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Summer Tyres

Summer Safety Checklist for Your Tyres

Tyre Safety in the Australian Summer

Australia is heading into summer and temperatures are soaring across Brisbane. With the hot weather comes extra responsibilities in maintaining your tyre safety. Here is our complete checklist for keeping your tyres safe over the summer.

Check Your Tyre Pressure

Proper inflation and tyre pressure are crucial for keeping safe in the summer and come with the added bonus of improving fuel efficiency, handling, and saving you money on fuel costs.

In the summer your tyre pressure should be checked regularly, preferably before use while the tyre is cold. A host of risks arise from poorly inflated tyres, such as:

  • Overinflated tyres causing uneven tyre wear, meaning your car will lose traction on the roads. In summer, the heat causes tyre pressure to increase. It is estimated that for every 5.5֯C (10֯F) the temperature increases, you gain around 1PSI of pressure in your tyres.
  • Underinflated tyres beginning to warp and, in turn, make your vehicle harder to handle.

The above risks increase the likelihood of having an accident on the road. Check your tyre pressure regularly and ensure that it is at the manufacturer’s recommended level.

Top Tip: The manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure level is generally located on a sticker on the door jamb of the driver’s door or front passenger’s door.

Inspect Your Tread Levels

It is essential that you have enough tread on your tyres. Having the correct tyre pressure will ensure that your tyre tread wears evenly. However, over time your tyre tread will wear. The legal minimum tread depth on tyres is 1.5mm. If your tread depth is any less than this your tyres are not considered safe – and you will be driving illegally. For the best tyre safety, we recommend that you change your tyres if the tread falls below 3mm.

Top Tip: You can use a 20 cent coin to quickly check the tread of your tyre. Place it into the grooves of your tyre and if the tread does not reach the bill of the platypus, there is less than 3mm of tread remaining on your tyre.

Protect Your Tyres’ Sidewalls

Hitting potholes and ‘kerbing’ your tyres can cause damage to your tyre’s sidewall. Your sidewalls absorb shocks and stresses that your tyres endure. When they become damaged, your tyres can become unsafe and your chance of having an accident increases. You should regularly inspect the sidewalls of your tyres for any visual damage. If you spot any damage, you should take your car to a tyre shop and have the tyres professionally inspected.

Top Tip: Avoid sharp debris and deep potholes when driving, and take extra care when parking next to kerbs.

Prevent Blowouts

Tyre failure presents a danger to you, your passengers, other vehicles on the road and pedestrians. Blowouts occur in tyres that have sustained damage from impacts and tyres that are worn down. In the summer weather, heat can make blowouts more common. Heat generation and retention in your tyres add additional stress and can increase your chances of a blowout, so it is important to regularly check and maintain your tyres for safety.

Summary

With summer approaching and extreme heat forecast for the next few months, it’s essential to make sure your car is ready for the change in weather. Ensuring tyre safety helps to keep you and others safe on the roads. Simple checks protect you from harm.

Regularly checking air pressure, tread depth, and the condition of your tyres’ sidewalls ensures that your car is running optimally. As well as keeping you safer, such checks save you money by improving your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Want to know more? Do you need your tyres checked in Brisbane? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Tyre Tread

The Easy Way to Check Your Tyre Tread Depth

Staying Safe on Brisbane’s Roads

All Australian drivers should know that driving on tyres with shallow tyre tread depth is dangerous. Driving with a tyre tread depth that is below the legal minimum is criminal. However, according to the Australian Road Safety Foundation, 40% of drivers do not know what the legal tyre safety standards are.

This article covers what the legal minimum tyre tread depth is in Australia, and a provides a quick hack so you can check your tyres easily and stay safe on Brisbane’s roads.

Australia’s Legal Minimum Tread Depth

The legal minimum tyre tread depth in Australia is 1.5mm. This means that the tread across the entire width and circumference of the tyre must be at least 1.5 mm. If it is less than this on any section of the tyre, the tyre is illegal to drive on. With illegal tyres, your vehicle is illegal.

In Queensland, the penalty for not having legal tyres can put a big strain on your wallet. For one worn tyre, you can receive an on-the-spot fine of $110 and one demerit. With illegal bald tyres, you can be fined up to $220 and receive three demerits.

