear Indicator (TWI). Never mix or use a combination of tyres of different brands as it tends to affect stability and vehicle handling. All the tyres of the car must compulsorily be of the same brand from the same company. Never ever mix-match ply bias and radial tyre. Either use all ply bias or all radials. If in unavoidable circumstances where you must mix the radial with the ply bias follow 2 cardinal rules. They are,
- Never mix bias and radial on the same axle.
- If you have a combination of ply bias and 2 radials on hand, bias tyres must be installed on the front axle and the radials on the rear axle.
Another common mistake that car owners frequently commit is not checking the speed ratings while replacing their tyres. One must keep in mind 2 things while going for a replacement.
- Always replace your old tyre with a higher or the same speed ratings.
- Always refer the car manual to ascertain the correct speed rating for your vehicle, cars using different speed rating will certainly affect the handling.
- Never ever chose a tyre which has less load capacity or is smaller than your original tyre which came with the car.
- As approved by the vehicle manufacturer, tyre should always be changed or replaced by the same size.
- If you can only afford to buy 2 tyres at a point it is always advisable to install them on the rear axle. This reduces the chances of hydroplaning and fishtailing in wet conditions.
- It also provides enhanced grip and gives braking stability.
Another frequently sighted difficulty is how to read the key tyre markings? Every tyre company has a code system which is molded carefully in the sidewall, which if read with certain knowledge give you a whole lot of information of their technical capabilities. Following are code found on a common tyre,
- 65 – Indicates the aspect ratio, in simple words the section length and breath of the tyre.
- R – It indicates that the Tire’s construction is Radial ply.
- 15 – It denominates the nominal diameter of the rim.
- 205- Indicates the width of the tyre in millimeters.
- 95H- maximum load carrying capacity, it is subjected to fitting, condition of the tyre and recommended air pressure.
A tubeless tyre has certain benefits over the conventional tyre. Chief among them is the slower rate of deflation in the event of a puncture which leads to better safety. Due to the unique construction of the tubeless tyre, it results in less vibration and a more smooth and comfortable drive. The weight of the wheel is significantly reduced due to absence of the tube thus, achieving greater fuel efficiency. The heat that is build up due to friction of the tube is reduced, in effect increasing the life of the tyre.
Few parting tips to increase the life of your tyre.
- Do not speed. More than generous amount of heat is produced when you are driving at high speed.
- Try to avoid fast turn around the corner and curves.
- Try to avoid driving on the edges of potholes, pavements, drive over curbs and other obstructions.