7-tyre-tips-for-a-successful-summer-road-trip-in-Queensland

7 tyre tips for a successful summer road trip in Queensland

What to do to make sure your tyres don’t harm your holiday

One of Australia’s favourite vacations is the road trip, and as the year progresses through spring and into summer more Queenslanders will be packing their vehicles with their belongings and heading out to explore. Whether travelling into the Outback or interstate, to get the best from them you must prepare well. Whatever you do, don’t neglect your tyres – they are in constant contact with the road, and you’ll need to be confident that they will come to your rescue whatever the circumstance.

Here are seven tyre tips to follow before you set off.

1.    Think about your journey

Consider what journey you are undertaking, the type of road surfaces you will encounter, the distances you will drive, and the conditions in which you might drive. If you plan to drive several thousand kilometres or are likely to encounter rough road conditions, ensure that your tyres have enough life in them. If in doubt, replace them. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

2.    Check your tyre tread

When it comes to tread, size definitely matters. The more tread you have, the more kilometres your tyres have in them, the more grip you’ll have on roads, and the shorter your braking distances will be. The minimum legal tread depth may be 1.6mm, but 3mm is generally considered to be the point where braking distances really start to lengthen.

3.    Check wheel balance and alignment

If your wheels are poorly aligned or incorrectly balanced, it will affect the performance of your vehicle and your tyres. Your vehicle will pull to one side, and your tyres will wear unevenly. You’ll also have a less comfortable ride, and driving will be harder work. Balance and alignment are crucial to your safety on the road. A simple test will ensure you aren’t putting yourself, your passengers and other road users in unnecessary risk.

4.    Don’t forget the spare

A common mistake is neglecting the spare tyre when you’re checking tyres before a road trip. Make sure it is suitable to use, checking tread and sidewalls for cuts and grazes. If you can take two spare tyres, do so – and make sure both are correctly inflated before you set off.

5.    Take a portable pump with you

As you progress on your road trip, you’re likely to travel through different road and weather conditions, and the air pressure in your tyres may vary. Check tyre pressures regularly, and correct them when needed. But what if you’re between petrol stations? A portable tyre pump takes little space and is a worthwhile addition to your road trip kit.

6.    Check your tyres pressures

Tyre inflation matters on the roads around Brisbane, and it matters on road trips.

Keeping your tyres correctly inflated is one of the simplest ways to keep them in good condition and safety on the road. Correctly inflated tyres suffer less damage, aid handling, and prolong tyre life.

A tyre pressure check should be part of your regular tyre routine, and you should always drive with tyres inflated at the recommended pressures unless you need to underinflate for certain terrains. If you do, don’t forget to re-inflate once you are through the obstacle.

7.    Never overload your vehicle

Whatever you do, don’t overload your vehicle. Overloading can cause tyres to overheat, and this can lead to sudden and unexpected tyre failure. You’ll find the maximum load rating on the tyre’s sidewall – don’t forget to check that your spare has the same or greater load rating.

And finally…

If you do suffer a breakdown or tyre problem that you cannot deal with, don’t leave your vehicle. Even though the next town may be close, don’t be tempted to walk. Get your phone out, and make a call. If you’re near Brisbane, call Darra Tyres. Put our number in your phone now (you’ll find it on our contact page). Be prepared for all possibilities, and stay safe on your road trip in Queensland.

If you’re planning a road trip this summer, make sure your black circles are as fit as you are. For the assurance of a professional tyre check,  contact Darra Tyres. We’ll make sure that your tyres and spare are in good condition so you and your family can enjoy your time on the road.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

How-to-avoid-getting-a-flat-tyre-in-Brisbane

How to avoid getting a flat tyre in Brisbane

6 tips to avoid being stranded with a blowout

I don’t know a single Brisbane driver who enjoys paying tolls, insurance, vehicle registration duties, services, or paying for the fuel they put in their vehicle. But these are costs and events that can be planned for. Others cannot, and always seem to happen at the wrong time – either when you don’t have the cash to pay for it or you’re short of time. A flat tyre is one of these.

In this article, you’ll learn a few things you can do to help prevent getting a flat while driving in and around Brisbane.

