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Category Archives for "How to Tyres"

Tyre Repairs

Are Tyre Repairs Safe?

Which Repair Is Best When You Have a Flat Tyre?

It is most likely that a punctured tyre must be replaced. However, it may be possible to repair the tyre. If your tyre can be repaired, there are three common types of tyre repair that might be used.

Tyre Repair #1: Plugging

A plug is the simplest of tyre repairs and the fastest. When a technician makes this type of tyre repair, they create a plug with a small piece of leather, coat it in rubber adhesive, and plug the puncture with it.

As you drive on the repaired tyre, the heat created vulcanises the rubber adhesive and it hardens to seal the puncture. It is possible to make this type of repair without removing the tyre.

There is a downside, though. The plug must fit exactly, so a strangely shaped hole will be difficult to plug. The plug may work itself loose and the repair becomes ineffective.

Tyre Repair #2: Patching

Patching is an internal repair technique.

A square of rubber is backed with rubber adhesive and glued to the puncture on the inside of the tyre. The adhesive vulcanises as the tyre heats up during driving, and this hardens the repair. Because the tyre must be removed, this repair takes longer and is more expensive than plugging. However, it is also more stable.

Tyre Repair #3: A Plug/Patch Combination

A plug/patch combination is the strongest of the three types of tyre repair. It is sometimes called a mushroom repair and seals the puncture from inside to the outside.

A ‘tail’ is added to the rubber patch and threaded through the puncture hole to act as the plug. The tyre must be removed to make the repair, and while this type of repair is the most effective it is also the most complex. It takes longer than either of the other two types of repair and is the most expensive.

How Is a Combination Plug/Patch Tyre Repair Made?

Making a combination plug/patch tyre repair is a complicated process. It’s not like making a repair on a bicycle tyre! There are many steps involved:

  1. Remove the tyre and inspect

The tyre must be inspected thoroughly to make sure that it can be repaired.

  1. Mark up the damage

The damage is located and marked, and foreign objects are removed.

  1. Drill from the inside

The puncture hole is drilled from the inside to make it uniform.

  1. Drill from the outside

The puncture is drilled from the outside until no resistance is felt.

  1. Clean the area of damage

The area of damage is thoroughly cleaned to around 1cm to 2cm larger than the size of the repair patch using pre-buff cleaners and a repair scraper.

  1. Mark and clean internally

The repair patch is held on the inside of the tyre where it will be fixed, and the tyre is marked up around the patch. The area marked is buffed to around ½cm larger than the repair patch using a domed buffing rasp. It is essential that the area is flat.

  1. All dust is removed

All dust is removed, and the repair area is cleared of wire and fluffed cords.

  1. Vulcanising accelerator is added

A vulcanising accelerator is added to the puncture channel and the buffed patch area.

  1. Plug the puncture

The patch’s tail is threaded through the puncture hole.

  1. Pull the tail through

The tail is pulled from outside the tyre so that the patch sits tight and flush internally.

  1. Flatten the patch

The patch is rolled from its centre to its edges using a corrugated tyre stitcher. This removes air bubbles and ensures complete contact with the buffed interior of the tyre.

  1. Seal internally

The repair patch and plug base are sealed with an inner liner sealant.

  1. Remount

The tyre is remounted onto the wheel and inflated to its correct pressure.

  1. Finish off

To finish the repair, the plug is cut flush with the tread of the tyre.

Should You Repair a Tyre?

As you can see, there are three ways in which a tyre might be repaired. If you have a flat tyre, you must take it to a tyre shop to be inspected. The tyre specialist will tell you whether it can be repaired after first assessing the damage to the tyre. If a repair is made, you should remember that a repaired tyre is never as strong as a new or undamaged tyre.

If you are in Brisbane and have a flat tyre or a tyre that keeps losing tyre pressure, contact Darra Tyres today. Don’t be sorry, be safe.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Checking Tyres

Is Now the Time to Check Your Tyres?

What Is at Stake if Your Tyres Remain Unchecked?

A tyre check is easy to do. It takes no more than five minutes and ensures that your tyres are running at the right tyre pressure, that your tyre tread depth is legal, and that there is no damage that could make it unsafe to drive. Yet a tyre check is the most neglected of all vehicle maintenance routines.

