how-to-remove-queenslands-road-tar-from-your-tyres

How to remove Queensland’s road tar from your tyres

Seven steps to clean your tyres and stay safe when the roads are melting

It was a catastrophe and one that I cannot remember witnessing before in Queensland. Sure, melting tar sometimes sticks to tyres and needs to be removed. But a whole road melting and causing drivers to abandon their cars?

That was the scene in the Atherton Tablelands, south of Cairns, one day at the beginning of July. The road had recently been resealed. Then the weather turned from cool to hot. The tar melted rapidly, and as many as 50 vehicles had their tyres coated in tar. It was so thick and sticky, the drivers were forced to leave their cars on the road.

Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But if you do drive on a road where the bitumen is sticky, you could find that your tyres are wearing a coat of tar. They will pick up gravel and other debris from the roads. The combination of tar and gravel will make your ride less comfortable, increase braking distances, and erode the rubber on your tyres – and could cause other damage to your vehicle, too, as gravel flies off when you drive.

If you find tar on your tyres, it’s best to clean it off immediately. This seven-step process is the way to go. It will help keep you safe on the road and save you money as your tyres last longer.

Get your tar removal kit ready

To get started, you need a few household items and a couple of other specialist products:

  • Detergent
  • Tar-removing product (such as Ta Ta Tar)
  • Water-dispersing products (e.g. WD-40)
  • Linseed oil
  • Water
  • Plastic knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Scrubbing brush

Step 1:

Use the plastic knife and screwdriver to carefully scrape away the worst of the tar, taking care not to puncture or pierce the tyre.

Step 2:

Now, using a large amount of detergent, scrub the tyre with the scrubbing brush. Be prepared for some hard graft – as well as a liberal quantity of detergent, you’ll also need a good supply of elbow grease. Your objective is to remove as much of the tar, gravel and other debris from the tyre as possible.

Step 3:

Now for the linseed oil. Spread it onto the tyre, and let it bleed into the remaining tar for around 30 minutes.

Step 4:

Use the plastic knife to scrape away more of the tar, which will have been softened by the linseed oil.

Step 5:

If you haven’t removed all the tar, use a tar remover like Ta Ta Tar. You could also use WD-40, which will also dissolve tar. Refer to the product’s usage directions for how long you should leave the product in contact with the tyre. If you need to repeat the process, leave it a few minutes between cleans. Be prepared to use a lot more elbow grease – and be patient.

Step 6:

When you have removed all the tar, wash your tyre with a water and detergent mix, scrubbing away any residue of tar and cleaning products.

Step 7:

Inspect your tyre for damage, using our easy way to check your tyre tread and stay safe. If you discover damage to the sidewall or tread, take your vehicle to a reputable tyre shop and get a professional opinion.
Cleaning tar off your tyres is an essential maintenance job. Once it’s done, you must check for damage to the tyres. Don’t take any chances. Bring your vehicle into Darra Tyres, here in West Brisbane, if you are in any doubt about whether your tyres are safe to drive on. It really isn’t worth the risk. For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

tips-to-make-your-4WD-tyres-last-longer-in-Queensland

Tips to make your 4WD tyres last longer in Queensland

Cut your 4WD tyre costs

Whether you drive your 4WD vehicle mostly on tarmac or mainly off-road, a major cost will be its tyres. So, you’ll want to make them last as long as possible. Here are our top tips to make your 4WD tyres last longer. Follow these, and whatever your driving style you will get thousands of extra kilometres from each tyre. That’s real money in your pocket.

4WD tyre tip #1: Fit the correct tyre

This is the most important tip of them all, and one that holds true for all vehicle types. Think about your style of driving, and where you do most of your driving. Mud terrain tyres will wear quickly if they are used constantly on the tarmac. Highway terrain tyres are likely to blow if you spend all your time travelling in the outback.