Not only can illegal tyres cost you money, but they can also cost you your life. Driving on bald tyres is dangerous and affects the traction and handling of your vehicle. Your tread depth affects the rubber on the road and stopping distances.

If you are travelling at 80km per hour on a wet road and brake on a new tyre (which will have a tread depth of 8mm), your vehicle will comfortably stop and have little risk of aquaplaning. If your vehicle has tyres worn down to 3mm of tread depth, it will still be moving at 30km per hour when the vehicle with new tyres would have come to a stop. It will then continue travelling for another 9.5 meters before coming to a complete halt.

How Long Do Tyres Last on Australia’s Roads?

The roads you drive on and your driving style will impact how quickly your tyre tread wears down. For example, if you are driving on asphalt, your tyres will last longer than if you do most of your driving on dirt or gravel roads.

In Brisbane, where we benefit from many sunny days, UV rays emitted from the sun wear down tyres faster than elsewhere. While there is no way to say for sure how quickly your tyre tread will wear, you should check them regularly to make sure they are above the legal minimum.

Checking Tyre Tread with the 20c ‘Coin Test’

Though the legal limit for a tyre’s tread depth is 1.5mm, we recommend that you bring you tyres in for a check when the tread depth is no shallower than 3mm. There is an easy way to check your tread depth, using a 20c coin.

Simply slot the coin in the tread vertically, and if the tread doesn’t reach the bill of the platypus, you have less than 3mm tread depth remaining. It’s time to get your tyres checked and changed if needed.

Summary

Tyre tread is crucial to your safety on the road. The more depth you have, the better the handling and the shorter the braking distance. If you allow your tyre treads to wear away to less than 1.5mm, you are breaking the law. You are also risking your safety, and the safety of other road users.

Use the 20c coin test today. If you can see that platypus bill, get yourself and your tyres to a tyre shop. Bring your vehicle to us here in Brisbane at Darra Tyres. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked. We’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Distance travel

7 Ways to Lower Your Fuel Cost and Increase Your Travel Distance

Tips to Help You Keep More Money in Your Pocket

All motorists are concerned by the cost of fuel. For fleets, fuel costs are one of their largest expenses. For commuters, fuel is a major cost in their daily lives. For families, every dollar spent on fuel is a dollar less to spend on food and vacations.

These seven fuel-saving tips will help you increase your travel distance and lower your fuel costs.

1. Slow Down

According to the UK’s Energy Saving Trust, the best speed to improve your fuel economy and lower fuel costs is 85kmph to 95kmph. Should you drive faster than this, your fuel cost starts to increase rapidly. At 120kmph, you’ll spend 40% more on fuel.

2. Check Your Tyres

Tyres have a huge impact on your vehicle’s fuel economy. If you drive on tyres with the incorrect tyre pressure, or on tyres that have suffered excess wear and tear, your fuel costs will rise.

Check your tyre pressure at least once a month and make sure they are at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. You’ll find this on the tyre placard on the inside of the door jamb or in the owner’s manual.

Also, check your tyre tread regularly. The legal minimum is 1.5mm and you should never let it fall below this level. Most tyre manufacturers recommend that you change tyres every five to six years irrespective of tread depth. The shallower the depth, the more dangerous it is to drive – and poor tread depth also increases fuel costs.

3. Use Your Momentum

Momentum can become your best friend in the strive to lower your fuel costs. When approaching inclines, speed up to help build the momentum that will help you travel to the top with less revving of the engine. Use momentum to drive downhill, and instead of braking hard into corners, at junctions, and at traffic lights, ease off the accelerator earlier and brake more gently. Not only will you save fuel, you will also save wear on your tyres.

4. Read the Road

Paying attention and reading the road ahead is a simple way to reduce your fuel costs. By seeing obstacles ahead of time, and anticipating corners and changes in the road, you reduce your need for harsh braking and accelerating – and as I discussed in the paragraph above, this is good news for your tyres, too.