Neglect to Check Your Tyres and You Ignore Your Safety

New tyres have around 8mm or more of tread depth. While the legal limit is a minimum of 1.5mm tread depth, we recommend that you don’t go below 3mm.

If you let your tread depth reduce to 1.5mm, braking distance can be as much as 50% more in wet weather than it would be with a tread depth of 3mm. That could be the difference between life and death – of you, your passengers, other road users and pedestrians.

It’s not only tread depth that compromises safety on the roads when you are driving. Bulges grazes, cuts and embedded items all affect the quality of a tyre. A damaged tyre is more likely to leak air, and it is more likely to suffer a tyre blowout – at high speed, a tyre blowout could be fatal.

Do you know what condition the tyres you are driving on are in? When was the last time you checked your tyre pressure? When did you last check your tyres for bulges on the inside and outside sidewalls?

Now Is the Time to Check Your Tyres

The condition of your tyres could change after only a few miles of driving. Embedded glass could put you in danger on your next trip. Yet most drivers never check their tyres, until they feel that their ride is a little bumpier than it used to be, or that the handling is not as sharp as it once was.

By this time, it may be too late. The chances are you’ll still put off that simple, five-minute check because you have ‘more urgent things to do’.

After a while, you become used to the longer braking distances and the worsening handling round corners. Until that one time your mind is elsewhere, and you drive the car like you used to when your tyres were in good condition. Like you should always be able to.

Then you lose your grip on a bend. You drive a little too fast, and brake a little too late. The only question to answer now is, will the blood on the road be yours or someone else’s?

If there is a golden rule you should remember it is this: now is always the time to check your tyres.

Let a Professional Check Your Tyres

While a tyre check is simple, the basic five-minute check may still miss technical problems with your tyres. Internal damage or degradation, for example. That’s why you should also consider a regular tyre check made by a professional. Specialists know all the danger signs, and they will recommend action that you can take to help your tyres last longer – such as tyre rotation, for example.

What if You Need New Tyres?

If you check your tyres and find that one or more have shallow tread or damage, don’t risk your life by continuing to drive on it. Replace that damaged tyre immediately.

You might be tempted to buy part-worn tyres to save money. But part-worn tyres are a dangerous, false economy because they are:

  • Older, and may be degraded by age
  • Will have suffered wear and tear, with damage to sidewalls or internally
  • Have shallow and inconsistent tread depths, affecting grip, handling and braking distance

Premium tyres are the best option. They could save you money on fuel, benefit from shorter braking distances, offer a safer, quieter drive, and last longer.

However, not all drivers have deep enough pockets to buy premium tyres. Which is why we also stock good-quality, affordable tyres.

If you have checked your tyres and found they need replacing, do so. Don’t leave it. You are only risking the safety of everyone on the road, and everyone in your vehicle. And when you do replace your tyres, you should always invest in the best tyres in your budget.

Please check your tyres now. If you don’t, you are taking a risk with everyone’s safety when you drive. One death on the road is one death too many. If you are in any doubt about the condition of your tyres and live in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres. We’ll discuss your needs, consider your vehicle and driving style, and make sure you invest in the best tyres in your price range.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

High Performance Tyres

Should I Buy High-Performance Tyres?

Is the Expense Value for Money?

High-performance tyres are made from softer rubber compounds than other tyres. They have been designed to provide extra ride comfort and greater handling capability at higher speeds. They benefit from innovative treads that are designed to increase grip on the road and when cornering.

Are High-Performance Tyres Right for You?

When you need to change tyres, you should buy tyres that match your driving style, your vehicle, and the roads or other surfaces on which you drive. You might be tempted to opt for high-performance tyres – especially if you do a lot of highway driving at speed.

If you watch Formula 1, you will have seen how high-performance tyres give extra grip. The softer compound makes the car stick to the track. The driver gets round the track negotiating bends and corners at high speed. However, during a race lasting a couple of hours or less they may get through two or three sets of tyres.

If you buy high-performance tyres, they will last much longer than those used in Formula 1. You won’t be melting rubber at such high speeds, and the rubber compound used on commercial high-performance tyres is not nearly as soft as that used on Formula 1 tyres.

If you want better handling, more grip and improved braking power, then high-performance tyres might be right for you. Before you make this decision, though, read the rest of this article.