Speak to your tyre supplier, discuss where and how you drive and take their advice on the type of tyre to buy. You’ll benefit from a more comfortable drive, better fuel consumption, and lower tyre costs in the long run. Read our article Which 4WD tyres are best in Brisbane? for more info.

4WD tyre tip #2: Keep them at the right pressure

Make sure you check your tyre pressures regularly. Changing temperatures will mean you need to inflate or deflate, and if you’re carrying a heavy load you should pay extra attention. Driving with incorrectly inflated tyres affects your safety, fuel consumption, and tyre life.

Always run your tyres at the pressure as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer – you’ll find this on the tyre placard, which is usually on the driver’s door pillar.

4WD tyre tip #3: Rotate regularly

Tyres wear at different speeds, depending on where they are on the car. They also wear differently. Front left tyres to wear more on the inside shoulder than front right tyres, for example. To combat this, rotate your tyres regularly – side to side and front to rear. Every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres is a good guide.

4WD tyre tip #4: Align those wheels!

4WD vehicles are notorious for having their wheels knocked out of alignment. This may be because of the rough terrain on which they are driven, or because they are bumped against kerbs. Bring your vehicle into our tyre shop in Darra and have your wheels aligned. You’ll get a better ride, your vehicle will stop pulling to one side, and your tyres will last longer.

4WD tyre tip #5: Be extra vigilant on road trips

When you’re on a road trip, and especially if you’re travelling off-road, treat your tyres with extra care. Check your tyres every morning. Make sure they haven’t been damaged, and that the tyre pressure is correct.

For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Buying tyres online in Australia just got 10percent more expensive

Buying tyres online in Australia just got 10% more expensive

Can you really afford the risks posed by costlier online tyres?

Recently, I wrote a couple of articles about online tyres. In the second of those articles, I asked, is it cheaper to buy tyres online? We’d had a customer come into our tyre shop here in Darra, asking us to fit tyres that he’d bought online to his vehicle. We pointed out that he hadn’t needed new tyres. The ones he already had would have lasted another 20,000 kilometres. He’d splashed out $400 on tyres he didn’t need.

Soon, those $400 tyres will soon cost an extra $40. You see, buying tyres online in Australia just got 10% dearer.

Imported tyres sold online are now taxed

One of the major reasons for buying tyres online seems cheaper is that until now you won’t have been charged Goods and Service Tax (GST) on them. Items costing less than $1,000 and bought on the web were exempt from tax. And when you consider that retailers from overseas also remove their sales taxes (such as VAT in the UK), this meant that online retailers could make their tyre prices really competitive.

This advantage has now been removed. The online retailers won’t simply eat this tax, either. So, they will pass it on to you, the Australian tyre buyer. From July 1st this year, you can expect to see tyre prices from online retailers jump by 10%.

Expect to see some online tyre retailers close shop

One of the drawbacks of adding GST to online sales is the high costs of collecting the tax on low-value imports. The solution is to pass the burden onto the online retailer. Now, they must register with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), collect the GST from the customer, and pay it to the ATO.

It is going to get more complicated and more expensive for online tyre retailers from overseas to sell into Australia. They need to overcome more admin, tougher rules on compliance, collecting and paying GST, and the unique logistic challenges of distribution in Australia. For some, this extra burden of work and higher costs, combined with a less competitive price, will be enough to see them close down their Australian web sales.

Australian tyre retailers now on a leveller playing field

A spokesperson for the ATO said that this change had been made to “ensure Australian businesses can compete on a level playing field with overseas sales”. As far as tyres go, I think this puts us at a distinct advantage. The only real advantage of that online retailers had was the price. Higher online prices will make savvy tyre buyers concentrate on what you must know before buying tyres online. For example, you won’t get:

  • Aftercare
  • Safety checks
  • The knowledge that you are buying genuine and not fake tyres
  • A real total cost, including fitting tyres, and balancing and aligning wheels

Our advice is to always get advice when it comes to tyres. They are the only part of your vehicle that is in contact with the road. They play a major part in your safety and comfort. Taking risks by buying online just got 10% more expensive.