1.    Drive on correctly inflated tyres

If you drive on underinflated tyres, you are more likely to suffer flat tyres in Brisbane. Correctly inflated tyres bear loads properly and ensure that the rigidity of the tyre sidewall helps to protect it from bumps and scrapes. Additionally, the tread of underinflated tyres is less pronounced. This means that debris on the road is more likely to puncture the tyre.

2.    Drive for your tyres

As you drive more miles and as your tyres age, they will suffer. If you drive fast and brake hard, take corners too fast, or drive on rough terrain, your tyres will suffer more. We rely on tyres to keep our vehicles on the road, help us brake, and improve our comfort while driving. It’s easy to become complacent with tyres, and believe that they will do their job no matter how we drive on them.

The reality is different. How and where you drive impacts your tyres. If you drive fast on poor roads and brake hard into corners, your tyres will take a lot of punishment. Should this happen, your tyres are more likely to be compromised. They will weaken, suffer small tears and grazes, and become more susceptible to puncture the next time you are out driving.

To avoid this, always consider the strain you are putting your tyres under. Plan your route to avoid poor roads, and drive a little slower to avoid the need to stamp on your brake pedal.

3.    Inspect your tyres regularly

A quick, five-minute check before you start a journey can save a whole heap of trouble while you’re on the road. You should check:

  • Tyre pressure
  • The condition of the tyre wall
  • Tyre tread
  • The condition of the spare

If you find a nail, stone, or piece of glass embedded in the tread, remove it before it has the chance to do permanent damage.

For more info, take two minutes to read our article, ‘Brisbane tyre – four safety checks you must do’.

4.    Rotate your tyres

Your tyres will not wear evenly, no matter how well balanced and aligned they are. The stresses and strains placed on the front offside tyre are different to those suffered by the nearside rear tyre. Weaker tyres are more likely to suffer a puncture. By rotating your tyres regularly, the wear and tear will happen more evenly, and the tyre treads will last longer. This will reduce the possibility of getting a puncture and reduce tyre costs.

5.    Change your tyres before you must change them

When you inspect your tyres, take notice of those that are starting to wear. Tyres with cracks or with tread that has worn down to the wear indicator, or with bald patches, and those that have had a temporary repair, are more likely to suffer a blowout. Avoid this by changing tyres sensibly – before they must be changed by law.

Remember, too (and especially here in Brisbane) that the sun weakens your tyres. It is recommended that you change your tyres every five to six years – irrespective of damage or wear and tear – for this reason. If you’re not sure how old your tyres are, read our article ‘How do you know how old your tyres are and if they need changing?’.

6.    Buy premium tyres when possible

As with most things in this world, when you buy tyres you get what you pay for. Premium tyres from the top tyre manufacturers are better built, more stable, and more able to withstand higher mileage. Always buy the best, most trustworthy tyre your budget allows.

In summary

Whatever actions you take, there is no guarantee that you will avoid a flat tyre. However, the six tips above should help your tyres last longer and resist puncture. Be more proactive with your tyre maintenance. Drive with your tyres in mind, buy the best tyres you can, check them before each journey, and rotate them regularly.

Before buying tyres in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres. We’ll make sure that the tyres you buy are suitable for your vehicle and your budget.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Why-tyre-inflation-matters-on-the-roads-around-Brisbane

Why tyre inflation matters on the roads around Brisbane

Precautions to reduce tyre damage, cost and safety issues

When it comes to driving in and around Brisbane, no matter what vehicle you’ve got it’s a good idea to make sure that your tyres are correctly inflated. A weekly check should be enough for most Brisbane motorists to maintain the correct tyre pressure and avoid the dangers of underinflation or overinflation.

In this article, you’ll learn about the potential consequences of driving on incorrectly inflated tyres, and how to ensure poorly inflated tyres don’t cause damage to your pocket and your health.

Why should tyres be correctly inflated?

Tyre manufacturers spend hundreds of millions each year on research and development, to produce a product that is designed to increase the safety and comfort of drivers and their passengers. Rubber compounds, shape, tread patterns and construction have evolved to provide protection against potholes, rocks, ridged roads, and even curbing.

