Tyre Centre Tips – Six driving techniques to help your car tyres last longer

Tips from our Brisbane tyre centre

Whatever type of vehicle you drive, your tyres will wear over time – and when they need changing, you can bet it will be at the worst possible moment. Probably just before Christmas, or just after you’ve paid the deposit on next year’s family holiday. Right, when your bank balance can least afford the expense of a new set of car tyres. Quite understandably, you may buy the best value tyres you can find. Here are six tips from our tyre centre experts that will help prolong the life of your tyres and keep you safe on the road.

Tyres wear for a number of reasons. The Queensland climate is one. There’s not a lot you can do about that. The state of our state’s roads is another. The smoother the road, the less erosion it causes on your tyres. Again, there’s very little you can do about the roads in Brisbane and beyond – and if your route takes you through potholed roads, other than travel dozens of miles out of your way, you’re stuck driving on tyre-damaging surfaces.

One of the leading causes of car tyre wear and tear is your driving style. If you drive too fast into corners or brake harshly at the last minute, your tyres are going to wear more quickly and unevenly.

In this article, I’m going to give you six tips on driver habits that will make sure your car tyres last longer and wear more evenly. You’ll save money and benefit from extra safety on the roads.

1.    Adjust your driving style to suit the road

Driving on a smooth, straight highway is a different proposition to driving over potholes and bumpy back-roads. If you need to negotiate gravel roads or roads that are rutted while they’re being resurfaced, the strain is felt most in your tyres.  Slow down a little, and ‘feel’ the road better.

If you hit a pothole at speed, it’s going to harm your tyre (and possibly your suspension and axle, too). So adjust your speed to suit the road, and help your tyres last longer.

2.    Brake in plenty of time

Today’s cars are much better at the braking systems than those manufactured in the sixties and seventies. Braking systems have evolved a long way since the car was first invented. Drums became discs, benefiting from advanced hydraulics. Our cars now benefit from anti-lock braking systems and electronic brakeforce distribution.

While this extra braking safety is to be celebrated, a downside is that we’ve become used to stopping swiftly. Drivers today leave less space between them and the car ahead and slam on the brakes more often. Harsh braking creates rapid and uneven wear on tyres.

Leave a little extra space ahead of you, anticipate what’s going on by watching the car ahead of the car in front of you, and brake evenly and smoothly. If you’re towing, allow for the extra stress the weight puts on your vehicle. Erratic braking erodes tyres.

3.    Find your ideal driver’s position

There’s plenty of research that provides evidence that decreasing speed and wearing seatbelts increases safety. What’s less well discussed is how your comfort when driving also impacts road safety.

If you’ve ever driven in a car where the seat is a little too far forward, or too far from the pedals, too upright, or too laid back, you’ll understand the effects that driver discomfort has on driving style. You’re likely to become distracted as you attempt to get comfortable. Your braking is likely to be more sudden and stuttered. As you fidget in your seat, your steering will suffer. All of this puts extra pressure on your tyres.

Before you set off on a journey, ensure that your seat is in the ideal position for you – especially if you share your car with another driver.

4.    Only turn when you’re moving

We’ve all been in a position when there’s a car parked close in front of us, or we’re in a line of slow-moving traffic and want to move into the next lane. Desperate to make a manoeuvre, we turn the steering wheel before we’ve set the car in motion. This might not be dangerous, but it does put a pile of pressure on a single point on your car tyres.

Doing this may be unavoidable in tight parking spaces, but remember that turning car tyres when stationary is going to increase tyre wear rapidly. ‘Move and turn’ was one of the first things my dad taught me about driving. Now that I work in a tyre shop, I understand why.

5.    Maintain your car and car tyres

Your car tyres have a significant impact on your vehicle’s efficiency and performance. But your car isn’t a piece of equipment with unconnected parts. In the same way that a professional sportsman has to maintain every inch of his body to maintain peak performance, your tyres will benefit from all-around maintenance of your car and engine parts.

Check your water and oil regularly, top your coolant, and get your vehicle serviced when it’s due.

In your car maintenance programme, don’t neglect your tyres:

6.    Warm up before setting off

Before you undertake any exercise, it’s wise to warm up. Doing so will help you avoid an injury that could stop you competing in that half marathon you’ve been training for. And on the big day, you wouldn’t dream of setting off when the starter gun fires without first preparing your body for the rigours ahead.

Think of your car the same way as you do your body before any exercise. Warm your engine and car tyres up by driving gently, breaking softly, and pumping the brake pedal when at a standstill. It’s the muscular warm-up that will keep your car and tyres in top condition and ready for the journey ahead of you.

What kind of a driver are you?

When a person pulls into our tyre shop, I can tell the sort of driver they are by the wear on their tyres. A little like a doctor can tell a lot about a patient’s lifestyle from their appearance and health symptoms, the wear on your tyres tells me a lot about your driving style. Whether you drive fast into corners, brake at the last minute, or drive roads that, for some reason, the Queensland government hasn’t seen fit to use your taxes to maintain.

Just like a person can improve their health and increase life expectancy by making a few small changes to their lifestyle habits, you can increase the longevity of your tyres by making a few small changes to your driving style.

Next time you’re in our Brisbane tyre shop, test the hypothesis: ask me what sort of a driver I think you are, and see if I can tell by just looking at your tyres.

Give us a call on 3333 5510 – we’ll be happy to help.

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.