For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Which-4WD-tyres-are-best-in-Brisbane

Which 4WD tyres are best in Brisbane?

Measure your driving to get the measure of the tyres to choose

The tyres you need for your 4WD here in Brisbane depends on how you intend to drive your vehicle. Having the right 4WD tyres fitted is one of the most important decisions you will make. You may need an extra grip on dry or wet roads. If you intend to drive off-road, then you’ll need a different type of grip for sand, mud, and stone. Puncture resistance is likely to be important – you don’t want to be stuck in the Queensland bush with two tyres like pancakes.

In this article, you’ll learn about the three major 4WD tyre types. Choosing the right one will help give you a better driving experience, ensure your tyre costs are kept as low as possible, and, most importantly, could save your life.

Why are there different categories of 4WD tyres?

Tyre classification is not a simple exercise when it comes to 4WD vehicles. There is no single standard, and many manufacturers use their own rating system. This can make it difficult to select the right tyres, and even harder when comparing one brand against another. It’s especially confusing when buying tyres online.

That’s why we ask about your driving when you visit our tyre shop here at Darra Tyres. The tyres you need depends on where you do most of your driving, with three main groups of tyres:

  1. Highway terrain
  2. All-terrain
  3. Mud terrain

Highway terrain 4WD Tyres

These are the tyres to buy if you drive only on tarmac roads. Most new 4WD vehicles are sold with this type of tyre fitted because most 4WD vehicle drivers don’t go off-road. They are also cheaper to manufacture.

They are lighter than other 4WD tyres, have a higher speed rating and lower load rating. They give a smooth, quiet ride.

All-terrain 4WD Tyres

If you also drive off-road occasionally, then you should move up to all-terrain tyres. These will usually have a lower speed rating and higher load rating than highway terrain tyres. However, they vary between manufacturers. Some produce all-terrain tyres with tread patterns very similar to highway terrain tyres, while others will have much more heavy-duty treads.

You should check on the number of plies used to make the tyre, and ensure that the tread is more open and deep. You will find that all-terrain tyres tend to give a noisier and less comfortable ride on tarmac.

Within this group of tyres, you’ll also find light truck (LT) tyres. These are better for off-road driving as they have a stronger carcass. Again, though, check the plies for strength. If you intend to drive off-road and on rocky ground, an 8 or 10 ply rating will give the best resistance to damage and puncture.

Mud terrain 4WD Tyres

These are the tyres you need if you do your driving off-road. They have deep, block-like treads which help move mud out of the tyres – perfect for outback driving. They have a high load rating and low-speed rating. However, while puncture resistance is high, fuel consumption will be increased, and these tyres don’t perform well on sand.

Is it time for a tyre change?

Your 4WD tyres should last a long time. When it comes to changing them, if you buy the wrong tyres you will reduce your drive comfort. They will ultimately cost more. Worst of all, you will compromise your safety. Don’t take the risk. Bring your 4WD vehicle to our West Brisbane tyre shop. Together we’ll choose the best tyre for where and how you drive, and to suit your budget.

For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Non-marking-tyres-for-forklifts-–-what-you-need-to-know

Non-marking tyres for forklifts – what you need to know

The pros and cons of white tyres in your business

Some businesses must use non-marking tyres on their forklifts, while others might choose to. For example, Australian law says that food processing companies must use them in their factories. They are also popular with pharmaceutical and IT companies, and indoors where marks on the floor need to be avoided (for example, indoor sports centres).

Non-marking forklift tyres are available as a cushion, pneumatic, or solid tyres. See our article ‘How to choose your forklift tyre in Brisbane in 2018’ for advice on how to choose which is best for your application.

In this article, you’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of non-marking tyres for forklifts.

How do non-marking and standard tyres differ?