You wouldn’t expect optimum performance from a poorly maintained tyre, would you? All the money and effort that tyre manufacturers put into R&D produce tyres that are designed to run at their best at a certain inflated pressure.

If you underinflate or overinflate your tyres, you risk damaging them on Brisbane’s roads. That’s going to hurt your pocket. Even more importantly, poorly inflated tyres mess with handling and braking, making driving more dangerous. There are enough accidents in and around Brisbane as it is, without your poorly inflated tyres causing another.

The dangers of driving on underinflated tyres

Underinflated tyres lose some rigidity. This means a lack of support as you corner. They don’t respond as well, affecting safety. Because of their weakened state, they are more prone to puncture and blowouts. Finally, underinflated tyres put your wheels and engine under more stress. In the long run, more expense is promised, with tyre wear especially pronounced on both shoulders.

The dangers of driving on overinflated tyres

With too much air pumped into it, an overinflated tyre’s shape is distorted. There is less of the tyre on the road, meaning you lose traction and braking distances increase. You’ll also find that the centre of your tyre wears faster because this is the part in touch with the road.

An overinflated tyre is less forgiving than a correctly inflated tyre. It’s stiffer, and therefore less reactive to bumps and potholes and more prone to damage. You’ll suffer from a less comfortable ride, and the tyre noise is likely to be louder, too.

Pay attention to the quality of your drive

When you’re driving, if you feel that your drive experience is suddenly altered, it could be that one of your tyres has been damaged. Even correctly inflated tyres are not invincible. Pay attention to this. Stop the car and inspect your tyres. If you notice a cut, graze or bulge, don’t take any chances. Call an emergency tyre service, or, if you are near to Darra Tyres, bring the car immediately to us for a professional tyre inspection.

Check your tyres at least weekly

It only takes a couple of minutes to check your tyres are inflated correctly:

  1. Follow the recommended inflation pressures as shown on the tyre placard inside the door jamb.
  2. Inflate them to the correct pressure.
  3. Recheck your tyre pressures after a few minutes, to ensure they are not losing air.
  4. Maintain even tyre pressures on all four tyres.

A few minutes could save your life

Checking your tyre pressure takes only a few minutes, but it could be the few minutes that save your life. Certainly, running your tyres at the correct pressure will reduce fuel consumption and help your tyres last longer. Cost and safety – two excellent reasons to ensure you follow a good tyre maintenance routine.

If you are in any doubt about your tyres, don’t hesitate to contact Darra Tyres. We’ll make sure that your tyres are fit for the purpose intended.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Should-Brisbane-farmers-buy-radial-ply-agricultural-tyres

Should Brisbane’s farmers buy radial ply agricultural tyres?

Comparing bias ply with radial ply for your farm application

Since the development of radial tyres in the 1970s and 1980s, radial tyres are the norm on most vehicles. They provide a smoother drive, with greater traction offering shorter braking distances and improved safety performance. However, for several reasons, agricultural tyres were left behind, with most agricultural vehicles still equipped with bias ply tyres.

Bias ply follows ruts in fields, while radial ply helps vehicles stay in line on tarmac roads. However, as agricultural work has begun to require more time on concrete and tarmac, agricultural tyres with a radial ply are becoming more common.

Why might you invest in radial ply agricultural tyres?

Apart from the way that radial ply tyres resist drift on the tarmac, there are several other reasons you might decide to opt for radial ply instead of bias ply for your next set of tractor tyres.

·      Radial ply tyres resist heat better

Radial ply tyres are more resistant to heat, as the way they are constructed helps to disperse heat more effectively than bias tyres. The result is that they can be driven at higher speeds and for longer than bias ply tyres.

·      Reduced soil compaction

A radial ply tyre has a larger footprint than bias ply equivalents. This means that your vehicle’s weight is spread over a larger area, helping to reduce soil compaction. The result is higher crop yields and improved profits.

·      Better traction

With a larger footprint and unique tread, more traction is produced from the transfer of engine power to axle to wheel. There is less slippage, too, meaning that the engine’s power is better utilised. Less slippage also has the benefit of producing less rutting.