5. Reduce Your Weight and Don’t Fill Up!

Weight must be hauled. Lighter vehicles use less fuel to travel the same distance as a heavier vehicle. Remove all the junk you have collected in your vehicle. Make sure things that should be in the home don’t become permanent (and unnecessary) passengers. If you have a roof rack, remove it when not in use. It causes drag, and drag means you use more fuel.

One of the heaviest loads you carry in a vehicle is the fuel. It has been estimated that only half-filling the tank will save you around 1% to 2% of your fuel costs. The downside is more regular stops to add fuel.

6. Use a High Gear

The higher the gear, the lower your engine revs. Try to move your vehicle into high gear quickly (providing the speed limit allows it) to lower your fuel costs. Revving your engine too hard before shifting gear, and waiting for the high-pitched ‘cue’ from your engine is terrible for your fuel economy.

7. Don’t Use the AC or Open Your Windows!

With the weather in Brisbane getting above 30֯C in the summer, it’s only natural that you need to turn on the AC when driving. However, when the aircon is running you consume more fuel. Opening the windows also increases drag, and affects fuel consumption negatively. It’s a tough call to make. You don’t want to sweat and be uncomfortable in your vehicle, but you want to reduce your fuel costs – the answer is to be conservative with the air con.

Summary

Fuel costs are one of the major expenses for many people. Every dollar you save by driving more conscientiously and on well-maintained tyres at the right tyre pressure is a dollar you can spend on more important things than fuel.

The tips above are some simple ways to cut down your fuel costs. Most of them only require you to pay a little more attention to the maintenance of your car and the roads you are driving on.

Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Slow Puncture Tyres

How to Spot a Slow Puncture and Avoid an Accident

Don’t Put Your Life at Risk

Slow punctures can be difficult to spot and are dangerous if they continue to go unnoticed. Learning the signs to look out for and how to correctly maintain your tyres can help you avoid an accident and keep your car safe on the road.

Signs You Have a Slow Puncture

It can be hard to tell if you have a slow puncture, but there are some definitive signs to look out for to warn you that your tyre may have a puncture. For example:

  • Your wheel is shuddering or feels wobbly while you are driving
  • Difficulty steering your car
  • Your car feels as though it is pulling to the left or the right
  • Sudden swerves when you are driving

How to Check If Your Tyre Has a Slow Puncture

Through visual inspection of your car tyres, you can usually find out if you have a puncture. When inspecting your car and tyres, you should ask yourself the following:

  • When inspected from various angles, does the size of the tyre look different?
  • Are any of the tyres obviously deflated?
  • Are any of your tyres bulging?
  • Are any of your tyres sagging?

Inspecting Your Tyre’s Air Pressure

Air pressure plays a major role in avoiding punctures, improving the longevity of your tyres and the safety of your car.

A study by the Australian government found that that accident involvement increased when the tyre pressures in cars differ substantially from that recommended by the manufacturer. Imbalance of more than 5 psi was found in 14% of road traffic accidents, showing the importance of checking tyre pressure.

Most service stations in Australia have a pump that you can use to both check and inflate your tyres. You should check your tyre pressures at least once a month and ensure they are at the recommended pressure. If you are unsure what the pressure for your tyres should be, in most Australian cars, a label with this information can be found inside one of the front door jambs or in the owner’s manual.

What to Do If You Have a Puncture

You should be prepared for any situation when driving your car, especially when taking it on long journeys. You should carry a spare tyre in your car at all times, and know-how to change it so that in the event of a puncture, you can quickly and safely get back on the road.

However, spare tyres are usually space savers these days and are not meant for long-term use. As soon as you are able, you should take your car to a garage and get a new tyre, or get the punctured tyre fixed. Most space saver tyres are not suitable to be driven more than 80 kilometres.

Not all cars come with a spare tyre. If you do suffer a puncture and you don’t have a spare, a tow truck from a garage can usually collect your car and fix or replace the tyre as soon as they can reach you. However, if you go on a long journey or to a remote location, you could end up stranded for hours.

If the damage is minimal and it is a slow puncture, you may be able to fix it by the side of the road and continue driving until you get to a garage, using a tyre puncture repair kit. These kits are often provided with cars that do not hold a spare tyre and offer a speedy and hassle-free way to get your car on the road again. However, like spare tyres, this repair is only a temporary fix. If you use a repair kit you should not drive for longer than necessary. Make a garage or tyre shop your next destination to get the tyre properly repaired or replaced.