What Vehicle Do You Drive?

As you might expect, if you drive a high-performance car you’ll probably benefit more from high-performance tyres. However, performance tyres are becoming more popular among drivers of other car types because of the advantages they offer – manufacturers are now producing performance tyres for smaller cars.

The Disadvantages of High-Performance Tyres

Before you rush to buy high-performance tyres, it pays to be armed with all the facts. While you will benefit from the improved grip, better handling and shorter breaking distances, there are some disadvantages, too. These include:

  • Performance tyres are more expensive

Like all tyres, the bigger the tyre you need the higher the price you’ll pay. You’ll also pay a premium for how high-performance the tyre is. A small high-performance tyre might cost around $130. A high-performance tyre that you could use on a racetrack might set you back as much as $2,000.

Generally, you should expect to pay around $230 for a high-performance tyre for a 15-inch wheel.

  • You’ll use more fuel

Better handling and greater grip come at a price on top of the tyre’s cost. That price is lower fuel economy. Your vehicle must work harder to combat the traction on the road, and that means using more fuel.

  • Shorter tyre life

The softer rubber compound wears quicker, and this means your high-performance tyres won’t last as long other tyre options. You’ll be paying more for a set of new tyres sooner.

Summing Up

High-performance tyres should help you stay safer on the road. You’ll benefit from better handling and surer braking. However, your initial outlay will be greater and there is a compromise between grip and fuel consumption. You are also likely to need to change your tyres sooner.

Before making your decision, contact Darra Tyres in Brisbane. We’ll discuss your needs, consider your vehicle and driving style, and make sure you invest in the best tyres in your price range.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Heavy Vehicle Tyres

The 14 Reasons Why Your Heavy Vehicle Tyre Is Dangerous

Ensure Your Vehicle Is Safe and Legal on Australia’s Roads

The tyre inspection is one of the most important jobs that a driver, operator or inspector does. If your heavy vehicle’s tyres are below the required standard, you are putting yourself and other road users at risk. How do you know what the tyre standards are for heavy vehicles? Do your drivers know the 14 reasons to reject a tyre?

National Standards for Heavy Vehicle Tyres

Since February 2014, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has been Australia’s independent regulator for all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM). Its job is to ensure that heavy vehicles are safe and efficient on Australia’s road network. The regulations that it oversees include the standards laid out in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM). It is in here that you will find the standards for heavy vehicle tyre checks.

Do Your Inspectors and Drivers Know the Heavy Vehicle Tyre Standards?

The NHVIM has been composed to provide a consistent approach to heavy vehicle standards across Australia. Its aim is to ensure compliance with standards, to improve safety, and to reduce vehicle downtime.

It wasn’t written by people with no experience, either. The regulator consulted with the industry and developed the NHVIM to provide inspectors and operators with standards that actually achieve what they set out to achieve.

For fleet managers, the NHVIM provides the criteria for heavy vehicle inspections. This includes all the reasons a heavy vehicle tyre should be rejected when inspected.

Here are all 14 of these reasons to reject a heavy vehicle tyre, with explanations where needed.

1.    Insufficient Tread

The law states that a tyre must have a minimum of 1.5mm of tread in a continuous band around the whole tyre. This tread depth must extend at least 75% of the width of the tyre.

Most tyres have tread wear indicators built into them, though these aren’t included when assessing a tyre’s tread depth around its circumference.

Good operators will replace heavy vehicle tyres sometime before they reach legal minimum tread depth.

2.    Tyres Don’t Match the Tyre Placard

Most vehicles have a tyre placard fitted to the door jamb. This shows the dimensions and air pressure levels that must be maintained. If there is no tyre placard, these details will be in the owner’s manual. A tyre that does not match these standards should be rejected.

3.    Tyre Damage

Deep cuts, bumps, bulges, exposed cords, chunking, and other signs of carcass failure.

4.    Regrooved Tyres

Only if it is stipulated on the sidewall of the tyre that it can be regrooved is regrooving permitted.

5.    Wider Than Mudguards

If the heavy vehicle tyre’s sidewall projects beyond the width of the mudguard when in the straight-ahead position.

6.    Non-Approved Modifications

If the tyre has been fitted with a non-OEM front wheel (i.e. rim and tyre) that has not been approved as a modification.