·      Improved fuel consumption

Better utilisation of engine power results in improved fuel consumption, and, combined with less rutting, which means lower resistance, your engine doesn’t need to work as hard – further reducing fuel consumption.

·      A more comfortable day’s work

Working the fields is hard work, and constant bouncing can cause injury and back problems. Radial ply tyres are more giving than bias ply agricultural tyres. The sidewalls on radial ply tyres are more flexible, and so help to absorb the shocks caused by driving through ruts and over rocks. A more comfortable ride is the result, helping operator productivity as well as reducing maintenance requirements on farm vehicles.

·      Radial ply agricultural tyres are more cost-effective

Radial ply tyres provide a smoother ride, reduce soil compaction, and improve fuel consumption. A further advantage is that a radial ply tyre’s greater flexibility means it is less likely to become chipped or suffer a puncture – and this means a longer tyre life. Longer periods between needing to replace tyres add an extra layer of cost-effectiveness.

Should you replace your bias-ply agricultural tyres with radial ply?

While radial ply agricultural tyres appear to be a perfect choice, whether to replace bias ply with radial ply is not a straightforward equation. The use they are likely to get should be the deciding factor.

For example, if you are operating in extremely tough terrain, where you are likely to drive over sharp rocks and stumps, a bias-ply tyre’s greater rigidity could prove positive to tyre life. Similarly, vehicles that won’t be driven on roads and will operate at lower speeds may work better when equipped with bias ply, especially where you are likely to work on slopes. Finally, bias ply tyres tend to be cheaper to buy – which may also be a consideration.

Before buying agricultural tyres, contact Darra Tyres. We’ll make sure that the agricultural tyres you buy are suitable for the farm application intended and your budget.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Is-your-fleet-getting-the-maximum-kilometres-from-its-tyres

Is your fleet getting the maximum kilometres from its tyres?

Why tyre pressure and regular maintenance can improve your bottom line

It surprises me that so many fleet managers undervalue tyres and that drivers aren’t educated on how to get the best from them. After all, tyres are one of the highest costs of a fleet of vehicles, and they may be the most important of all a fleet’s assets. Consider these factors:

  • During the course of a truck’s life, its tyres will cost more than engine rebuilds
  • Without tyres, your trucks don’t move – and your company doesn’t make a profit
  • When tyres fail on the road, the result can be catastrophic

How much do your tyres cost you?

Can you say how much your tyres cost per kilometre? Many fleet managers don’t have this number to hand. They know their fuel costs and driver costs per kilometre, but they don’t have a deep understanding of how much their tyres cost.

You’ve invested heavily in your tyres. Large companies have millions of dollars invested in the rubber between their vehicles and the tarmac beneath them. They insist their office workers maintain their computers with regular backups, daily cleans, virus protection, and so on. Tyres are maintained weekly at best. Yet there is a daily tyre maintenance routine that your drivers should do, and which could save you a small fortune on your tyre costs.

Relieve the pressure on tyre costs by running tyres at the correct pressure

A truck’s tyres are reliant on running at the correct pressure. Inflation affects braking distances, handling and traction. If tyre pressures vary across axles, it affects your loading and puts pressure on transmissions. It affects suspension and shock absorbers. Your engine maintenance costs increase. Incorrectly inflated tyres wear more quickly. Add all of these effects together, and you have a heavy cost to safety, and to your bottom line profits.

Here are a few examples of how much poorly inflated tyres could be costing your fleet:

  • On dual tyres, a difference of just 5 psi between the tyres will mean one tyre’s tread wears far faster than the other. Meanwhile, the other’s casing wears faster. The life of both tyres is negatively impacted.
  • Wheel bearings are impacted by uneven dual tyre pressures, too. A difference of 5 psi could decrease life by 10%.
  • If you run a tyre at 10% underinflated from recommended pressure, it will wear out around 10% to 15% faster, and increase fuel consumption by around 3%.

Is a daily tyre pressure check enough?

As a tyre warms up, its pressure changes. Tyre pressure checks are usually undertaken when the tyre is cold, and so the dynamics change as the truck is driven. For optimum tyre pressure management, fleet managers are turning to tyre sensors and tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMSs).

