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Tyre Valve Caps

Tyre Myths: You Won’t Lose Air If You Use Valve Caps

What Job do Valve Caps Really Do?

Cars are designed with precision and thought. Every detail, even down to the small things, are placed there for a reason – that includes your valve caps. However, there is a lot of misinformation around what value caps are for. Do they stop the air coming out of your tyres, or are they for something else?

What Are Valve Caps?

Valve caps are placed on the stem of your vehicle tyres. They are small, made of plastic or metal, and may seem insignificant. However, they play an important role in tyre maintenance.

A valve cap is designed to protect the Schrader valve, which a valve stem core is threaded through. The stem core is what keeps the air or nitrogen in your tyres.

Why Do You Need Valve Caps on Your Tyres?

If a valve cap is not fitted to your tyres, the stem is left unprotected. Dirt and moisture can enter the valve stem, causing blockages or damaging the valve.

Not having a valve cap does make your tyres more susceptible to losing air. However, having your valve cap in place does not mean that your tyres won’t deflate.

What Should Your Tyre Pressure Be?

Tyre pressure is measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) and varies for each vehicle. Typically, on newer cars, the recommended tyre pressure is listed on a sticker inside the driver’s door. For some vehicles that have all the new mod-cons, the current pressure of each tyre can be displayed on the dashboard. It will warn you when you are over or under the recommended tyre pressure.

Low tyre pressure can make your car less fuel-efficient and impact the safety of your vehicle. Maintaining proper inflation is important to keep your tyres wearing evenly and improves their longevity.

If your vehicle is doing coast-to-coast drives over the interstates, or regularly going on unpaved roads, you should check the pressure more frequently.

What Causes Your Tyres to Lose Air?

Every car owner or fleet manager should aim to maintain proper tyre pressure. Knowing what causes tyre deflation can help you put preventative measures in place, to keep your tyres at the correct air pressure.

·      Movement of Air (Osmosis)

Osmosis of air through the tyres can lead to the loss of 1 to 3 PSI every month. The material and manufacture of the tyre impact the osmosis. This is as much as 10% of your tyre’s air pressure.

·      Slow Punctures

One of the most common causes of loss of air pressure is a slow puncture. A nail or other debris stuck in the tyre can cause it to lose 1 to 3 PSI every day. Often you won’t notice the puncture until there is significant deflation of your tyres, so it’s good practice to check your pressure regularly.

·      Impact Breaks

Hitting the curb or driving over large rocks or other objects on the road can cause sudden and excessive air loss. Impacts such as these will be noticeable almost immediately and you will need to call a roadside response like NRMA or RAC to come and fix or replace the tyre.

What Do the Experts Have to Say?

Most tyre and vehicle manufacturers give the same advice for having valve caps on your tyres. Bridgestone’s advice is typical of that from tyre manufacturers:

Valve caps are designed to keep water and dust particles out. Air will inevitably escape through the tyre rubber in all directions even with the valve caps in place. It is recommended to regularly inflate your tyres to ensure that they are at the right pressure and perform as they should.

In short, tyres will lose air pressure over time with or without a valve in place. However, the valve does help to retain air and does an important job of protecting the valve stem from dirt and moisture. Checking your tyre pressure regularly and ensuring your valve caps are securely in place are two ways you can ensure good tyre maintenance.

Is your tyre losing air pressure? 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

michelin tweel tyres

How Does the Michelin Tweel Work?

Tyre Technology Takes Another Leap

The world of tyres is marked by famous names and innovators. Goodyear was the first to develop the process of vulcanisation – this makes rubber waterproof and winterproof and preserves its elasticity. Dunlop, who invented the first practical pneumatic tyre. Goodrich added carbon to the rubber to make tyres last longer. The Michelin brothers, who developed pneumatic tyres for use on automobiles.

Michelin (the company, not the brothers) has been at it again. It has developed what may one day become a mainstream product: the Tweel. In this article, you’ll learn how the Tweel works, and why it might be the tyre you’ve been waiting for.

Introducing the Michelin Tweel

It takes a long time for small acorns to grow into strong oaks, and similar can be said of advances in tyre technology. The Michelin Tweel has been in development for more than a decade.

