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Category Archives for "Car tyres"

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

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

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

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

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

buying fake tyres

How to avoid the life-threatening mistake of buying fake tyres

Tips on how to spot a fake tyre and only buy genuine

If you make the mistake of buying fake tyres, you will be putting lives at risk: yours, your passengers, and other road users. Counterfeit wheels buckle and break more easily – recent tests have shown that they can disintegrate at just 50kmh when a pothole is driven over.

Fake tyres are equally as dangerous. Think about it: when you buy a fake tyre, you are buying an unauthorised version of an original. It may have been made with stolen or copied moulds or substandard rubber compounds, and will not have undergone the rigorous safety testing that genuine manufacturers make.

A fake tyre is a little like a fake Versace handbag – it looks great for all of five minutes, then will fall apart at the seams when put under any stress. Fake tyres cost more in the long run, will increase your fuel consumption, and will give you a less than satisfactory and more dangerous driving experience.

Here are 7 ways to spot a fake tyre.

1.     Misspellings on the tyre and/or packaging

This is a big giveaway that the tyre is a fake. If it is Firelli instead of Pirelli, or Bidgestone instead of Bridgestone, it’s a fake. You might get away with a pair of ‘Rayburns’ as sunglasses, but fitting ‘Mishelin’ tyres on your truck is a whole different ball game. Watch for misspelled names and fake logos.

2.     No marking on the tyre sidewall

The markings on the tyre’s sidewall details all the information you need to know about a tyre – its size, pressures, date of manufacture, etc. Even if you don’t look at these marks, if they aren’t there you shouldn’t buy the tyre.

3.     The tyre is sold without paperwork or packaging

If you buy tyres from a reputable dealer, you’ll get paperwork with them – a warranty, for example. If there is no paperwork available, this is another warning sign that the tyres you are buying could be fakes.

4.     The colour is ‘off’

Tyres are black (mostly). If the tyre you are buying is any colour other than black, then you need to tread with caution.

5.     The tyres don’t stand up to the ‘kick test’

Ever heard the saying, ‘kick the tyres’ when buying a used car? There’s a reason for this. They shouldn’t damage from a few light taps with the toe of your boot. If they do, just imagine what damage accidently kerbing your vehicle will do to the tyre on the road. Flimsy tyres are made with substandard rubber compounds. Don’t go there.

6.     They are available in a strange location

Shady deals are done in the shadows. The same is true of fake tyres. A bona fide dealer, selling good products, won’t need to meet you in a car park to exchange a set of tyres for a pocketful of cash.

7.     The seller won’t tell you they are genuine

Finally, if the seller avoids giving a straight answer when you ask if the tyres they are selling are the genuine item, it’s a big red flag that you are about to be conned into buying counterfeit tyres.

How to avoid buying fake tyres

So, now you know how to spot fake tyres, let’s run through a few rules to make sure you never get caught out:

  • Always examine the tyre – for misspellings, missing information, colour, and with the kick test
  • Check the tread depth, and compare to the brand’s details on its website
  • Compare tread pattern with the tyre’s tread pattern on the brand’s website

Finally, only ever buy tyres from a recognised and reputable dealer. This rule holds true for online purchases, too (read our article “Avoid these mistakes when buying tyres online” for more tips).

Here at Darra Tyres, we’ve been in the tyre business for more than 40 years. We supply tyres from the best brands, at all budget levels, and guarantee our service and tyre quality. For all your tyre needs in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

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

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

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

How to buy tyres for your SUV in Brisbane

Tips to make the best tyre choice for your SUV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you need high-performance tyres?

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

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

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

When should you replace your SUV tyres?

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

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

Where should you buy new tyres?

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

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

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

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