Tyres also warm up at different rates according to their position on a vehicle. This variance in pressures between tyres on different axles can be 5 psi on dual tyre axles – with the effect on cost as noted above: a decrease in tyre life, poorer braking and handling, and an increase in fuel consumption.

Data collected from a TPMS enables pressures to be maintained at optimum levels, decreasing your costs and increasing your profits.

How do you maintain your fleet’s tyres?

What is your tyre maintenance routine? Do you have a weekly tyre routine, and a daily tyre check? Do your vehicles benefit from TPMSs? If you aren’t maintaining your tyres correctly, it’s likely costing your fleet heavily. Well-maintained tyres last longer, increase on-road safety and decrease fuel consumption.

To find out how our fleet tyre management services help you to get the maximum number of kilometres out of every tyre on every single vehicle in your fleet, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Get-your-forklift-tyres-ready-for-the-changing-Queensland-weather

Get your forklift tyres ready for the changing Queensland weather

Tips for forklift tyre safety and cost saving

As we head toward spring and summer in Queensland, Brisbane businesses will be preparing for warmer weather. This includes ensuring your forklift tyres are fit for a new season as your business grows.

In this article, you’ll find three tips to get your forklift tyres spring and summer ready here in Brisbane.

1.    Check for tyre damage

Damaged forklift tyres reduce handling and braking ability on forklifts. This makes it more difficult for operators to work effectively, and it increases the danger that forklifts pose to pedestrians in your warehouse or distribution centre. This is before any cost of damaged goods is considered.

Forklift tyres are among the most abused. They come into constant contact with kerbs and other structures. If not inflated properly, underinflation increases damage through wear and tear. Worn forklift tyres are dangerous and most susceptible to blowouts.

Put a regular tyre check on your forklift operators’ checklist, to discover the cuts, grazes and bumps that reduce the effectiveness of a forklift’s tyres and could put them and others at risk of injury through an avoidable accident.

2.    Check your forklift tyres’ tread depth

The tread on your forklift tyres is essential to the traction your forklift gets when being driven. The correct tread depth will ensure that water is dispersed effectively and forklifts don’t aquaplane – a risk when the roads are hot and dry and then wetted by a sudden rainfall (or water used in your yard).

Tread aids handling. It increases grip and reduces braking distances.

Take the time to inspect all your forklift tyres and ensure that they have the correct tread. If not, have them replaced now.

3.    Never operate forklifts on incorrectly inflated tyres

Ensure that your forklift operators check their forklift tyre inflation pressures at least once per day. This is best done at the start of a shift when the tyre is cold.

Poorly inflated forklift tyres increase the risks of reduced stability, decreased traction, and faster tyre wear. Tyres with lower-than-required pressures will heat up faster. They will fail earlier, and this will increase your forklift tyre costs.

By following these three forklift tyre tips, your forklift tyres should last longer and improve health and safety in the workplace. Your employees will thank you, as will your bottom line.

One final tip: never remove an inflated tyre from a forklift, and ensure that only trained and authorised forklift tyre fitters remove and install tyres and wheels on your forklifts.

For more information about our forklift tyres and services for businesses, call Darra Tyres, and learn why Brisbane businesses put their faith in us.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Spring-and-summer-tyre-maintenance-tips-for-Queensland-drivers

Spring and summer tyre maintenance tips for Queensland drivers

Stay tyre safe and save money for a season of driving

Spring is here! Great news, but it also means that Queensland’s drivers need to be extra vigilant about their tyres. As we head into summer, the risk of an accident because of faulty tyres and wheels increases. Higher temperatures play havoc with tyres if you don’t maintain them properly. Incorrectly inflated tyres and poorly aligned and balanced wheels are leading factors in road traffic accidents in Queensland.

In this article, you’ll learn about the good tyre check and maintenance habits you should start practising now, so that by the time the wet season arrives, keeping your tyres properly maintained is second nature.

The top seven tyre maintenance safety tips

These seven tyre maintenance habits will help to keep you safe on the roads. They should ensure your drive is more comfortable, reduce your fuel consumption, and help your tyres last longer, too. Sticking to this routine will help the environment, your pocket, and your back!