The first thing that you notice about non-marking tyres is their colour. Usually, they are white (hence they are sometimes called ‘white’ tyres), but they can also be manufactured in other colours – most often grey. This is because they have the carbon black removed. Now, carbon black helps prolong the life of tyres, so its removal is one of the major disadvantages of non-marking tyres: they don’t last as long as standard tyres.

To try to combat this shortening of life, non-marking tyres are made with silica or chalk added. Antioxidants are used to protect against UV radiation.

Are non-marking tyres really non-marking?

Standard tyres can leave black marks if the forklift operator makes a fast start, stop, or turn. Non-marking tyres leave white chalk marks and not carbon black residue. This chalk is easily removed. The poor operation will leave a mark, but it’s kind of like the difference between pencil and ink: one can be easily erased, the other is pretty much indelible.

Key advantages of non-marking tyres

Non-marking tyres:

  • Reduce the marks left on floors
  • Reduce the need for labour-intensive floor cleaning
  • Perform the same as standard tyres
  • Provide good traction and low rolling resistance
  • Offer good load carrying ability
  • Are resistant to building up heat

Main disadvantages of non-marking tyres

Non-marking tyres:

  • Are more expensive than standard forklift tyres – usually by around 25%
  • Wear faster, lasting approximately 10% to 15% less time than standard tyres, depending on use and environment
  • Chalkdust left must be cleaned
  • Require a grounding strip underneath the forklift, especially in situations where the forklift is operated in close proximity to flammable or explosive materials

Retreading to adapt to non-marking environments

It is possible to retread standard tyres and adapt them for use in non-marking environments. White rubber is available for this, allowing forklifts to be used in sports centres, food manufacturing plants, shopping centres, etc.

I’ve written before about how to buy the best retreads for trucks. The four rules are the same if you are considering retreading standard tyres as non-marking tyres for your forklift:

  1. Don’t buy on price alone
  2. Make sure you see samples and testimonials before buying
  3. Take a look at the testing equipment
  4. Don’t go it alone – take someone with you

Follow these safety standards

When it’s time to replace your forklift tyres, always use a reputable tyre company to make the change. If you don’t have the knowledge, experience, or equipment to change forklift tyres, the consequences can be fatal.

To find out about our comprehensive tyre services and how they could help you cut costs on your forklift operations, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you safe on the road and in the workplace,

Kevin Wood

Look-after-your-tyres-in-Brisbane-and-slash-your-fleet-cost

Look after your tyres in Brisbane, and slash your fleet costs

Five minutes could save your fleet a fortune on fuel

I’m going to offer all fleet managers in Brisbane a potential cost reduction of an average of 1% to 3%. All you need to do is read to the bottom of this article.

How much is 3% of your costs worth to your fleet?

I can’t tell you how much a 3% reduction of your costs would be worth to your fleet, but it’s likely to be a substantial sum. But what if I could also offer you lower maintenance expenses, less vehicle downtime, longer tyre life, and fewer roadside breakdowns?

I’m guessing you’re wondering how I can make such promises.

No, I’m not a magician. I’m simply coming at a common problem for fleets from a different angle. The secret is also the most common cause of complaints received by tyre retailers and manufacturers.

Deflate your costs by inflating your tyres

Most complaints received by tyre companies concern comfort of ride and wear of tyres. Tyre manufacturers spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to improve their product. When they receive a complaint, you can be sure that they employ every means possible to understand why.

What tyre manufacturers consistently find is that there isn’t a fault in the tyre. Usually, the reason for uneven tread wear or poor comfort while driving is underinflation. When your tyres are properly inflated, you’ll find that:

  • Your tyres suffer less wear
  • Your tyres last longer
  • Braking and ride comfort is improved
  • Your vehicle is less likely to swerve if you need to brake hard
  • Your fuel consumption falls

6 out of 10 tyres are underinflated on Australia’s roads

Toward the end of last year, TyreSafe Australia conducted a survey on tyre condition on passenger cars. The results were astounding. 6 out of 10 vehicles were being driven with underinflated tyres. Even worse, it was found that half the cars surveyed were unsafe as far as their tyres were concerned.