Summary

To avoid a serious accident, you should always have a spare tyre or puncture repair kit in your vehicle – and know what to do with them. It is essential that once you notice a slow puncture, you make getting to a tyre shop your top priority to get the puncture fixed or the tyre replaced. When neglected, a slow puncture could be the most dangerous thing on the road.

Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Cracked Tyres

Are Cracked Tyres Dangerous?

Tyre Advice That Could Save Your Life

Tyres are one of the most important aspects of your car and as such are engineered to be durable. However, they don’t last forever, and after a while, you may notice that your car has cracked tyres. This kind of wear and tear can be a sign that you need new tyres. Here are some tips for getting the longest life out of your tyres and the dangers of driving on cracked tyres.

Dangers of Cracked Tyres

Cracked tyres are a sign of wear and damage to your tyres. They can be dangerous to drive on. If you notice your tyre has cracks, you should take your car to a tyre shop for the tyres to be examined. There are two major risks you face if your tyres are cracked:

  1. Loss of grip

The biggest danger caused by cracked tyres is the loss of grip. This can cause loss of control when driving around bends, and on wet roads, you will be more likely to aquaplane.

  1. Blowout

As the integrity of the tyre worsens and more cracks appear, your chances of experiencing a blowout increase dramatically. See our article, ‘The How, Why and What of Tyre Blowouts’ for tips on how to come to a safe standstill should you suffer a blowout.

Causes of Cracked Tyres

Your tyres are made up of three main components:

  1. Plies, which are inside the tyre and give it flexibility while maintaining its structure
  2. Beads, which are coated into the rubber of the tyre to create a seal between your wheel rim and the tyre
  3. Polymers, the rubber on the outside of the tyre

Cracked tyres are a result of the bonds in these components breaking down and can have multiple causes: ageing, water damage, UV damage, incorrect tyre pressure, and degradation.

  • Ageing Tyres

Polymers naturally break down over time. As your tyres age, they become more susceptible to cracking because of the tyres stiffen and lose their elasticity. Even if your tyres are not used, the bond will naturally break down. You may have a car that’s been sat in the garage for years without being driven, and when inspected, is found to have cracked tyres.

  • Water Damage

I know what you’re thinking: rubber is waterproof, right? Yes – however, if you drive on wet roads for a prolonged period, water can still enter your tyres and cause damage. Queensland can experience monsoon troughs and storms through the rainy season that leave the roads wet all day. If possible, avoid driving in these conditions to prevent damage to your tyres. Use your brakes sensibly, and dry your tyres when you return home.

  • UV Damage

With the rainy season also comes the heat. From December to February in Brisbane, your car tyres will be taking the most damage. The extreme heat and UV rays cause tyres to expand and are one of the biggest causes of cracked tyres.

  • Incorrect Tyre Pressure

Maintaining correct tyre pressures is essential to getting the longest lifespan out of your tyres. Cracked tyres can be caused by both overinflation and underinflation. If your tyres are underinflated, there is more surface of the tyre touching the road. If it is overinflated, there will be bulging. Both scenarios put extra stress on your tyres and can lead to cracking.

  • Degradation

Rubber is an organic material, which means it’s biodegradable. While there are chemicals that you can use to slow down the degradation, there is no way to stop it completely. Eventually, you will find your tyres start cracking naturally. Tyre manufacturers recommend changing tyres every five to six years, irrespective of the miles driven on them.

How to Prevent Cracked Tyres

We do not recommend that you fix cracked tyres. However, there are some steps you can take to extend the longevity of your tyres. For example:

  • Tyre pressure – Ensure that your tyres are inflated to the recommended PSI
  • Tyre protector – Regularly apply tyre protector to your tyres
  • Garage – Where possible, keep your car parked in a dry garage

Summary

Cracked tyres are a sign of wear and tear. If you start noticing cracks, it’s time to take your car to a tyre shop and get your tyres switched. Damaged tyres provide less grip and increase the risk of a blowout.

Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Part worn tyres

Should You Buy Part-Worn Tyres?

Part-Worn Tyres: More Dangerous and More Expensive in the Long Run

Occasionally, motorists come into our tyre shop in West Brisbane and, after a tyre check, discover they need to change their tyres and ask if we sell part-worn tyres. Now, it is pretty easy to buy part-worn tyres, but we don’t recommend you fit them to your vehicle. Just like we don’t recommend that motorists buy blemished tyres.

Part-Worn Tyres Are a False Economy

They may save you a few dollars on the purchase price, but part-worn tyres will wear faster. Having been previously used, they don’t have the tread that new tyres have. So you’ll get to below the legal limit faster. This means you’ll need to replace them sooner, and that means a second outlay on tyres. Perhaps a third and fourth.

Suddenly, you’ve spent moreover two or three years than you would over five years if you’d have purchased new tyres.

Looks Aren’t Everything

Even if part-worn tyres look in good condition, it doesn’t mean they are. They could have been on a vehicle for four or five years. Even if the previous driver only covered a few hundred miles each year, the age of part-worn tyres compromises their condition.

Most manufacturers recommend that you change new tyres after five or six years, irrespective of how many miles they have covered. Even in storage, tyres become aged and the stability of their rubber degrades.

Ageing of tyres is worse in sunny climates because it is UV rays from the sun that do most of the damage. Small cracks that appear in a tyre over time become oxidised by the sun, and this accelerates the breakdown of the tyre.

Part-Worn Tyres Compromise Your Safety

As a tyre’s rubber is compromised by age, so too is your safety. Those cracks make a tyre weaker. You’re more likely to suffer a tyre blowout, especially if you’re travelling at speed. The shallower tread also leads to less grip on the road, making cornering more dangerous. Get it wrong and you’ll be heading into oncoming traffic in the blink of an eye.

You don’t need to take my word that part-worn tyres are more dangerous. Many international studies have found the same. For example:

  • In Ireland, the Road Safety Authority found that, over a four-year period, 66% of fatal accidents were caused by worn tyres
  • In the UK, Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that defective tyres were the most common reason for road traffic accidents

Most Part-Worn Tyres Are Sold in a Dangerous Condition

Okay, so now I hear you say, “Yeah, but that’s defective tyres. Tell me about part-worn tyres.” Well, here’s an astounding statistic for you:

The DfT found that a staggering 58% of part-worn tyres purchased have defects.

In other words, when you buy a part-worn tyre, you have an almost 6-in-10 chance that it is unsafe. Plus, by driving on part-worn tyres you massively increase your chances of having a fatal accident.

The defects that are commonly found in part-worn tyres include cracks, bulges and tears. These are visible and should always be avoided, however inconsequential they appear. Perhaps even more dangerous are the defects that you cannot see – embedded shards of glass, and structural issues such as damaged belts, tyre casings, and body ply. All these defects make a tyre more dangerous and put you in greater danger of suffering an accident.

Why You Should Buy New Tyres

New tyres are rigorously tested. You know they don’t have defects, and they have 8mm of tread depth. Any new tyres that don’t pass the testing process are cast away and labelled as blemished – which is why we never sell blemished tyres. Like part-worn tyres, you just cannot be certain that what you are buying is safe.

We don’t think it is wise to play with people safety. When we supply tyres to customers, they can be certain that they are buying the best quality within their budget. Not blemished tyres. Not part-worn tyres. New tyres that keep you safer, deliver trustworthy performance, and, in the long run, will probably save you money.

Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Blemished Tyres

Blemished Tyres? Why We Will Never Sell Them.

That Bargain Tyre May Not Be All It Appears

We were asked recently if we sell blemished tyres. The answer is no. Here’s an explanation of why.

What Are Blemished Tyres?

If you have ever bought an item of clothing from a factory outlet store, you may well have bought an item that is ‘blemished’. You may not even realise that it is. It may be considered blemished because of a small mark, or an inch of poor stitching, or even a button that has been sewn on at the wrong angle.

Many blemished tyres that are sold suffer analogous imperfections. Cosmetic issues. But not all. They are factory seconds, but for a variety of reasons.

How Do Blemished Tyres Occur?