7.    Not Constructed for Unrestricted Road Use

8.    Illegal Retreads and Remoulds

Only tyres that are marked with ‘Retread’ or ‘Remould’ are capable of being retreaded or remoulded. The tyre should also be marked with its maximum speed (e.g. Speed Limited to 125 km/h).

9.    Illegal Speed Rating

The speed rating of all tyres must be no less than 100km/h or the vehicle’s top speed, whichever is the smaller. The exception to this is if the manufacturer has specified a lower speed rating.

10. Manufacturer’s Tyre Load Ratings Are Less Than the Vehicle’s Ratings

Any tyre fitted to a vehicle with a GVM of more than 4.5 tonnes is not suitable for road use if the tyre load ratings are less than the minimum ratings specified originally by the vehicle manufacturer.

11. Tyres Are in Contact

If dual tyres are fitted, there must be space between them. If they are touching, they must be removed and replaced.

12. A Tyre That Is in Contact with the Vehicle

If the tyre is in contact with any part of the vehicle – the body, chassis, braking, steering, frame, suspension – at any point of travel must be rejected.

13. A Tyre That Could Damage Roads

If cleats or other gripping devices could damage the road on which the vehicle is travelling.

14. Incompatible Tyres

A tyre that is not compatible to the rim to which it is fitted.

In Summary

When your drivers or maintenance staff check the tyres on heavy vehicles, it is essential that they check for all 14 reasons to reject a tyre. If you asked your drivers to write the list of 14 heavy vehicle tyre rejections now, do you think they could do so?

A simple tyre test will help your fleet’s vehicles to be safe and legal on Australia’s roads. When these tests show up heavy vehicle tyre frailties, contact Darra Tyres in Brisbane for the professional assistance you need.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

New Tyres

Must New Tyres Be ‘Broken In’?

Staying Safe on New Tyres

New tyres will need a running-in period. You should be aware that your vehicle will feel different with a new set of tyres fitted. You may pick the same brand and style of tyres as those you are replacing, but older tyres perform differently to new tyres.

In this article, you’ll learn what the differences are, how long tyres take to break in, and how you can drive safely until your tyres are ready to be driven on ‘normally’.

What You Need to Know About New Tyres

You may have brought a new car or got a fresh set of tyres to replace old tyres on your current vehicle. Before you hit the road and enjoy your upgraded tyres, there are some things you should know. Like a new pair of shoes, a new set of tyres requires some breaking in.

New tyres go through a period of breaking in before they start performing at their best. To ensure you are driving safely, learn what makes new tyres lose traction and change the handling of your vehicle.

What Makes New Tyres Different from Older Tyres?

Several factors that impact a tyre’s performance are different in new tyres than older tyres. These include:

  • Lubricants

During production, tyres are released from their mould using a release lubricant. This lubricant will stay in the grooves of the tyres until it wears off through driving. Until this lubricant is completely gone, your tyres will have less traction – increasing braking distances and reducing handling efficiency.

  • Antioxidants

Your tyres may feel slick at first due to the antioxidants that are applied to the tyre during manufacturing. These help the rubber maintain its structure when exposed to different environments such as fluctuating temperatures and oxygen levels.

  • Tread depth

In Australia, new tyres come with a tyre tread depth of 8mm. If you allow your previous tyres to become worn down to the legal minimum (1.5mm), you will certainly feel the difference in your new tyres. Fresh tyres have stiff and deep tread that makes your car feel like there is a large cushion between you and the road. This sometimes results in something called ‘squirm’. Tyre squirm is when you feel excessive movement in your tyres when turning from the increased flexibility caused by fresh rubber and deep tread depth.

How to Drive with New Tyres

New tyres require a small adjustment in driving style until they are worn in. It is prudent to consider the first 250-300km as the ‘breaking-in’ period. During this time, you should take extra care while driving.

Drive gently, braking and accelerating smoothly. After this breaking-in distance, any substances in the tyres should have worn off. The tread depth will also have worn down a fraction. This ‘roughing up’ of new tyres helps them perform at their optimum level, improving traction and the handling of your vehicle.