Are your drivers checking their tyres?

The question I’ve got for you is this: how often do your drivers check their tyres? Because if they aren’t checking for air pressure, they probably aren’t checking for signs of wear and tear.

If your drivers aren’t checking their tyres, they are putting their lives, and the lives of others, at risk. And, from a cost perspective, underinflated tyres increase your fuel consumption, cause damage to the vehicle, and result in higher costs.

It takes less than five minutes to check your tyres. Make sure your drivers check their tyres regularly. Before every trip would be fantastic. At least once a week should be the minimum standard.

Let Darra Tyres help you cut your fleet costs

The key takeaways are that improper tyre inflation is:

  • A safety issue for all drivers and other road users
  • A main underlying cause of complaints about tyres
  • A major cause of increased costs for fleet managers

Like I said earlier in this article, I’m not a magician. But I can advise your fleet’s drivers on tyre check routines and correct tyre inflation pressures. And that could save you between 1% and 3% of your fleet costs. Isn’t it time you benefitted from the professional and personal tyre service that you can trust in Brisbane? For more info about our services for fleets, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

How-to-buy-tyres-for-your-SUV-in-Brisbane

How to buy tyres for your SUV in Brisbane

Tips to make the best tyre choice for your SUV

Buying tyres for your SUV are no easy task. There’s a big choice available to you, and you’ll have to consider the type of driving you do, the surfaces you tend to drive on in Brisbane and further afield, and your pocket. This guide should help you buy the best and safest tyres for your SUV.

Price is what you pay, the value is what you get

Experience tells us that usually the more money you pay for a tyre, the better value it will be in the long run. Tyres with the best grip and longest life are a little more expensive. Pay $130 for a tyre that will last 100,000 km versus $90 for one that will last 50,000 km, and over the life of the tyre, you’ve made a big saving.

Having said this, if you only expect to drive, say, 10,000 km a year, then the cheaper tyre may be better value for you. This is because no matter the distance you drive, we recommend that you should change your tyres at least every five years. Even tyres that haven’t been driven on will degrade in the sun and heat.

What tyre should you buy to replace a worn-out tyre for your SUV?

We’d recommend that you replace your tyres like-for-like. Buy the same type and size as the ones you are replacing. However, there are a few things you should consider, such as:

  • Buying tyres that have good test ratings for braking and handling
  • Thinking about what is important to you. Do you want a smoother ride? Is tread life important?
  • Considering the types of surface you will drive on. Different tread patterns and features suit different surfaces. For most, an all-terrain tread will be best, but this isn’t always the case.

Most new SUVs are equipped with the all-terrain tyres because most people drive on streets rather than across rocks, riverbeds and valleys in the outback.

Do you need high-performance tyres?

If you tend to drive faster, you may be better to replace those all-terrain tyres with ultra-high-performance tyres. These provide better grip to improve handling around corners with more efficient braking. However, you’ll probably find you get a less comfortable ride and your tyres probably won’t last as many kilometres.

(Hey, it’s safer and cheaper to curb your speed a little.)

You may be tempted to buy a lower-speed-rated tyre with a longer tread life. It’s our experience that this is not a good idea, especially here in Brisbane. Lower-speed-rated tyres tend to handle heat build-up less well. This will impair safety. In addition, the cost savings you are likely to make are minimal.

When should you replace your SUV tyres?

Good tyre maintenance is key to keeping safe on the roads. The condition of your tyres will affect their handling ability, the comfort of your ride, and how your car brakes. Poor tyres can increase your fuel consumption, too.