Michelin wanted to develop an airless tyre for cars. Imagine no punctures and longer life. Safer driving and lower costs in the long run. A dream? Not with the Michelin Tweel, though the Tweel is more than a tyre. It’s a tyre and wheel (hence ‘Tweel’), and a feat of engineering ingenuity.

Why Do We Need the Michelin Tweel?

The trouble with air-filled tyres is that they can puncture. If they do, the result can be fatal. A blowout at high speed is a terrifying experience, especially if it’s on a busy road.

Even if you don’t suffer a blowout, a flat tyre (or one that is not inflated correctly) affects the tyre’s performance. Underinflated tyres cause poorer handling. Overinflated tyres lose grip. If you don’t inflate your tyres to the correct tyre pressure, you’ll have worse driving experience, and use more fuel. The tyres will wear unevenly, and you’ll need to replace them more often.

Most drivers don’t maintain their tyres well. They don’t check tyre pressures regularly, even though it only takes a few minutes to do so. Airless tyres remove this as an issue. The Michelin Tweel does a lot more.

What Makes the Michelin Tweel so Special?

The Tweel is a combination of a tyre and a wheel. It’s an all-in-one solution that removes the need for separate rims and tyres. You won’t have to inflate it. When you drive over a piece of debris, the Tweel shapes itself to that debris, keeping more contact with the road and maintaining a better grip. This also means you have smoother driving experience.

It accomplishes all this because of how it is made. Spokes run the entire width of the Tweel, and they can bend – forwards, backwards and sideways. Yet they are rigid enough to maintain their solidity. They deform to the terrain and then spring back into shape. A little like a sponge when you grip it tight.

The spokes can be made to different tensions, so Tweels can be manufactured for different uses. Greater flexibility makes for a more comfortable driving experience with the bonus that handling is improved.

Real Benefits of Tweels, but Some Disadvantages Too

As with any technological advance, there are some disadvantages of Tweels. For example, you can adjust pneumatic tyres by altering the tyre pressure, but once a Tweel has been made, it cannot be adjusted.

The Michelin Tweel also suffers from more vibration at high speed, and this results in a louder drive. However, these problems are being ironed out quickly. Already, Tweels are available for a multitude of uses, including for UTV and ATV vehicles. Michelin believes they will be available as a mainstream product for cars by 2024.

To make this happen, tyre manufacturing plants must be upgraded for the new manufacturing processes that are needed to produce the Michelin Tweel. Tyre shops will also need new equipment to mount them onto vehicles. There is a lot of investment that is being made and still is made in removing obstacles to the widespread adoption of Tweels. One thing is certain, though: the Michelin Tweel is the future.

The benefits of driving on Michelin Tweels are huge. They include better performance, safer drives, and greater road safety. The disadvantages are being ironed out. Soon, you’ll be able to equip your passenger car with Michelin Tweels. Right now, it could be the solution you’ve been seeking to take your off-road thrills to the next level.

For more information, contact Darra Tyres today. See the future of driving, today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Michelin Tweel – Revolution in Tyre Technology That Will Flatten Run Flat Tyres

From Lawn Mowers to Off-Road to Passenger Cars

Run-flat tyres are popular because of the benefits they provide. A smoother ride, with greater traction, great looks, and highly cost-effective. A little pricier than ‘ordinary’ tyres, but for most drivers they are worth every cent. However, they could soon lose their appeal. A space-age revolution in tyre technology known as the ‘Michelin Tweel’ has landed. The benefits of this tyre could flatten the sales of run-flats.

What Is the Michelin Tweel?

Currently available for a range of UTVs, ATVs and agricultural vehicles, although the Michelin Tweel is airless, it is not an airless tyre. It is a tyre and wheel combined. It has super-aggressive tread, which means it disperses mud and water at warp speed. The Tweel bolts on to a vehicle easily, using heavy gauge steel, four-bolt hub system.

Using poly-resin spokes across the width of the wheel, the way the Tweel is made gives it incredible flexibility. It literally moulds itself to the shape of the terrain it is being driven on.