With all the money that is poured into research, development and production, you would think that tyre companies would have no problems in their manufacturing processes. But, like all manufacturers, mishaps and mistakes do occur – which is why quality control exists.

Issues during the manufacturing process range from cosmetic – for instance, there may be a mark on the sidewall – to more serious problems, such as a missing steel radial belt. Rubber poured may not fill the mould correctly, and the tread may be short in places, or not uniformly.

There are many reasons a tyre may be termed as blemished. Whatever the reason, it is sold as a second – just like so many fashion items – and hence is far cheaper than a tyre in perfect condition.

How Do You Know a Tyre Is Blemished?

When quality control throws out a blemished tyre, the serial number of the tyre (the number that specifies where the tyre was made, when, and what production run) is removed. The sidewall is embossed with ‘BLEM’ for ‘blemished’.

What Happens in Quality Control?

Quality control is taken super seriously by tyre manufacturers. After all, this isn’t a shirt. A poorly sewn button might pop and show a little flesh. Tyre manufacturers are taking people’s lives in their hands. Even a small, seemingly inconsequential problem could affect the performance and safety of a tyre.

Specialist machinery is used by highly trained quality inspectors. These machines often include X-ray-type machines that check for internal issues, such as air bubbles in the rubber that affect tyre stability.

If a tyre has any issues, whether cosmetic or more serious, they are discarded from the high-quality run and put into the ‘blemished’ pile. They don’t meet the high standards set for the industry, and so are not sold as quality tyres.

Can You Buy Blemished Tyres?

The short answer is yes, and some tyre sellers only sell blemished tyres. The long answer is, “Why would you want to?”

Are Blemished Tyres Safe?

Supposedly, blemished tyres are safe, because only cosmetically blemished tyres are meant to be sold. But here’s the thing: tyre manufacturers don’t mark a tyre with ‘BLEM’ and the reason for the blemish. You only know that they are blemished.

Tyre manufacturers remove the serial number for a good reason, too. Tyre warranties have some specific exemptions that are not covered. For example:

That’s right, a blemished tyre won’t be guaranteed in the same way by the manufacturer. Let’s face it, if they were happy to fully guarantee the tyre, they wouldn’t be removing it from the production line, would they? Removing the serial number ensures that there can be no comebacks on the manufacturer. If you buy a blemished tyre, you take the risk that it is faulty.

No, We Don’t Sell Blemished Tyres

While some tyre shops and tyre sellers heavily market blemished tyres, they are not an item we will ever stock. We value the safety of our customers above everything else.

Some tyre buyers enjoy buying blemished tyres because they feel they are buying brand names at deeply discounted prices. Which they are. But there is a real reason for that deep discount. If tyre manufacturers are confident enough to include blemished tyres on their warranties, what confidence can you have driving on them?

Tyres are the only contact between you and the road. We want that contact to be as strong as possible. When we sell a tyre at Darra Tyres, we know it is the best quality tyre for your vehicle, driving style and budget. We’ll never let our reputation be tarnished by selling tyres that manufacturers wouldn’t be happy to include in their warranties. Your safety is way more important than a few dollars of extra profit.

Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Low Profile Tyres

Tyre Myths: Do Low-Profile Tyres Improve Handling?

More Grip and Better Response – or Not?

Many drivers believe that low-profile tyres improve safety on the road by providing more grip and better response, especially when cornering. Is this true?

What Are Low-Profile Tyres?

Low-profile tyres have a shorter sidewall or a lower-aspect ratio (height of the sidewall as a percentage of the width of your tyre) than standard tyres. The tread in low-profile tyres is also in larger blocks and made from different specialised compounds.

Do Low-Profile Tyres Improve Handling?

There are two common reasons why you might fit your car with low-profile tyres. The first is that they can give your standard model a newer and sharper look. Shiny, new, large-diameter tyres can spruce up the look of your car, especially if you bought it as used with cheap trims and steel wheels.

The second reason you might wish to fit your car with low-profile tyres is that you have been told they will improve your vehicle’s handling. A word of warning here: while low-profile tyres do offer some handling advantages, these are often exaggerated.