Our article “How do Australia’s drivers know when they need new tyres?” gives you the advice you need to be able to monitor your tyres for their effectiveness. My advice is to never let the tyre tread depth get to the minimum of 1.5mm. As the tread wears, stopping distances increase and handling deteriorates. So change those tyres sooner rather than later. Also, watch for other signs that your tyres may need replacing, such as bubbling, chips, cracks and grazes on the sidewall.

Where should you buy new tyres?

You’ve got several options of where to buy new tyres today. Wherever you choose, make sure that you understand that the price of the tyres is not the total cost.  It’s rarely cheaper to buy tyres online after you have factored in the cost to mount and balance tyres and align wheels. And, when you buy online, you won’t get the pre-purchase advice or aftercare service you can expect here at Darra Tyres.

For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

avoid-these-mistakes-when-buying-tyres-online

Avoid these mistakes when buying tyres online

6 clues on how to buy tyres online

One of the decisions you’ll need to make before you buy tyres here in Brisbane is whether to buy online or from a tyre shop. It’s surprising how many people ask only “is it cheaper to buy tyres online?” before making their choice. They forget to include the cost of shipping and fitting. Often, the eventual cost saves very little, if anything.

However, it’s not only cost that should concern you. So, if you are considering buying tyres online, please ensure that you avoid these six pitfalls

1.    Buying tyres online – the pitfalls

Those little black circles are the only part of your vehicle that separates you from the road. If you make a poor decision when buying new tyres, they won’t fulfil their crucial role. We don’t want you involved in an accident on Brisbane’s roads – or anywhere else – because of a badly-bought tyre.

2.    Not buying tyres at the right time

The first hurdle to jump is to ensure that you really need new tyres. If you change them too early, you’ll be spending money unnecessarily. If you leave it too long before replacing your tyres, you’ll be putting your life at risk.

You’ll need to inspect your tyres for damage to sidewalls, bulging, foreign objects, and tread wear. You’ll need to be aware of the legal minimum tread to make certain your tyres are legal in Queensland.

Read our article “How do Australia’s drivers know they need new tyres?” for more information about checking your tyres.

On the other hand, you could simply drop by our tyre shop here in Darra, and get a professional assessment of your tyres – including your spare.

3.    Not checking your owner’s manual before you buy new tyres online

Inside your owner’s manual, you’ll find the manufacturer’s recommended tyre specifications. This tells you the size and type of tyre you should buy. If you don’t have this available, then you should find the information you need on the tyre placard on the door jamb.

Whatever you do, don’t make a mistake when ordering online. You’ll receive a set of tyres that are of no use to you, and either be stuck with them or pay for shipping back to the seller.

If you come into Darra Tyres, our technicians won’t confuse the specs and provide the wrong tyres. You can be certain that your tyres are the right ones, right away.

4.    Getting bamboozled by the tyre code

“The tyre code?” you ask. No, we don’t have a secret language we use to speak to each other, but you might think we do when you try to decipher the letters and numbers on the sidewall of the tyre. You don’t need an Enigma machine to decipher this tyre code, but you must understand what those numbers and letters mean (for example, P215/60R 16 95H M).

If you’re not sure what all this gobbledygook means, pop into our tyre shop. We’ll talk you through it all and explain why this code is essential to know if you want to stay safe on the roads.

5.    Ignoring your wheels

Wheels get damaged. They come in different sizes. Don’t ignore your wheels when you buy new tyres. Any damage, or if you buy the wrong-sized tyre for the wheel you have fitted, and you will compromise handling. You won’t corner with the same assuredness. Your braking could be impaired. I don’t need to tell you what the result could be.

We will never fit the wrong-sized tyre to the wrong-sized wheel. Nor will we ignore damage to your wheels.

6.    Not checking your new tyres regularly

Once you’ve bought your new tyres and had them fitted, you must check them at regular intervals. Aftercare is something that you won’t get when you buy tyres online.