The Tweel is also virtually unbreakable. You can drive it over rocks, nails, glass and other debris. It takes all in its stride. It’s like you can hear the Tweel laughing at such minor inconveniences. With Tweels fitted to your vehicle, you can wave goodbye to punctures and expensive wheel changes.

Tweels give you:

  • A smoother ride
  • Less hassle from damaged tyres
  • Less worry about road surface debris

You won’t need to carry a spare, either. Tweels are the most indestructible black circles that I have ever seen. Their tread has been measured as lasting three times longer than the tread on pneumatic tyres, and they can be re-treaded. These Tweels could put us out of business!

Great for Lawns and More

Lawn mowing is just one application for which the Michelin Tweel is perfect. You don’t know what could be hiding in the long grass. So you take it slow, hoping that there are no nails or broken bottles that will pierce through your tyres and cause you a heap of aggravation and a pocketful of costs.

The Michelin Tweel removes this worry. You can drive over dozens of nails. They may embed themselves in the tread, but they won’t burst the Tweel – there’s no air. And those rocks in the undergrowth? Forget about them. The Tweel passes over them like water over pebbles – free-flowing and stress-free. It shapes itself to the ground, meaning you benefit from a smoother ride. No more bouncing about, and no more stiff back.

This means that you can mow that lawn faster. You save time, stress, and spinal injury!

The Tweel isn’t just for those high-powered lawnmowers, though. It is also available for UTVs and ATVs. Those off-road, virgin tracks will become routes that you can now explore. More fun, less grief.

Michelin Tweel – The Future for Car Drivers?

Here’s the downside: car drivers can’t yet benefit from Michelin Tweels. Michelin has spent a fortune on developing the Tweel and has taken it to the UTV and ATV market. But it isn’t quite there in the domestic car market yet. It is coming, though.

Michelin started testing this year. Those tests are progressing well. The Michelin Tweel is currently limited to 37 miles per hour; not quite fast enough for domestic cars. You won’t break any land speed records on them, though you will be able to break land that you have never driven before.

However, if the tests continue to go as well as they have to date, it won’t be too long before we see the first Michelin Tweels rolling off the production lines and bolted onto cars. The run flat tyre could soon be flattened by the revolution that is the Michelin Tweel.

To see the future of car tyres today, come and check out the Michelin Tweel at Darra Tyres. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to view the future.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Michelin Tweel UTV

Michelin Tweel – A Tyre That Just Won’t Deflate

The Future of Tyres and Wheels Is Here for UTV and ATV Drivers

Never heard of Michelin Tweel? Let me enlighten you. Tweel is a word that describes the latest development in tyre technology – a combination of tyre and wheel. It’s been a concept for a decade or more, during which time Michelin has been developing its version. Now, it is here. And it’s pretty darn good, and available for a variety of vehicles.

So, what exactly is the Michelin Tweel, and what vehicles can it be used on today?

The Michelin Tweel – Ten Years in the Making

For 10 years, the boffins at Michelin have been working on a dream concept tyre – the Michelin Tweel. The idea was simple: create a tyre that won’t deflate, build it into a wheel, and make the product flexible so that it provides a softer and more forgiving ride experience. A simple concept, yet hugely complex.

What Michelin was asking its research department to do was to create an all-in-one wheel and tyre that has the potential to revolutionise the driving experience. Imagine never needing to worry about a puncture again. Imagine a wheel that changes shape to the surface it is being driven on, at speed, and then springs back to its original shape when stationary. A shapeshifting wheel and tyre. That’s the Michelin Tweel.

Greater Grip Off-Road

If you drive a utility vehicle (UTV), you can fit it with Michelin Tweels now. You won’t need a system to maintain air pressure, because there is no air inside the Tweel.

Because the wheel deforms and reforms to the terrain you are driving on, you benefit from extra grip. A lot of extra grip. However, this doesn’t mean you can put your foot flat on the accelerator. The 26-inch radial Tweels have a maximum speed rating of 37 miles per hour.

How Does the Tweel Technology Work?