1.    Check for wear and tear weekly

At least once each week – and preferably before any trip – check your tyres for visible signs of damage. If you notice cracks, cuts, or uneven wear, take your vehicle to a tyre professional to have your tyres and wheels comprehensively assessed. See our article “How do Australia’s drivers know they need new tyres?” for advice on minimum legal treads and the type of wear and tear that is a cause for concern.

2.    Keep your tyres properly inflated

At least once per month, check the inflated tyre pressure of your tyres. Poorly inflated tyres will wear faster. But this is the least of your problems. You will also find that underinflation or overinflation will increase breaking distances, cause handling problems, and increase fuel consumption.

Make sure you check the tyres when they are ‘cold’ – when your vehicle hasn’t been driven for at least two hours and for less than three kilometres. You’ll find the recommended inflation pressure on the tyre placard in the door jamb, or in your owner’s manual.

(Top tip: check your spare tyre each time you check your other tyres.)

3.    Heed the warnings of poorly balanced and misaligned wheels

If you are experiencing vibration on the steering wheel, or your vehicle is ‘pulling’ left or right, it could be that your wheels are poorly balanced or have become misaligned. The cause could be something simple like driving over a pothole or nudging the kerb when parking.

The result of poorly balanced or misaligned wheels is poor handling and decreased safety, as well as uneven and premature tyre wear. It is essential that you take your vehicle to be checked professionally if you notice the symptoms of poor balancing and alignment – neither is self-correcting.

4.    Deal with a slow puncture promptly

It may be tempting to put off dealing with a slow puncture, but it’s not clever. A slow puncture will only get worse if you leave it unattended, and reinflation is only a temporary fix. If you notice one of your tyres is losing its inflation, take your vehicle to your nearest tyre shop. The technicians will be able to locate the problem and advise whether it can be repaired or if you need a new tyre. It could save you money, and will certainly save you aggravation later.

5.    Rotate your tyres

Rotate your tyres every 5,000 kilometres or so. By doing so, you’ll optimise tread wear, helping your tyres last longer. The wear that your tyres do suffer will also be more even, and this will help provide a smoother driving experience.

6.    Never overload your vehicle

If you overload your vehicle, you will increase the wear on your tyres and use more fuel. Handling will be affected adversely, and your braking distance will increase. If you have a heavy load to transport, have a professional with a suitable vehicle to do it for you.

7.    Watch your suspension

If your ride is a little harsher than usual, it could be that your suspension is wearing. If you think the rougher ride is hard on you, spare a thought for your tyres because they will be taking a real beating.

Start spring and summer with good tyres

It’s likely that you’ll be doing more driving during spring and summer than you did during the winter months. Days out with the family, perhaps a road trip to see more of Australia. Don’t put your family’s safety at risk by neglecting your tyres. Make the above seven tyre tips part of your driver routine.

Finally, before the spring really gets underway, if you live in Brisbane, call into Darra Tyres. We’ll check your tyres and make certain that they are fit for the season ahead.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

how-do-you-know-how-old-tyres-are-and-if-they-need-changing

How do you know how old your tyres are and if they need changing?

Is it time for new tyres?

I’ve had a question sent into us, asking “How do you know how old your tyres are?”

The questioner isn’t sure about the age of his tyres and is concerned in case they should be changed. There’s no real wear and tear on them – no bubbling, chipping, or other sidewall damages – nor are there any other signs that the tyres need changing, as we explain in our article “How do Australia’s drivers know they need new tyres?” However, the questioner knows that manufacturers recommend changing tyres every five years, regardless of wear – but he bought the car second-hand a couple of years ago, and isn’t sure how old the tyres are.

In this article, you’ll learn how to tell the age of your tyres. This one piece of knowledge could help save your life, and it could help you drive a better bargain when buying a second-hand vehicle – if the tyres need changing because of their age, you could negotiate a fair few dollars’ discounts.

Why should you buy new tyres every five years?

The older a tyre is, the less safe it is. This is irrespective of use or wear and tear. This rule also applies to your spare tyre. As tyres age, they become age-damaged – even in storage! Often, the damage caused by ageing will show as small cracks in the rubber, which is oxidised by the UV rays in the sun.