When we fit new tyres to your vehicle, we’ll give you a few tips to help keep them in good condition and performing as they should. This will help your vehicle handle better and reduce your fuel consumption. Maintaining your tyres properly will increase their useful life, too, meaning you save money in the long run.

When we fit tyres to your vehicle in our tyre shop in Darra, you are welcome to return at any time. Pop in to say hello, and we’ll give your tyres a quick once over at the same time.

Summing up

Buying the right tyres is essential. They are key to your safety. They play a big part in how your vehicle handles, and the right tyre, well-maintained, can reduce your fuel bill.

Sometimes you might save a few dollars by buying tyres online, though the cost savings may not be as much as you thought when you consider the costs of shipping and fitting that will need to be added.

What you won’t get when you buy online is personalised advice, reassuring expertise,  and dedication to ongoing customer service.

The choice of whether you buy tyres online or in person is yours to make. Why not come into our tyre shop in Darra for a coffee while you’re thinking?

For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

how-are-tyres-made-to-keep-you-safe-on-the-roads-in-Brisbane

How are tyres made to keep you safe on the roads in Brisbane?

Just how do manufacturers make millions of safe tyres?

Tyres are perhaps the most essential piece of equipment on your vehicle. They are paramount to your safety and driving experience. They provide the grip needed for traction on the road and must perform in all road and weather conditions. Most are pneumatic (they contain air under pressure) and there are hundreds of millions manufactured every year. So, how do tyre manufacturers produce the black circles that you depend upon?

Tyre jargon explained

Before I explain how tyres are made, I should uncomplicate some of the tyre jargon we use.

Ply

The plies enable the tyre to be flexible and help to provide the strength needed to operate under extreme road conditions. They are usually made by weaving fibre cords together and then coating them with rubber. They are like the bones of your body – they provide the skeleton that the tyre is built around.

Belts

Belts are formed around the tyre as strength reinforcers. Where plies provide flexibility, belts provide rigidity. They are made of steel wires, and then, again, coated with rubber. Manufacturers have spent a lot of money, time, and effort in the development of belts that resist punctures and now provide the backbone for tyres that can last 80,000 km and more.

Tread

Generally considered to be the ‘business’ part of the tyre, the tread is softer than the rest of the tyre and provides grip and cushion. Different tread patterns provide different levels of grip.

Grooves and sipes

When you look at the surface of a tyre that comes into contact with the road, you’ll notice deep grooves between the tread blocks. These act to expel water. Look a little closer, and you’ll see small grooves cut into the tread blocs. These are called sipes, and provide extra grip.

Beads

Manufactured from extra strong steel and coated with rubber, beads form an airtight seal between the tyre and wheel rim.

Sidewall

The sidewall runs from the bead to the tread. It’s made of extra thick rubber to provide strength and stability. You’ll find all the information about the tyre is embossed on this part of the tyre.

Shoulder

Where the sidewall and tread meet, you’ll find the shoulder of the tyre. This is the part of the tyre that provides extra strength when cornering.

How are tyres manufactured?

There are five steps in the tyre manufacturing process:

1.     Blending

Raw materials are blended to form the rubber that will be used to make the tyre. There could be as many as 30 types of rubber used to form the rubber compound. Other ingredients used include:

  • Carbon black
  • Sulphur
  • Oil
  • Various chemicals

2.     Milling

The rubber compound is allowed to cool before being cut into strips. These strips are used to form the basic structure of the tyre.

3.     Building

The tyre is built working from the inside. This is completed in machines, which form the belts, beads and plies. An ‘extruder’ is used to form treads and sidewalls, which are then rolled and cut into strips. Once all these parts have been assembled, you’ve got something that looks like a tyre.

4.     Curing

The tyre is now vulcanised, compressing it into its final shape. It is also here that the tread is finalised, and the sidewall markings are embossed on the tyre.

5.     Controlling quality

The manufactured tyres are tested, with specialist X-ray machines used to inspect for bubbles and voids in the rubber. A test wheel is used to inflate and spin the tyre to determine balance and ‘straightness’.