The Tweel is manufactured using poly-resin spokes that run the full width of the Tweel. These provide the give that allows flexibility to deform, while maintaining lateral stiffness. The result is a wheel that corners fantastically well and provides stability on hillsides – as well as the off-road grip I mentioned above. Here’s what you get from a Michelin Tweel, which, quite frankly, looks more like a jet turbine from the side than it does a wheel:

  • Deep, open, aggressive tread that helps to clear mud while proving excellent traction and stability
  • Four-bolt hub that fits many UTVs
  • High-strength poly-resin spokes that dampen the ride and absorb impacts

For those who are tech minded, here’s a little of what Michelin has done:

  • A proprietary Comp10 Cable forms a semi-rigid ‘shear beam’ – this allows the load to hang from the top
  • Zero-degree belts provide the lateral stiffness, also helping to absorb impact
  • The bolt hubs are made of heavy gauge steel

The result is a product that performs like a pneumatic tyre, but which improves mobility on the toughest of terrains. You’ll find that your UTV or ATV provides a more comfortable, responsive ride when it is fitted with Michelin Tweels and driven on a hostile surface.

Michelin Tweel Saves Space

The Michelin Tweel has other benefits, too. For example:

  • You won’t interrupt your journey having to fix a flat
  • No spare tyres are needed, and you can leave a whole bunch of tools behind
  • You’ll be able to explore previously undriveable routes
  • You won’t get so tired while driving, because of the smoother ride

Where Can You Buy a Michelin Tweel?

The future of tyres is Tweel, and, if you are an ATV or UTV driver, the future is now. Michelin Tweels are available for a range of vehicles, including several agricultural applications. Come and see the future of tyre and wheel technology at Darra Tyres. We are sure you’ll be sold on them.

Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to view the future.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

TYre Pressure

Pump up the Pressure – and Explode Your Tyres?

Is it a tyre myth that overinflation can burst tyres?

It’s easy to think of tyres like balloons; we’ve all burst one of those because we overinflated it. But will overinflation cause your tyre to burst? It’s one of the most common tyre myths. It’s time we explored it.

What is the correct tyre pressure?

The right tyre pressure for your tyres depends upon your vehicle. You’ll find the recommended tyre pressure on the tyre placard on the door jamb or in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. It’s not the tyre pressure on the sidewall – that is the maximum tyre pressure at maximum load.

Will overinflation increase the risk of a blowout?

If you overinflate your tyres and drive at speed, and hit a pothole or other debris, there is a risk that you could suffer a blowout. But that risk is very slim. If it does happen, it’s more likely to be because of an existing fault in the tyre.

The pressure at which a tyre burst is around 200 PSI. This is around 165 PSI higher than the average recommended tyre inflation pressure. You really would have to pump some air into a tyre to get its pressure up there.

So, is it safe to overinflate a tyre?

It’s certainly safer than underinflating a tyre, but you still wouldn’t want to overinflate your tyres.

When a tyre is overinflated, the tyre’s walls push out. The tyre becomes stiffer than it should be. This affects performance. Traction is likely to be reduced, as there is less rubber on the road. This also means that tyre wear will be concentrated along the centre of the tyre, with the likelihood of bald patches caused by hard braking.

You may also suffer increased fuel consumption because the engine must work harder to drive the vehicle forward on reduced traction. You are like to have a bouncier, more unstable and less comfortable ride. Tyre sidewalls act as second shock absorbers, softening the blow to your car’s actual shock absorbers. When you overinflate a tyre, the sidewall’s stiffness transfers directly to the shock suspension.

So, is it better to underinflate a tyre?

No! It’s more dangerous to put too little air in a tyre than too much. Underinflation puts stress on a tyre’s shoulders and sidewalls. The stress on the tyre’s steel belts can be enormous. With the temperature reaching as high as 200 degrees in this spot, the chances of tyre failure are massively increased.

When you underinflate tyres, you are likely to increase fuel consumption and increase wear and tear. You will need to renew your tyres sooner. But the big danger is the increased risk of catastrophic failure.

What the experts say

Unless you have a death wish or your tyres are defective, you won’t overinflate your tyres to bursting point. They are more robust than party balloons. However, overinflated tyres may be more at risk of bursting if you hit potholes, kerbs, or other debris at speed. Still, underinflated tyres are more dangerous.