The shorter sidewall does improve the tyre’s response in the initial part of a turn. This improved response gives you the impression that the tyre has more grip. However, after the first part of the turn, the sidewall is not what determines the grip – it’s the compound of the tyre and the tread design.

What Affects Your Vehicle Handling?

  • Tyre Tread

Tyre treads come in many different patterns, and each has its own use. For example, symmetrical tread patterns will give your car high directional stability and low rolling resistance. On the other hand, asymmetrical patterns will give good curve stability, improve handling, and give you a better grip in slippery or wet conditions.

·      Vehicle Type

How the car was designed, and the parts used, will also affect how well it handles. Suspension plays a key role in handling, and different models use different suspensions. Some are better than others. Electronic aids that your car is equipped with can also improve handling by advising you on your driving.

Should You Plus-Size Your Tyres?

It is worth noting that a larger-diameter wheel and a lower-profile tyre will most likely be heavier than the initial tyre fitted to your car. The additional weight can have a negative effect of the suspension and may make your vehicle less safe to drive.

In short, low-profile tyres do offer some benefits. However, the benefits you receive depends on your vehicle. If you are considering fitting low-profile tyres, you should ask for advice at your local tyre shop.

If you are just looking to improve the grip of your tyres, then low-profile tyres are most likely not the answer. While they do have some benefit when you first turn the steering wheel, other factors play bigger roles in your car’s grip to the road.

What Do the Experts Say?

Don’t take our word for it. When seeking advice about the best options for the wheels on your vehicle, consider what your vehicle manufacturer, wheel manufacturers and tyre shop have to say. Listening to the experts can help you see through the misinformation out there and make better decisions when choosing your next set of tyres.

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone says:

“Low-profile tyres don’t necessarily improve a vehicle’s handling. Factors such as section width, tyre tread design and car type also play a big part.”

Are you considering low-profile tyres? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Tyres

Tyre Myths: Can Tyre Repair Kits Do the Same Job as a Tyre Shop?

Why You Must Never Rely on a Tyre Repair Kit

Unfortunately, even the most vigilant driver can suffer a punctured tyre. Nails are often found on city streets, and unpaved rural roads can present hazards that can cause punctures. How good are tyre repair kits?

What Is a Tyre Repair Kit?

Puncture repair kits are designed to help if you get a puncture and are easily stored in your car. Often, they come in small and convenient carry cases that include some, or all, of the following items:

  • Plier – to remove the object that has caused the puncture
  • Lubricant – to help you ease the reamer into the puncture hole
  • Reamer – to probe the puncture and separate the tyre belts
  • Cord insertion tool – to insert the repair cord
  • Repair cords – the thick spongy cord that you insert into the puncture to fill the hole

Tyre Repair Kit vs Spare Tyre

Most new vehicles are sold without a full-sized spare tyre. Instead, they are equipped with space saver tyres. These are smaller and only to be used as short-term temporary solutions. You shouldn’t drive more than around 80 kilometres on a space-saver tyre.

Tyre repair kits are designed to do a similar job. The aim of the repair is to get the tyre working to the point that you can safely make it to a garage or tyre shop.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 30% of drivers under 24 don’t know enough about cars to change their own tyre. Tyre repair kits are simple to use and offer a quick and temporary fix. Repair kits also take up less space than a spare tyre and are a good option for cars that come without a spare. However, tyre repair kits don’t always work. For example, if you do significant damage to your tyre by hitting a curb, having a spare would be the better option.

According to tyre maker Continental, on average you are likely to suffer a puncture every 44,000 miles or five years. Having a solution in place for this event is important. Whether you have a spare tyre or a repair kit, the important thing is that you know how to use it.

How Far Can You Drive on a Repaired Tyre?

A tyre repair made with a tyre repair kit is not equal to a repair made in a tyre shop. If the puncture is not substantial, a patch from a qualified tyre repair specialist is of a much higher standard than a temporary fix that you make at the side of the road.

A temporary tyre repair made with your repair kit can last for up to 200 kilometres at speeds of up to 80kmph. This is plenty of distance to get you to a tyre shop where an expert can advise whether you can get a patch or need a replacement. A patch is the cheaper solution, but not always possible. It depends on the damage to the tyre.