Once the tyre has been fitted to your vehicle, the responsibility for inspection is all yours. If a tyre is compromised by a cut, bulge, or wrong pressure, so is your safety. See our article “How do Australia’s drivers know they need new tyres?” for tips on checking tyres and the signs that a tyre is past its useful life.

If you have any doubt that your tyre is no longer fit for purpose, please, please bring it into our tyre shop in West Brisbane. A few minutes could save your life.

Keeping you safe on the roads,

Kevin Wood

is-it-cheaper-to-buy-tyres-online

Is it cheaper to buy tyres online?

How to buy the best-value tyres

In a recent article, I discussed what you must know before buying tyres online. In this article, you’ll learn why online tyres may not be as cheap as you believe.

Do you really need new tyres?

We recently had a customer bring four new tyres to our tyre shop here in West Brisbane. He’d bought them online and wanted us to switch them for the ones on his vehicle. You can imagine his disappointment when we asked him why he wanted them switched.

You see, he didn’t need new tyres, all he needed was to rotate the original tyres. They’d probably be good for at least another 20,000 km. He went away kicking himself, grumbling about the $400 he’d spent that he hadn’t needed to, and wondering where he was now going to store the new tyres he probably wouldn’t need for another 12 months.

When you buy tyres online, you don’t get advice. A computerised and scripted online service can’t:

  • Look at your tyres, making a visual assessment informed by years of experience
  • Run hands over them, feeling for those little nicks, bumps, and dents that need attention
  • Advise you that your tyres simply need realignment or rotation to last another 10,000 or 20,000 km

What an online service can do is put all the onus on you to buy the right tyres at the right time. Then send you to the checkout to pay.

Do you really save money when you buy tyres online?

Of course, the big draw of buying online is the money you might save. Those headline prices and 4-for-3 deals look like saving you enough cash for an evening out. But if you are buying sooner than you need to, like the customer we just mentioned, you’ll go through more tyres than you need. Over the long term, those 4-for-3 deals you rush to make before they expire could cost you.

It’s not simply the advice you’re not getting that could cost you more money when you buy online. You shouldn’t forget that when you buy tyres online, you should consider the cost of:

  • Shipping
  • Fitting, wheel alignment, and balancing
  • Charges associated with disposal of your old tyres

Once you’ve added in these costs, the savings (if there were really any in the first place) may be completely erased. You may even end up paying more for that super cheap online tyre deal!

No aftercare online

When you buy tyres online, you wave goodbye to aftercare. You can’t call an online tyre shop and have your tyres checked. You won’t get advice on rotation, alignment, balancing, or any of the other common problems that affect tyre life.

Beware of cheaper brands when you buy tyres online

Many of the cheapest tyre deals you’ll find online offer bargain tyres. Many of these cheaper tyres are manufactured in China. Are they really bargains?

A Consumer Reports study in the United States tested several Chinese tyre brands against leading tyre brands. One of those Chinese tyre brands was eventually discarded from the study because it performed so poorly in all road and weather conditions. But the major finding of the survey may surprise you even more.

These cheaper tyres travelled as little as a third of the distance that leading brands such as Michelin before needing to be replaced. You may need to buy three sets of cheap tyres to match the longevity of a leading brand. Those half-price tyres online don’t seem such a good investment after all.

Questions to ask before buying tyres online or in a tyre shop

Here are a few questions to ask before buying tyres:

  • You may have a tight budget, but can you really afford to risk buying the wrong tyres online?
  • Have you the experience to know whether your tyres really need replacing, or could they last a few thousand kilometres more?
  • Before you press that ‘Buy now’ button on your computer, have you factored in the costs of shipping and fitting?

Our advice is to always get advice when it comes to tyres. They are the only part of your vehicle that is in contact with the road. They play a major part in your safety and comfort.

For a professional and personal tyre service that you can trust, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

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