Bridgestone says:

Your tyres will not explode simply by overinflating them. (However) overinflation will cause unnecessarily excessive wear on the tyre and reduce the amount of contact with the road. It will also cause drivers to assume that their vehicles are more responsive due to the reduced contact resistance between tyre and road.

Having said all this, you should ensure that you don’t inflate your tyres to more than the tyre manufacturer’s recommended maximum (as displayed on the tyre sidewall). Further, you should always inflate to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure, found on the door jamb and/or vehicle owner’s manual.

Not sure what tyre pressure is right for your vehicle? 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

Don’t Put Your Tyres Under Pressure – Inflate Them Correctly

Don’t Put Your Tyres Under Pressure – Inflate Them Correctly

The need for proper inflation isn’t simply hot air

We’ve all done it – gone to inflate our tyres and forgotten what the tyre pressure should be. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a motorist searching for the recommended tyre pressure on the tyre wall. Because they believe, like so many others do, that ‘the correct tyre pressure is numbered on the tyre’.

What is tyre pressure?

Tyre pressure is a measurement of how much air there is in a tyre. It is usually measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), though can also be measured in Bars.

Why must your tyres be inflated to the correct pressure?

If you don’t inflate your tyres properly, your comfort and safety will suffer. So, too, will your tyre wear and tear.

Underinflate your tyres and there will be more rubber against the road. Your tyres will wear faster across the tread. Tyre walls may crack easier. Especially in the summer, your tyre will heat up faster. More tread against the tarmac means more friction. This means you will use more fuel.

Should you overinflate your tyres, less of the tyre will be in contact with the road. This leads to more wear along the centre of the tyre as well as a bouncier driving experience. You may find your tyre suffers bald patches. Also, your braking distance will be longer.

Both overinflated and underinflated tyres are more prone to tyre blowouts. And you know how dangerous that can be – especially at speed.

What pressure should you inflate your tyres to?

The tyre pressure embossed on the sidewall of a tyre is not a recommended pressure. It is the absolute maximum pressure at which the tyre will operate effectively with a maximum load. When buying tyres for your vehicle, you should compare this number with your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure. You will find your vehicle’s tyre pressure guide in one or both of the following places:

  • On the door jamb
  • In the owner’s manual

If the maximum tyre pressure on the sidewall of a tyre is below your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure, you should buy a different tyre.

Checking your tyre pressure

You should check your tyre pressure regularly; at least every month, and if there is a sudden change in temperature. The easiest way to do so is at a nearby tyre station. Remember that tyre pressures should always be checked when the tyre is cold. Follow these five steps to check and inflate your tyres correctly:

  1. If you have driven more than a couple of kilometres, sit with a coffee for 10 minutes before checking your tyre pressure
  2. Set the air compressor to the lowest number on your tyre pressure guide (this is the recommended pressure for cold tyres)
  3. Remove the valve cap from your tyre’s valve stem, then connect the pressure gauge (no hissing)
  4. Inflate to the set pressure and replace the valve cap
  5. Repeat for all tyres

What the experts say

It is essential that you inflate your tyres correctly. You will reduce wear and your tyres will last longer, reducing your tyre costs over the longer term. You’ll find you consume less fuel. Your drive will be more comfortable, and your handling will be surer with better braking. Taking five minutes at least once a month to check that your tyres are inflated correctly will save you money, and could save your life. Bridgestone says:

Tyres must be inflated according to the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendations. Consult your vehicle manual or tyre pressure information sticker.

Even here in Brisbane, when the temperature falls your tyre pressure will fall. If we’ve had a belter of summer followed by a sudden drop in temperature, your tyre pressures could be off by 5% to 10% of the recommended PSI.

Whether summer or winter, make sure you check tyre pressures regularly as part of your vehicle inspection routine.

Do your tyres keep losing pressure? 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

front wheel drive

Get ahead with tyre changes – front-wheel drive rules

Rules on tyre change so you don’t compromise your on-road safety

Most cars are now front-wheel drive. This means that most of the work is performed ahead of you, across your front axle. On a front-wheel-drive vehicle, your front tyres usually suffer more tread wear than your rear tyres. This gives birth to the myth that ‘you only need to change the front tyres’.

