How to avoid tyre damage when you parallel park in Brisbane

The five rules of parallel parking

I see a variety of damage to cars and tyres in Brisbane. The odd scratch here and there, perhaps a tiny dent or ding in a wing. Front and rear bumpers are prone to damage but look at most car doors, and you’ll notice tiny dints and marks – parking spaces never give enough door clearance, and even the smallest brush by an opening car door can leave a lifelong scar. Even when your car is parked on your drive, it runs the risk of a collision with the handlebars of your kid’s bike.

Some of the worst damage I notice is caused by gutter rash, the scraping of your wheel against the kerb when you’re parallel parking. If you hit the concrete kerb when parallel parking, your rims are going to suffer. Scratches, scrapes and scores will transform great-looking wheels into eyesores. But this is just aesthetic.

What’s most important is the damage you do to your tyres when you kerb them during a parking manoeuvre. You could find they get pinched, gouged, or split. Your sidewall strength is compromised, and this could have fatal consequences if you suffer a tyre blowout.

So, how do you avoid damaging your tyres and wheels when parallel parking? Here are five rules that will help you keep your tyres and wheels in tip-top condition when parallel parking in Brisbane.

1.    Learn how to parallel park

First and foremost, learn how to park. Pick a spot that is big enough, overshoot a little, and reverse slowly into the parking place. Turn your hazard lights on, and move the steering wheel first one way and then the other to reverse in. Move slowly, and steer quickly. We all hit the kerb now and again, but if you are reversing slowly, there’ll be very little (if any) damage to your tyre.

This YouTube video tutoring parallel parking is one of the best parking lessons I’ve watched.

2.    Know the size of your vehicle

Most gutter rash occurs because the driver isn’t sure of the size of the vehicle. It is why gutter rash is more common when you’ve changed cars, or you’re using a different car temporarily. There are a lot of vehicles that get driven out of the showroom and within a few hours have nasty wheel scrapes.

Learn how big your car is, and where the front and rear wheels are located. It will help you to park and avoid needing a taxi to get you from the car to the kerb.

3.    Use your mirrors!

You have mirrors for a reason, and they move for a reason. One of the best innovations in vehicle technology has been the electric wing mirror. Move the mirror, point it at the kerb, and watch for your rear tyre nearing the concrete. It’s the very best indicator of when you need to turn the steering wheel. So, you must spend a few seconds readjusting your mirrors for normal driving – isn’t this better than expensive (and dangerous) damage to your wheels and tyres?

4.    Fit the right-sized tyres

The rubber of your tyres helps to protect the wheel if you do kerb it. A correctly fitted tyre will create a shield which prevents your wheel from being gouged by a concrete kerb. If the tyre is too narrow, not only is it dangerous to drive on, but it exposes the tyre to kerb damage. So always make sure you have the right-sized tyre fitted to the right-sized wheel.

5.    What if you hit the kerb?

The harder you hit the kerb, the more damage you will cause your tyres and wheels. If you puncture the tyre, it will deflate quickly. If you don’t puncture the tyre, the sidewall could be compromised to such an extent that it becomes dangerous to drive on. You may not realise the danger until you are on the motorway, travelling at speed.

In our next blog, we’ll explain a simple and effective tyre checking process. In the meantime, if you have kerbed your wheels when parallel parking, don’t take any chances with your safety. Take your car to the nearest tyre shop, and get the tyres checked by a professional. This check could be the few minutes that saves your life.

If you’re in West Brisbane, contact us and let us know you’re on your way. We’ll be ready and waiting to make sure your tyres do what they are designed to do – keep you and your passengers safe.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

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.