Tyres contain anti-ageing waxes which slow down the effect of ageing, but these are only released when the tyre is in motion. Thus, tyres stored poorly – and your spare – may age faster than the tyres on your wheels.

Ageing tyres are more likely to puncture or suffer a blow-out at speed. Older vehicles that have a low mileage are more likely to have prematurely aged tyres. If you are not sure about the condition of your tyres, please do get them checked by a professional. Just because they have plenty of tread left, they may not be safe for driving.

Manufacturers mostly recommend that you renew your tyres every five or six years if you haven’t done so sooner. This isn’t an exact science. Your tyre specialist will be able to tell you if they are good for another few months or more.

How do you tell the age of a tyre?

If you buy a used vehicle, the chances are that it won’t come with a set of new tyres. It’s also unlikely that the seller will know or remember when the existing tyres were purchased – and even then, it is the year of manufacture that’s important.

Fortunately, all tyres are marked with the month and year of manufacture. If you look around the sidewall, you’ll come across a four-digit number in an oval border. This tells you the week and year of manufacture. For example, if the number is 1116:

  • The first two digits are the week (e.g. 11 means the 11th week)
  • The second two digits are the year (e.g. 16 mean 2016)
  • Therefore, this tyre was manufactured in the 11th week of 2016

Some tyres only have a three-digit number. These were made before 2000. They should be changed immediately.

If you are buying a used vehicle, always check the date of manufacture of the tyres. The older they are, the more likely they are to need replacing, and this is a bargaining chip in price negotiation.

Help your tyres last longer

Though they are a valuable investment in your safety and driving experience, whatever your vehicle, tyres are not a cheap purchase. The longer you can help them last, the more value you will get from every dollar you spend on new tyres. These five quick tips will help your tyres last longer:

  1. Keep them out of direct sunlight.
  2. If they are on stationary vehicles, move the vehicle backwards and forward every week to help prevent flat spots.
  3. Avoid parking on or driving through grease, oil, petrol or diesel. Always clean them if this happens.
  4. Don’t brake hard, especially into and through corners.
  5. Keep them inflated to the correct pressure, and avoid ‘kerbing’.

In summary

Aged tyres are more at risk of failure, and it is recommended that you change them every five to six years. You’ll find the year of manufacture of your tyre embossed as a four-digit number on the tyre’s sidewall. If your tyre is approaching five years old, take it to your nearest tyre specialist to have it checked. A five-minute check could save your life.

If you live in Brisbane, don’t hesitate to call into Darra Tyres. We’re here to answer your questions and keep you safe.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Intelligent-fleets-will-use-intelligent-tyres-in-the-future

Intelligent fleets will use intelligent tyres in the future, says Goodyear

Intelligent tyres are nearer to being standard than many think

Goodyear is anticipating big changes in the fleet tyre market in Australia. It believes that fleets will use intelligent tyres commonly in the near future, especially as the move toward car sharing and autonomous vehicles gathers pace. Is Goodyear right?

The role of tyres is changing

A few weeks ago, we published an article that discussed how fleet tyre management is set to move to autopilot. Goodyear had just shown its concept tyre, the Oxygene, at the Geneva Motor Show. Although Goodyear cannot be certain of when such tyres will be commercialised, it seems that Goodyear is planning for sooner rather than later.

At the nationwide launch of its Assurance TripleMax 2 tyre in Victoria, Raelene Smith, head of shopper merchandise and market insights at Goodyear and Dunlop Tyres, said “We’re seeing new technology in cars today. We’re seeing people with self-driving fleets always looking at autonomous vehicles and how they work. So, we envisage that, at some stage, the role of tyres will change.

The new role of fleet tyres

Fleet tyres – and those on car shares – have a very different role to play. Their job will be to optimise longevity and safety.

A vehicle which is shared between multiple drivers is unlikely to receive the attention of a personal vehicle. The last thing people are likely to check will be the tyres. It’s not their vehicle, and, even though from a safety aspect you should check your tyres before setting out, people without a real vested interest are unlikely to do so.

Therefore, from the point of view of safety and optimising tyre life, fleet tyres will need to be ‘intelligent’.

What are intelligent tyres?