What is a front-wheel-drive?

On a front-wheel-drive vehicle, all the hard work is done at the front. Traction. Steering. Cornering. Most of the braking. The bulk of the weight of the car is at the front, too. This is where the engine is. All this stress is placed on your vehicle’s front tyres. Thus, they wear faster than the rear tyres.

Why do people think you only need to change the front tyres on a front-wheel drive?

If it is your front tyres that are worn most, it’s an unnecessary expense to replace all four tyres. It’s the tread on the front tyres that is near the legal limit. Why waste two perfectly good tyres on the rear axle? Plus, the tyres at the front will wear the fastest. It makes sense to replace the front tyres, doesn’t it?

Why it isn’t safe to change the front tyres only

When you consider how a vehicle handles, there are usually three states when you corner. These are neutral steer, oversteer, and understeer. When you understand what causes these three steering states, you’ll understand why changing only the front tyres is a big mistake.

·      Neutral steer

When this happens, the front of your vehicle follows the path you are steering. You stay on the exact line you intend.

·      Oversteer

When you corner with oversteer, your vehicle follows a tighter line than you intend. This is caused by a lack of grip on the rear axle.

·      Understeer

The front slides a little wider than you intend.

Now, consider the vehicle you are driving. It is front-loaded, not just because it is front-wheel drive. All that weight and most of the moving parts, such as your transmission, are at the front of the vehicle. This makes it difficult to manufacture a neutral steer vehicle.

When you oversteer, you must reduce your steering angle. This is opposite of what your natural reaction will be. Naturally, you will either:

  • Brake hard, which transfers load away from the rear axle and reduces grip at the rear; or
  • Take your foot off the accelerator, which transfers weight to the front axle and reduces grip at the rear

It is much harder to control an oversteering vehicle than an understeering vehicle. So, manufacturers design vehicles to deliberately understeer.

As you can see, though most of the work is done at the front of a front-wheel drive vehicle, it’s better to have the grip at the back than the front.

What the experts say

A good driving style and good tyre maintenance regime will help to keep your tyres in good condition. As part of your tyre maintenance, you should rotate your tyres every 10,000 kilometres. This will ensure that your tyres wear evenly across both axles.

It is always best to change all four tyres at the same time. However, the rear tyres may not need replacing. If this is the case, you may not wish to replace all four tyres (it’s more expensive and wasteful, who would?). In this case, you should move your existing rear tyres to the front axle and put the new tyres on the rear axle. As Bridgestone says:

You should change all four tyres at the same time to maintain even tread wear. It is also recommended to rotate your tyres every 10,000km to ensure they wear out evenly.

Most motorists don’t rotate tyres. Most also put new tyres on the front axle when their front tyres need replacing. That’s a mistake. Don’t make it. Have the tyre shop switch your rear tyres to the front, and set the new tyres on the rear axle.

Are your tyres near their sell-by date? 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

Wheel Alignment

Let’s Get This Straight: Myths about Aligning Your Car Tyres

Your current wheel alignment regime may be dangerous and costly

When it comes to getting the longest life out of your tyres and making sure your vehicle is safe, wheel alignment is not something to be ignored. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there on when your wheels need to be aligned. The most common myth is that ‘you only need to align your wheels when you change your tyres’.

What is wheel alignment?

A wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angle of the wheels on your vehicle to ensure your wheels are straight. This reduces tyre wear and makes your vehicle safer.

Why do you need to align your wheels?

Wheel alignments should be a standard part of your vehicle maintenance. Even if your vehicle is tracking as straight as an arrow, it’s a good idea to get your alignments checked regularly. While tyres often only need to be replaced after every 50,000 kilometres or more, wheels should be realigned more often to reduce uneven tread wear and improve the life of your tyres.

If you are experiencing any of the following problems, you should get your vehicle wheel alignment checked immediately:

  • Uneven wear on your tyres
  • Steering is pulling to either the right or the left
  • Your steering wheel is not aligned to the centre when driving straight
  • Steering wheel vibration

If you have your wheels aligned only when you change your tyres, it will cost you. Your tyres will not last as long and your vehicle will be more dangerous to drive.

