Five things all drivers should know about their tyres

Key tyre knowledge to save your pocket and your life

Your tyres are all that stands between you and the road. You may believe it is your driving skill that is the reason you avoided that fool in the road a couple of weeks ago, but don’t ignore the important part your tyres played in the success of your emergency manoeuvre.

Tyres are integral to your comfort and safety on the road. They are the main component in smooth cornering, an imperative element in braking, and they handle the entire weight of your vehicle, passengers and load. That’s why good drivers learn to ‘feel’ their tyres. They listen to them. They check their tyres regularly.

Here are five things that you should know about your tyres.

1.    Tread depth matters

The minimum tread depth in Queensland is 1.5mm, but experts recommend replacing tyres if the tread depth is less than 3mm. This is because tread depth saves lives. In wet weather, the distance travelled when braking with a tread depth of 1.5mm can be as much as nearly 50% more than with a tread depth of 3mm. That could be the difference between life and death – and the extra braking distance can be equally dangerous on dry roads.

2.    Incorrect tyre pressure is a cost and a killer

Poorly inflated tyres cause uneven wear, meaning your tyres will need replacing more often. That’s a cost that is easily avoided by checking your tyre pressures regularly. But this may not be the biggest cost of driving on poorly inflated tyres. When underinflated tyres get hot, they are more prone to blowouts – and at high speed, this could be a killer.

At best, poorly inflated tyres will use more fuel, wear quicker, and cost you more money. At worst, they could cost you your life.

3.    Tyre pressures should be checked cold

You’ll find the correct pressure for your tyres on the inside of the door jamb and/or in your vehicle owner’s manual. These tyres pressures are based on cold tyres, so, if you check your tyre pressures when warm, the check becomes almost useless.

Even a short drive will increase the heat in your tyres and raise the tyre pressure. Accurate readings can only be taken before you drive anywhere, and best after a couple of hours of standing idle.

4.    Uneven wear provides important clues

Uneven wear on your tyres provides big clues to underlying problems. It could be that your tyres are not properly balanced, or that your wheels are out of alignment. Poor tyre pressure creates different wear patterns, and poor suspension also causes uneven wear.

If you notice uneven wear on your tyres, it is best to take your vehicle to a tyre shop to get your tyres, wheels and suspension checked.

5.    Understand the feel, sight and sound of tyres

When driving, take note of the sound and feel your tyres give you. A little road noise is to be expected, but if you hear something out of the ordinary, it could be a sign that a tyre is punctured or has been damaged.

The same is true of vibrations while driving. It may be that you are on a really rough road, but if the vibrations continue on smooth tarmac then you may have a problem with the tyre – though it could also be caused by the wheel or faulty suspension.

The best thing to do if you notice any of the above is to stop and check your tyres. Check for wear, tyre pressure, and cracks in the sidewall, which could be caused by age, debris on the road, or kerbing. A crack or blister could be a sign that you are about to have a blowout. Change the tyre for the spare, and get to the nearest tyre shop as soon as possible.

Finally, check your tyres regularly. At least once a month. Better still, once a week. Best of all, before every journey you make.

For the best tyre service in Brisbane and a commitment to your safety within your budget, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.