Why your 4WD spare might be useless in Brisbane’s winter

It’s time to check your tyres in Brisbane before winter sets in

Changing weather conditions in alters the performance of tyres in Brisbane. For most motorists, their tyres are the last thing that they consider as a potential hazard. Even after a tyre has rolled off the production line, it’s physical properties are still changing. After a while, the inevitable ageing process kicks in.

Your safety – and that of your passengers and other road users – depends on the performance of your tyres.

In this article, you’ll learn about the effect of hot and cold weather on your tyres in Brisbane, and why 4WD spares are often the most dangerous tyres on the roads.

Hot weather – complacency and fat tyres in Brisbane

When spring turns to summer, hot, sun-filled days give drivers a false sense of security. As grip improves, speed increases – especially on corners and bends. What you can’t see is the way your tyres are altering their shape. As the days get hotter, the air inside your tyres expands. Your tyres get fatter.

The older the tyre, the more it will have aged. As the number of vehicles on Queensland’s roads grows, there are a lot older tyres spinning on the tarmac. Older rubber becomes more brittle and more likely to fail. Those pieces of tyre rubber you see in the roads, especially in summer, are the result of faster speeds, hotter roads, and expanding the air in the tyre.

Cold weather – when your tyres come under more pressure

As the temperature drops when we move into winter, the air in your tyres contracts and the tyre’s air pressure falls. Goodyear has calculated that the fall in tyre pressure corresponds to the how many degrees the temperature has fallen. A 10-degree temperature change results in a decrease of about 2lbs in tyre pressure.

As the tyre deflates naturally in winter, you’ll suffer more wear on the shoulder of the tyre. Your tyre heats up quicker on the road, softening the rubber. It can increase fuel consumption.

You’ll also be driving on roads that have suffered from overuse in summer. Potholes, cracks and ridges will damage tyres further, especially if they are underinflated.

If your tyres have aged, irrespective of the number of kilometres you’ve driven on them, you could be putting yourself at risk on the roads in Brisbane this winter. And this brings me to why your 4WD spare tyre could be useless.

The danger of ageing tyres

Rubber ages, especially when it is exposed to changing weather and extreme sunshine. UV rays harden tyre rubber. If you look closely at older tyres, you’ll notice small cracks appearing. It isn’t the result of kerbing, but of ageing and exposure to sunlight.

Rubber ages naturally over a long time. Direct sunlight speeds up this ageing process.

Hardening rubber is less pliable, and we see a lot of tyres that are coming away from wheel rims.

The worst of these problems is often found on spare tyres – especially those that have been exposed to direct sunlight, like the spare tyre on the rear of a 4WD. Other vehicles that are most prone to substandard tyres include caravans and trailers. They are stored in sunlight, and within a few years, the tyres could be in a dangerously ageing condition.

If you need to use the spare tyre and you haven’t checked it for a while, you could be about to drive a deathtrap.

Check your spare tyres today

If you’re like nine out of ten drivers, you won’t have checked your tyres for months. Probably at the beginning of summer. You could be driving on seriously underinflated tyres in the winter.

You should check tyre pressures at least once a month. You’ll find the maximum recommended tyre pressure on the tyre placard inside the door jamb or in the glove box.

Ageing is a little more difficult to evaluate. The Tyre and Rim Association of Australia recommends that tyres should be checked by an expert if they are five years old. It’s also worth checking with the manufacturer of your tyre – many recommend that tyres should be replaced at a certain age, regardless of wear.

We’re here to help. We’ve got extensive experience in the supply, fitting and maintenance of tyres for all types of vehicles in Brisbane and Queensland. Contact us today (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) and book your professional tyre check today. Don’t leave it too late, even if you’ve never used your spare.


Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.