Tips for Driving with New Tyres

Here are our four top tips to drive safely on new tyres:

  1. Stick to dry roads
  2. Drive at a reasonable speed
  3. Keep a suitable distance from the vehicle in front of you as your braking distances will be further than normal because of the lower initial traction
  4. Avoid accelerating quickly or braking sharply

Summary

Improve the long-term performance of your new tyres by driving smoothly until they are worn in. For the first 250-300km, avoid harsh braking or accelerating and allow the lubricants used in the manufacturing process to wear off.

Once they have been worn in, the new tyre’s tread will be optimised for safe braking and accelerating, and you can return to your normal driving style.

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

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

Slow Puncture Tyres

How to Spot a Slow Puncture and Avoid an Accident

Don’t Put Your Life at Risk

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

Signs You Have a Slow Puncture

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

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

How to Check If Your Tyre Has a Slow Puncture

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

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

Inspecting Your Tyre’s Air Pressure

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

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

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

What to Do If You Have a Puncture

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Tyre Pressure

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

Modern Sensors Make Driving a Breeze

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

What are Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMSs)?

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

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

How Do TPMSs work?

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

·      Indirect TPMS

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

·      Direct TPMS

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

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

When Do You Need to Change Your Tyres?

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

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

What Do the Experts Have to Say?

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

For example, Bridgestone says:

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

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

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Spare Tyres

Tyre Myths: Everything You Need to Know About Spare Tyres

Spare Tyre Tips to Keep You Safe

A common misconception about spare tyres is that replacing a faulty tyre with a spare is like having a new tyre fitted. You don’t need to worry about replacing it, right? Well, that’s not the case. Driving on a spare tyre for any distance can do damage to your vehicle and is often unsafe.

What Are Spare Tyres For?

Spare tyres are designed as temporary solutions. Getting a flat tyre is always a pain. However, changing your tyre and driving to your destination is only the start of the story.

Your vehicle is probably equipped with a spare tyre to help you reach your destination. It is not meant to be driven on a long term. At the most, once you arrive at your destination you should take your vehicle to a garage to have your damaged tyre fixed or replaced.

How Long Can You Use A Spare Tyre For?

How long you can run your car on your spare tyre depends on what spare tyre your vehicle is equipped with. Older cars often come with a spare tyre that is the same as the tyres the vehicle was fitted within the factory.

However, car manufacturers noticed that spare tyres are only used infrequently. Some are never used. As vehicle owners rarely use their spare tyres, manufacturers decided that providing a full-sized spare is unnecessary. Nowadays, it is more usual to have a smaller spare tyre. This saves space and is lighter. Such spare tyres and spare tyre solutions recommend that you drive no further than approximately 80 kilometres before replacing with a new tyre.

How Fast Can You Drive on a Flat Tyre?

It is not recommended that you drive at an excessive speed when driving with a spare. Most tyre manufacturers will tell you not to exceed 80 kilometres per hour because:

  • Spare tyres have less durability: There is often little tread on a spare, increasing the chance of a second flat if you are going at fast speeds or long distances.
  • The tyre pressure can be incorrect: Spare tyres often sit for years in your car without being inspected. You may forget that it is there altogether until the time comes to use it. Not checking your spare tyre means that it is probably underinflated. The low PSI makes it less safe to drive.

What Can Cause a Flat Tyre?

Flat tyres aren’t that common, but chances are if you drive a vehicle you will experience at least once in your lifetime.

Here are some of the most common causes of flat tyres that you should look out for:

  • Sharp objects: The most common cause of a flat tyre is punctured by a sharp object.
  • Valve stem damage: Your valve stem is the small stem that protrudes from your tyre, which is used to inflate and deflate your tyres. If your valve stem is damaged, air can start to leak from your tyres.
  • Rubbed tyres: Worn treads and damaged sidewalls increases the chance of a blowout.
  • Overinflated tyres: Overinflated tyres create unsafe pressure, uneven wear, and possible blowout.

What Do the Experts Have to Say?

You should only use a spare tyre for an emergency. When needed, stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and never drive at speed or for excessive distances on a spare. Finally, as part of your tyre maintenance routine, don’t neglect your spare – you never know when it will be needed. As Bridgestone says:

Temporary spare tyres are designed to be, as the name suggests, temporary solutions. They do not provide the same amount of performance and durability as regular tyres and should not be treated as permanent replacements. We recommend you check the condition of your temporary spare tyre periodically as it, just like all tyres, will lose its air pressure over time.

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

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