Car Care – Tread Lightly

In this addition to my on-going Car-Car mini-series, I am going to focus on car tyres. This is an essential part of a car’s operation for it is the only part of the vehicle that has contact with the road surface. Car tyres are a pricey item, but it is also a very important safety component of your car. Here are some tips to properly maintain your tyres and to make sure it is in the right condition to keep you safe on the road.

The Tyre

IF you look closely at your car’s tyre you’ll notice that the tyre is not entirely round, there is a small flat section on the bottom where the tyre meets the ground. This is called the contact-patch.

Depending on the weigh of your car you need a certain number of square inches of the tyre to make contact with the ground. Therefore, the correct maintenance, pressure and condition of the car’s tyre plays a big role in ensuring your safety.


How do check that your car’s tyres are in the correct condition?

All the tips below are probably things your already know, but it is such vital tips, that it is a good thing to be reminded every now and then. As vehicle owners we need to box cleverly – Mohamed Ali style – and by implementing small checks on your tyres, it can save your life and your money.

  1. Tread

Check the tyre tread on a regular basis. By law you are required to change the tyres if the tread reaches a depth of 1.6mm, but it is recommended to change the vehicle’s tyres before it reaches that level. Most tyre have a build-in ‘’Wear Bar’’, this is a good and quick indication if your tyre needs to be changed. If the ‘’Wear Bar’’ is flush with the rest of the tyre you have reached the minimum level. It is always good practice to change the tyre before it reaches that critical level.

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  1. Pressure

The vehicle manufacture will always provide the details for the correct tyre pressure your vehicle needs. This is normally indicated inside your fuel cap or car door. Tyre pressure should be checked and adjusted every week.

  1. Cuts, lumps and swellings

This is normally caused by hitting a pot-hole or a curb on the side of the road. Inspect your tyres once a week and if you find a cut, lamp or swelling the chances are good the tyre needs to be replaced. Lumps and swelling normally occur on the side-wall of your tyre for it is a softer part of the tyre.


How to insure your car’s tyre last longer, provides you with the optimal safety and saves you fuel?

Tyres play a big part in braking distance as well as handling of your vehicle. Here are some practical tips on how to ensure the above.

  1. Tread

To ensure your tyres last longer make sure you rotate your tyres every 10 000km to 12 000kms. Tyres always wear uneven, and it is caused by numerous factors. (One example is heat and heat is generated in an uneven manner. A front-wheel drive car will pull the car using the front tires, thereby generating more heat at that axle. Rear-wheel drive will do the opposite. This heat differential means there will be uneven wear between the front and rear.)

  1. Wheel balance and Alignment

This goes hand in hand with rotating the tyres. If the car’s wheel alignment of balance is out, uneven tyre wear is accentuated. It is a good practise to check the alignment and balance of your wheels whenever you rotate them.


Be tyre-alert, safe driving

Hanru Reyneke

Founder – Cars One100



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