How do I care for my tyres?

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Air Pressure: what should I know?

General Guidelines

  • Check the pressure of all your tyres monthly, including the spare. Even if you don’t see any damage, tyres can lose up to 1 psi – pounds per square inch – every month. This can be accelerated by air leaks due to accidental puncture, leaks in the valve or valve cap, or by wheel malfunction.
  • Check your tyre pressure before making a long trip.
  • For the best results, check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cool – before driving the car or if it has covered less than 3 KM at low speed.
  • If the tyre is hot, add 4-5 psi to the car manufacturer's recommended pressure value or wait until it has cooled down, which is an average of three hours after parking the car.
  • Never deflate a hot tyre.

How do I check my tyre pressure?

  • Insert the pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tyre.
  • The gauge will “pop” out and show a number that coresponds to the internal pressure in the psi number.
  • The hissing sound is air escaping the tyre. It shouldn’t affect pressure substantially, unless you hold down the air-pressure gauge for too long
  • Compare the measured psi to the recommended psi.
  • If the psi is above the recommended number, let air out until they match. If it's below, add air until it reaches the proper number.

Where can I find the recommended pressure for my tyres?

  • In the vehicle owner's manual.
  • On a sticker on the driver's door or the fuel tank door.
  • Do not use the number on your tyre’s sidewall, as this does not indicate the pressure needed in your tyre.

About pressure gauges

  • Be careful if you are using a pressure gauge provided in a service station. The pressure gauges are often unreliable.
  • Buy a high-quality pressure gauge and check its accuracy with a tyre professional.

Getting it right is important

  • Under-inflated or over-inflated tyres can wear down faster than expected, have reduced grip and can consume more fuel. It just takes a few minutes a month to help ensure your safety and the longevity of your tyres.

Nitrogen: what are the benefits?

What is nitrogen?

Nitrogen is simply dry air with the oxygen removed. Air contains nearly 79% nitrogen.

How is it used?

  • Most tyres are filled with compressed air. But some tyre retailers have started to put nitrogen into their tyres.
  • Nitrogen and compressed air can be mixed.
  • Most tyres can be inflated with air or nitrogen, as long as the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer are respected.

The benefits:

When nitrogen replaces oxygen, less air can escape your tyres, and your inflation pressure stays higher longer.

The downside:

Unfortunately, there are other possible sources of leaks (tyre/rim interface, valve, valve/rim interface and the wheel), which means that there's no guarantee of maintained pressure with either air or nitrogen. The pressure and overall tyre condition must still be checked frequently.

Valve: what should I know?

What is the role of the valve?

  • It ensures that the proper tyre pressure is maintained.
  • It blocks moisture from entering the tyre.
  • The valve cap is particularly important to help block dust particles from obstructing the valve. High-quality caps are recommended.
  • The valve cap also helps to block dust particles from obstructing the valve.

Aging and damages

  • Valves are usually made of rubber and therefore age with time.
  • They can be damaged by high speeds causing air to leak from your tyres.

When should I change the valves?

Whenever you buy new tyres.

How to check if you have enough tread left

General

In order to effectively grip the road, evacuate water and maintain control, your tyres need to have a safe amount of remaining tread. If the grooves in the tyre design have almost disappeared, the tyre will simply not grip the road as well. This is particularly dangerous in wet or wintry conditions.

  • Plus, if you drive with tyres under the legal tread limit, you may be fined.
  • You should check the wear of your tyres regularly. If your tyres are approaching the legal limit or if you have any doubts, get them checked by a tyre professional. Or see below how to check it yourself.

Two methods

1- Check the tread wear with a tread-depth gauge

  • Make sure that the hand brake is on and the car is in first gear (for manual gearboxes) or park (for automatics).
  • Check the depth of the main tread grooves in several places across and around the tyre, using the gauge as instructed by its manufacturer.
  • The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.

2- Check the tread wear indicators

  • Tyres have tread-wear indicators moulded into the base of the main grooves.
  • When the tread surface is worn to the same level as these indicators, the tyre is at the legal limit and should be replaced.

Tyre rotation: what should I know?

What is it?

During rotation, each tyre and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position to ensure that all tyres wear evenly and last longer.

When should I do it?

"Tyres should be rotated every six months or 6,000 to 8,000 miles. 10,000 kilometers However, check your owner's manual to see if there is a recommended rotation scheme."

Benefits:

Since the position of the tyre on your vehicle can affect how it wears down, regular rotation helps to ensure that tyres wear evenly, extending the life of your tyres and improving performance.

Tyre alignment: what should I know? (also known as "Suspension alignment")

Tyre alignment is a simple process, which may require slight adjustment of front and/or rear suspension components. If your alignment is off, your vehicle isn’t safe to drive.

When should I have my tyre wheel alignment checked?

  • You’ve hit a sizable object on the road.
  • You see a wear pattern developing on the shoulders (outer edges) of the tyres.
  • You notice a difference in your vehicle’s handling or when you are steering.
  • When you replace suspension or steering components.
  • At least every 10,000 kilometers.

A few things to watch for:

  • Your vehicle pulls or drifts to one side, when you are travelling on a straight, flat road.
  • Your steering wheel does not return easily after a turn.
  • Your steering wheel remains at an angle when driving in a straight line.

Why is important?

  • To minimise wear and tear on your vehicle and to maximise driver and passenger comfort.
  • To reduce wear on your tyres, help to increase their life and performance, and improve fuel economy.
  • To improve handling and driving safety by reducing steering and stability problems.

How are wheels aligned? The details

There are three main adjustments made during alignment:

  • Camber: if you’re viewing from the front of the vehicle, camber is the angle of the wheel, in degrees.
  • Caster: if you’re viewing the side of a vehicle, the caster angle identifies the forward or backward slope of a line drawn through the upper and lower steering pivot points.
  • Toe: it’s the difference in the distance between the front of the tyres and the back of the tyres.

Tyre balancing: what should I know?

What is it?

  • Sometimes when tyres are mounted the distribution of weight of the tyre+wheel assembly is not perfectly even all around the tyre.
  • A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest. The result is bouncing or wobbling, which can decrease tread life, increase vibration and cause stress on your vehicle.
  • Tyre balancing compensates for the weight differences to make sure that the tyre weight is balanced. Tyre professionals will add weights where necessary to counterbalance the tyres.

When should I balance my tyres?

  • When a tyre is replaced
  • When a balance weight is moved or removed
  • When you purchase new tyres

How are wheels balanced?

  • To balance a wheel, your mechanic uses a balancing machine to determine where the heavy spots are.
  • Weights are then attached to the exterior or interior of the wheel to counteract the centrifugal forces acting on the heavy areas when the wheel is turning.

Any advice?

If you ever feel bouncing, wobbling or vibrations, consult a tyre professional quickly.