Intelligent tyres collect information through sensors in the tyre and then provide this information to you. This information could tell you about tyre and tread wear, load and temperature, as well as tyre pressure. This information is then used to optimise performance.

The sensors can also relay information about road conditions, too, enabling fleet vehicles to ‘talk’ to each other, and helping fleets manage routes more effectively.

As well as increasing tyre life, this technology should help to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

To recap, the benefits include:

  • Longer tyre life
  • Greater safety on the road because of better information about road and tyre conditions
  • Better fuel consumption and lower fuel costs

Little wonder that the intelligent tyre sales are expected to hit more than 400 million by 2026.

When will intelligent tyres become mainstream?

The new technology available in new vehicles today is bringing intelligent tyres closer, faster. Autonomous fleets are approaching, and the role of tyres will change.

Goodyear has partnered with Tesla to work on improvements. It has also rolled out a ride-sharing service with intelligent tyres to optimise fleet performance in the United States. These are early-stage developments leading to greater access to intelligent tyres as the first choice.

When I think of how fast these tyres may become mainstream, it makes me look back at the replacement of leaded fuel with unleaded; slow to start, but as more cars were built to run on unleaded, the new fuel snowballed. In a few years, as intelligent tyres become the norm on new cars, you’ll need to replace today’s common tyres with intelligent tyres.

The next big move in vehicles is already happening: electric. My guess is that by the time the electric car is mainstream, intelligent tyres will already be fitted as standard on most new vehicles.

Meanwhile, for an intelligent tyre fitting service in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

Read-this-warning-before-you-go-large-on-new-tyres

Read this warning before you go large on new tyres

New tyre tips to stay legal when you modify your vehicle

In my last article, “Should you check your speedo when you fit new tyres?”, I explained how fitting the wrong-sized new tyres on your vehicle could lead you to break the speed limit even though your speedometer tells you otherwise. This isn’t the only problem you may have if you want to supersize your tyres.

Why you might want larger tyres

If you want extra power, there are many things you can do to your vehicle. You might decide to refit the engine and have it tuned especially for the job your vehicle needs to do. You might fit a supercharger, upgrade the suspension, or replace the turbo.

None of these upgrades will help your vehicles grip on the road. All the power in the world will add up to nothing if you can’t get traction. So, naturally, you’ll look to new tyres. Bigger is better, right? Especially when it comes to grip on the road. A tyre with a wider diameter will give you that grip. It could also void your insurance.

Stay legal with larger tyres

Whatever new tyres you have fitted, they must comply with the law. If you are modifying your vehicle in any way, you must do so in line with the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (NCOP) Vehicle Standards. Regarding new tyres, this code is clear that:

  • New tyres fitted to 4WD passenger vehicles must not be more than 50mm wider in diameter than the tyre size designated by the vehicle’s manufacturer
  • New tyres fitted to off-road passenger vehicles must not be more than 50% wider than the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended widest tyre

You’ll find the manufacturer’s recommendations on the tyre placard on the door jamb, or in the owner’s manual.

Whatever modification you make, you must also ensure that no part of the wheel or tyre touches:

  • Any part of the body of the vehicle
  • The chassis
  • The steering mechanisms
  • The braking system
  • The suspension

Also, when aligned straight, the wheels must be housed within the bodywork – they cannot stick out from the side of your vehicle.

Modify your vehicle legally

If you are modifying your vehicle, and there are many reasons why you might wish to do so, the chances are that you’ll need to consider what to do with your wheels and which new tyres to fit.

A larger-diameter tyre will improve clearance if you do a lot of off-road driving. Increasing the diameter of your tyre will give you the added traction you need to benefit from increased power and retain safe braking distances.

However, by modifying your wheels incorrectly you run the risk of the modification being illegal. If you get into an accident and this is the case, your insurance will be void. You could find yourself with a huge cost to pay.

Modifying your vehicle and fitting new tyres without the technical know-how and legal knowledge is not a smart thing to do. Instead, bring your vehicle into our tyre shop in Darra. We’ll help you decide on the best modification and the best tyres to get the most from your vehicle while staying legal and ensuring your insurance covers what you believe it does.

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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