Sometimes it is difficult to notice small inconsistencies in your vehicles tracking. Your vehicle may pull; to one side only slightly. However, if this goes unnoticed it will get progressively worse and cause uneven tread wear on your tyres. By having a regular wheel alignment, you ensure that your vehicle always drives straight. The tyre technician will solve problems before they become serious.

What causes wheels to become misaligned?

There are many things that could knock your wheels out of alignment. Here are the three most common:

·      Road hazards

Unfortunately, road maintenance is an issue in Queensland. The chances are you are going to hit a pothole (or seven). Driving through potholes, hitting other road hazards, or bumping the curb can all cause poor wheel alignment.

·      Tyre wear and tear

Tyres are not indestructible. If taken care of properly your tyres can last a long time, but some wear and tear is inevitable. Over time, tyre rubber will crack and lose elasticity. The alignment of your wheels will start to come off centre.

·      Minor accidents

Almost one in five Australian motorists have been involved in a road accident of some kind in the past five years. Many are minor accidents, with little or no notable damage. The motorist believes there is mothing wrong. However, no matter how minor an accident it is still possible to knock your vehicle’s wheel alignment off. If you are involved in an accident, no matter how trivial, you should always have it checked over.

What the experts say

Most tyre and vehicle manufacturers recommend similar maintenance for your wheel alignments. Bridgestone’s advice is typical of that from tyre manufacturers:

 “You should perform a wheel alignment at least once a year, every time you rotate your tyres, or at every 10,000 km interval.

Compare this to when most motorists get their wheel alignment checked: only when they change their tyres. That’s around once every 50,000 kilometres – or five times as long as recommended.

If your doctor gave you a prescription for medication to be taken every day, would you do your own thing and take it only once every five days? I didn’t think so. Get your wheel alignment checked every 10,000 kilometres.

Is your steering pulling, or your steering wheel vibrating? 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

part worn tyres

Part-worn tyres – a dangerous, false economy

Should you buy used tyres?

I recently read a report from the UK, warning that almost half of part-worn tyres sold are illegal. They are either damaged or don’t have enough tread on them, or both. Some part-worn tyres are nearly 30 years old! Driving on defective tyres is a big problem. It causes injuries and deaths. 719 injuries and 17 deaths in the UK in 2017 were caused by illegal, defective or underinflated tyres.

Part-worn tyres in Australia

The sale of new tyres in Australia is highly regulated. They must conform to ADR23 guidelines. New tyres have between 6mm and 8mm of tread, though the legal limit is 1.5mm. ADR23 doesn’t discuss second-hand tyres.

Why would you buy part-worn tyres?

There is only one reason to be tempted by part-worn tyres: to save money. To save a few dollars, there is a cost. That cost is risk. The risk you take by not knowing the history of the tyre. You must consider the age of the tyre – tyres don’t age well like fine wines. They degrade and weaken.

Are part-worn tyres dangerous?

The clue is in the name. Part-worn tyres are older. They have been used. Older tyres suffer from degraded rubber. Used tyres suffer from wear and tear and damage. Part-worn tyres are part-safe tyres. When you think about the job that tyres do for you – in terms of comfort, handling and safety – buying used tyres should worry you.

New tyres come with deep treads. Premium tyres provide premium grip. Part-worn tyres are often sold with 3mm of tread or less. That’s above the legal minimum, but dangerously close to being dangerous. That’s why we recommend you replace tyres if the tread is 3mm.

In the UK, part-worn tyres should have undergone testing before they are sold. Tests include internal integrity and inflation testing. They should also have at least 2mm of tread remaining. Despite these regulations, many part-worn tyres in the UK are sold in an illegal condition.

Here in Australia, we don’t have such strict rules on part-worn tyres. You’re on your own. Buyer beware. If you do buy part-worn tyres and they don’t have enough tread, you could be fined more than $100. Per tyre. And a demerit point per tyre.

When tyres are damaged, they become less safe

If you damage your tyres, each nick or scuff makes them a little less safe. Part-worn tyres have little tears, nick, scuffs and bulges. The accumulation of these could make them dangerous – even if they have enough tread. You may also find small pieces of metal or glass embedded in the tyre. This increases the chances of a tyre blowout.

