Tag Archives for " tyres "

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

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

Flat Tyres

Where are you most likely to suffer a flat tyre in Brisbane?

Tips to help you deal with a flat tyre or blowout in Queensland

In October 2018, the RACQ released figures showing where you are most likely to get a flat tyre in Queensland. The Gold Coast came out as top, but many of Brisbane’s suburbs fared poorly too. If you live or drive in the following suburbs, you best take extra care to avoid a flat when driving:

  • Eight Mile Plains
  • Brisbane CBD
  • Chermside
  • Coorparoo
  • Greenslopes

What causes a flat tyre?

There are two main causes of flat tyres: underinflation and tyre blowout.

Underinflation

You should never drive on underinflated tyres. There are studies that show that a vehicle with one or more underinflated tyres is three times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. Make it a habit to check your tyres weekly, and keep them inflated to the recommended tyre pressure.

Tyre blowout

A blowout can be as scary as hell. It will take you by surprise, make your vehicle hard to handle, and put your life and others in danger. The major contributors to a tyre blowout are:

  • Driving on underinflated tyres
  • Tyres that are in poor condition
  • Poor road conditions such as potholes and debris on the road
  • Driving at excessive speed on poor roads

What are the dangers of driving on flat tyres?

Driving on flat tyres will decrease your safety on the road. It will make steering more difficult. Braking distances will increase. You are more likely to skid on slippery roads. And, of course, you are more likely to suffer a blowout on a poorly maintained road – and there are plenty of these in Brisbane and Queensland.

If your tyre is flat and you carry on driving, you’ll find that your vehicle pulls to one side. Driving in a straight line is harder to do. You’ll also damage the internal structure of the tyre. You could also damage your vehicle.

Driving on a flat tyre makes it more likely that you will crash, because of the effect it has on handling and braking. Checking and maintaining your tyre pressure is one of the easiest things to do to avoid killing someone on the road.

Let’s hope that you avoid killing a fellow road user because of your flat tyre. It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer. Driving on a flat tyre is likely to damage your vehicle’s components. You may need to pay out to replace or repair brake lines, suspension, wheels and calipers. And this is just the start. Driving on a poorly maintained flat tyre could cost thousands of dollars.

What should you do if you have a flat on the road?

If you suffer a flat tyre or blowout on the road, you should stop as soon as you can:

  • Slow down to 20 or 30 Km/h
  • Look for a safe place to stop
  • Stop

Depending on the damage to the tyre, it may be reparable. A small nail of screw could cause deflation with little damage. A blowout or gash is likely to damage the tyre beyond repair.

On a quiet road, you might change the tyre for the spare yourself. To do so, follow our instructions in our article “How to change a car tyre after a blowout”. However, we echo the recommendation of the RACQ: if you get a flat, pull over in a safe place and call a professional. The busier the road, the more dangerous it is to change a tyre. In fact, if the road is too busy, we’ll move the car to where it is safe to work on.

In summary

Driving on a flat tyre is dangerous and the damage it can cause to your vehicle can be expensive. Improper inflation, wear and tear, a tyre defect or small damage to the tyre will increase the likelihood of you suffering a flat. Driving on underinflated tyres on poor road surfaces – and driving at excessive speed – increases the chances of a blowout.

If you do suffer a flat tyre or a blowout while driving, pull over safely and call the professionals. It’s not worth risking your life to change the tyre yourself at the roadside.

Finally, prevention is always better than cure. The best way to avoid a flat tyre is to monitor your tyres. Check them weekly. Keep them inflated to the correct, recommended pressure.

If you spot any tyre damage (nicks, cuts, grazes, bulges, nails or screws in the tread, etc.), seek the help of a professional. Here in West Brisbane, bring your vehicle to our tyre shop. We also have a truck and commercial mobile service.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

top-tyre-buying-tips-for-drivers-in-Brisbane

Top tyre buying tips for drivers in Brisbane

Four steps to the best tyres for you and your vehicle

So, you need new tyres, do you? It had to happen sometime. It may be that the noise your tyres are making is telling you to replace them, or you’ve spotted those bald patches and bulges developing. Whatever the reason, now comes the hard bit. What tyres should you buy? There appears to be an endless array of tyres on the market. Different types of rubber compound. Different treads. Low profile. Then there is the size to consider. And what about load ratings?

In this article, you’ll learn how to make the best choice of new tyres for you and your car. These simple tips will ensure that the tyres you buy give you a comfortable drive, reduce fuel consumption, and, most importantly, keep you as safe as possible.

Tip #1: Know what your tyres are needed for

One of the most important things to tell a tyre dealer when you are buying new tyres is what type of driving they are needed for. These are the types of question you should answer:

  • Do you drive at high speed?
  • Are the roads you drive on mostly highways and motorways?
  • Are most of your driving done on urban streets?
  • Do you drive in wet conditions?
  • Do you want a tyre that reduces road noise and operates well on wet and dry roads?

Tip #2: Match the tyre size to your car and driving style

The best way to size a tyre is to follow two rules:

  • Buy the size recommended by your car’s manufacturer
  • Buy the size that is best for your driving habits and requirements

Most commonly, a car manufacturer will recommend several sizes. Among these, you will find the best fit to both the above rules. Your tyre dealer will help you with this.

Tip 3: Gen up on your tyre knowledge

Before you go to the dealer, it’s worth spending a little time researching. Read trade magazines or surf the internet to find reviews, expert tyre tests, and ‘real people’ comments. When reading reviews and tests, remember that they should relate to your needs and driving habits. So, drill down to the details that are most relevant, rather than basing your own conclusions on the overall rating of a tyre.

Also, don’t forget that most tyre reviews in magazines will have been conducted over a few hours or days. A customer review made after months of use may be better. Tyre manufacturers’ own tests are also made over a long period of time, so although you might consider them biased, they could be more accurate than magazine reviews.

A half hour of research will help you make a more informed decision. It will help you acquire enough knowledge to understand what the dealer is talking about when they discuss your needs.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask questions

The tyre dealer may choose a tyre for you or offer a choice of different brands. Before selecting, ask for an explanation of the pros and cons of each. If the dealer gets too technical (it’s something that we do when we get carried away – we do love our tyres!), don’t be afraid to tell the dealer to slow down and explain what they mean. Especially, ask about the benefits that each feature of a tyre gives you, in your car, on the roads you use, and in the way that you drive.

In a few words – if in doubt, shout!

Always buy the best tyres for your vehicle

If you follow these four tyre tips, you will always buy the best tyres for you. They will suit your driving habits, your vehicle, and the roads on which you drive. This means you will benefit from longer tyre life, lower fuel consumption, and a more comfortable and safer drive.

To get a great tyre deal in Brisbane, from friendly and expert technicians, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you safe on the roads,

Kevin Wood

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