Should You Visit a Tyre Repair Shop After You Get a Puncture?

Roadside repair kits are only ever a temporary solution. To get your vehicle repaired and running safely again, you should visit a tyre specialist as soon as possible after you have made a temporary repair. They will tell you if your tyre can be patched or plugged, or if it must be replaced.

What Do the Experts Have To Say?

Bridgestone says:

“Tyre repair kits are a temporary fix, and only designed to patch up small punctures. If your tyre has a gaping hole or its sidewall receives substantial damage, a tyre repair kit isn’t going to help. You should get your punctured tyre permanently patched up once the hole is plugged with a tyre repair kit.”

Have you checked your spare tyre recently? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Tyre Pressure

Tyre Myths: Do Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems Tell You When You Need to Change Your Tyres?

Modern Sensors Make Driving a Breeze

Modern cars make driving a lot easier with all the things they do for us. You no longer need to turn your headlights on when it’s dark, or your windscreen wipers when it rains. You are warned when you drive over the speed limit. They may even tell you what your tyre pressure is. But do modern sensors know how to warn you when your tyres need changing?

What are Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMSs)?

A Tyre Pressure Monitoring System does exactly what it says on the tin. It is an electronic system installed on your car to monitor the air pressure in your tyres.

Modern cars (typically from 2008 onwards) often come with a TPMS installed. The systems use sensors to continuously monitor the pressure of the air in your tyres. A warning light on your dashboard signals when your tyre pressure becomes dangerously low. This warning is a safety feature to prevent you from driving on dangerous tyres. The TPMS can also help you improve the longevity of your tyres by maintaining the correct PSI.

How Do TPMSs work?

Not all TPMSs are the same. The low tyre pressure warning light on your dashboard is the last step for an indirect TPMS or a direct TPMS.

·      Indirect TPMS

An indirect TPMS uses wheel speed to calculate pressure. Rather than measure the pressure in the tyre, the system uses wheel speed sensors from the antilock brakes. Based on the speed of each tyre, an onboard calculator works out the amount of revolutions a tyre is doing. The number is interpreted to figure out the pressure of the tyres, with underinflated tyres spinning faster than they would at correct inflation.

·      Direct TPMS

A direct TPMS uses pressure sensors in the wheel to calculate the PSI. A direct TPMS is more reliable than indirect, as you get a specific tyre pressure reading rather than an interpretation. Measurements from the direct TPMS are analysed by an onboard computer, and, if the pressure is lower than recommended, a warning light will flash on your dashboard.

Data from sensors is sent wirelessly to the onboard computer. To ensure that your tyre pressure is not from another vehicle, each system has its own unique serial number.

When Do You Need to Change Your Tyres?

A TPMS is great for warning you when you need to inflate your tyres. However, there are no sensors to warn you about tread wear or other hazards that mean you need to change your tyres. Instead, you should include a tyre inspection as part of your regular tyre maintenance routine. Here are some examples of signs that you need to change your tyres:

  • Tread depth gets too low: The legal minimum tread depth in Australia is 1.5mm. Tread depth has an impact on stopping distance, and some vehicle manufacturers argue that minimum tread depth should be legally increased to 2mm or 3mm.
  • Uneven tyre wear: Uneven wear is an indication of unusual stress on a tyre. Causes include incorrect wheel alignments or the wrong air pressure in your tyres.
  • Tyre age: You may use your vehicle infrequently and not put a lot of wear on your tyres. However, vehicle and tyre manufacturers still recommend you change your tyres regularly. Tyres over five years old dry out, losing elasticity and becoming increasingly dangerous to use.

What Do the Experts Have to Say?

Vehicle and tyre manufacturers have often worked together in creating TPMSs. They will both agree that they are helpful tools and useful for maintaining safe air pressure in your tyres. However, they also agree that while the systems are useful, they cannot warn you when you need fresh tyres.

For example, Bridgestone says:

“Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems are only able to keep track of the amount of pressure within a tyre. They do not indicate whether a tyre has worn out its tread or the right time to replace it.”

If your TPMS continually signals a warning, you should get your tyre checked by a professional. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

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