Do you really save money when you buy used tyres?

You may save a few dollars when you buy part-worn tyres, at least on the initial purchase. But they won’t last like new tyres. You will need to replace them sooner. Much sooner. It’s likely that you’ll end up spending more in the long run. When you add in the poorer safety, buying part-worn tyres makes no sense.

In summary, there is no comparison between new, premium tyres and old, part-worn tyres. If you are concerned about comfort, handling and safety, then avoid part-worn tyres and buy the best-quality new tyres your budget will allow.

For advice on what the best tyres are for your vehicle, driving style and budget, call into our Darra Tyres shop. 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

Stopping distance

Rubber on the road and stopping distances

The part that your tyres play in braking

Stopping is the most important ability to have when driving. If you can’t stop in time, the consequences don’t bear thinking about. That’s why you should keep your distance when driving – so that, if the vehicle in front stops suddenly, you don’t slam into its rear end. So that your vehicle doesn’t get mangled. So that you don’t get mangled.

What is your stopping distance?

Stopping distance includes two elements.

First is the thinking/reaction time. The time it takes for you to see the brake lights on the vehicle ahead. For you to recognise this as a sign of potential danger, and for your brain to send a signal to your feet and hit the brake pedal. Mostly affecting your reaction time is your focus. If you’re tired, talking, or thinking about other things, your reaction time is likely to be slower.

Second is the braking distance – how far it takes to come to a stop once you have hit the brake pedal. There are plenty of factors in this second part of the equation. Road conditions, weather conditions, brake pads, shocks… all have an affect on braking distance. But, above all of these is your tyres.

How your tyres affect your stopping distance

If you are driving on tyres at the wrong tyre pressure or on worn tyres, your braking distance is going to be affected. Probably a lot more than you think. This is going to put you at risk, as well as your passengers and other road users. The child who runs into the road ahead of you doesn’t stand a chance.

Tyre wear and tear and poor tyre pressure affect how your tyres grip the road. If the road is wet, your braking distance is doubled. If you run on low tread, the effect is equally dangerous.

At only 50mph a car with tyres with the bare legal minimum of tread will take 14 metres’ further braking distance than a car with tyres that have 8mm of tread depth. That’s more than three car lengths of stopping distance. I wonder what that young child’s future could have been?

Whether underinflated or overinflated, if your tyre pressure is wrong it will make it more difficult to control and stop your vehicle. Overinflated tyres have less rubber in contact with the road. This means less grip. Less grip means it takes longer to stop. When a tyre is underinflated, it is harder for it to grip the tarmac.

Poorly inflated tyres also lead to uneven wear and tear. This makes handling more difficult and leads to shorter periods between replacing tyres. So, poor tyre pressure not only makes driving more dangerous, but it costs you more money, too.

Better tyres equal shorter stopping distances equal safer driving

Whatever road you are driving on, whatever the weather conditions, and whatever your reaction time, the better your tyres are the shorter the braking distance will be. And that means safer driving. Fewer accidents. Fewer deaths on the roads in Queensland.

Whether you are driving around the streets of Brisbane, on rural roads, or on the highways, your tyres are critical to stopping distance. They are crucial to avoid hitting children who step into the road without warning. Essential to avoid slamming into the sudden line of traffic ahead of you.

Do premium tyres help reduce braking distance?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why savvy drivers buy premium tyres in Brisbane. Among the reasons was that they last longer, give a better driving experience, and reduce your fuel consumption. Premium tyres also reduce braking distances. Not only do they benefit from millions of dollars in research and development spending, they are also manufactured with higher-grade materials.

What tyres should you buy to reduce stopping distance?

I started this post by saying that there are two elements that affect stopping distance. The crucial factors, of course, are your reaction time, your brakes, and your tyres. The more alert you are, the shorter your reaction time. The better the condition of your brakes, the shorter your braking distance. And, of course, the better quality your tyres, the shorter your stopping distance.

For advice on what the best tyres are for your vehicle, driving style, and budget, call into our Darra Tyre shop. 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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