Why are car tires important?
Why are car tires important?
It's the tires that stop the car.
When it comes to safety, tires are one of the most important components of your vehicle.
The brakes stop the wheels, not your car! It's actually your tires that stop it.
Let's take a closer look.
Here, rubber meets the road:
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The contact area is the size of the palm of your hand.
And this is all where it happens:
Breaking, Traction, Handling, Steering, Comfort
On such small area, a failure at high speed could have serious consequences.
Your safety also depends on you.
You took time to choose your car.
Taking time to choose your tire is just as important.
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We can all recall stressful situations where our tires made the difference:
Think of that bike that came from nowhere
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That driver in front of you suddenly braking,
that dog crossing the street
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This difficult journey ride under a wall of rain
Your safety does not just depend on the way you or others are driving.
It depends equally on your choice of tires.
For your peace of mind (and your family’s...), take the time to choose well!
But how do I choose the right tire?
To help you compare and choose, look at 4 different aspects:
Most tires perform well in everyday situations, but difficult conditions will reveal their differences.
So how do you make sure that your tires are ready for the unexpected?
Choose tires that can perform well in the worst types of weather or roads that you may encounter.
And the difference can be huge:
On wet roads, our tires can stop up to 6 meters shorter than another premium tire brand on the exact same car.That is almost the distance of 1 and a half cars!
Based on internal wet braking test results of MICHELIN Primacy 3ST and Bridgestone Ecopia EP100a Touring tire size 205/55R16.
Not all tires are equal – choosing the right ones can keep you safe.
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Making a compromise now could mean spending more later. Why? Because tires that last longer and help you to save fuel allow you to save in the long run.
Get more efficient tires now, replace them much later! (And forget about shopping for tires for a while)
3.Enjoy the ride
Like a shoe, a tire needs to fit you perfectly.
- Take any car
- Try a different set of tires
You end up with an entyrely different driving experience.
So, do you like a comfortable drive or precision handling to take that corner like a pro?
Make sure that your tire reflects your style
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A sprinter doesn't want to run in slippers.
Neither does your car.
A sport or luxury car won’t feel like one unless the tires can translate its power to the road.
Keep Your Tires Safe
Most of us have notions of safe driving.
But what about keeping tires safe?
A few simple things can help to avoid unfortunate experiences.
Why is it important
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It will help me to save
Checking tire air pressure, and regular tire maintenance such as rotation, alignment and inspections can help you to save money.
It can extend the life of your tires so you don’t have to buy as often
Simple things like checking your tire pressure to make sure that they are properly inflated can make a real difference in how long your tires last. Under- or over-inflated tires don’t wear evenly and won’t last as long. For example, a tire that is consistently 20% under- inflated can last 20% less.
This means that a tire that should normally last 40,000 km would be worn out by 32,000 km. Also, since the front and rear axles and right and left sides of your car wear down your tires differently, rotating your tires regularly between the different positions will ensure that they wear evenly and last longer.
It can save you money on fuel
- Under-inflated tires are one of the biggest causes of using excess fuel.
- Under-inflated tires have higher rolling resistance, which means that it takes more effort from the engine to move your vehicle.
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It ensures your safety
Your tires are the only point of contact that your vehicle has with the road – they need to be in good working condition at all times to ensure your safety. To avoid any problems, follow these important care tips:
Inspect your tire:
You may not always notice if one of your tires has been damaged. Inspect your tires regularly for wear and any damage to avoid any sudden problems. Also, have a professional inspect your tires every year.
Check the air pressure:
Driving with incorrect tire pressures can affect a vehicle’s handling and braking, particularly in wet conditions, and can seriously compromise your safety. Driving on severely under-inflated tires can cause heat build-up and eventually a blow-out. Check your tire pressure monthly and before every long trip.
Respect the load capacity:
Do not exceed the load capacity relative to the tire’s load index. Tires loaded beyond their maximum loads can build up excessive heat that may result in sudden tire destruction.
Driving at high speed* can damage your tire:
At greater speeds, tires have greater a chance of being damaged by road hazards or heat build-up. High speeds can also contribute to a rapid air loss or even a sudden tire explosion, which can cause the loss of control of the vehicle.
Use your spare tire!
If you see any damage to a tire or wheel, replace it with your spare tire and have your tire checked by a professional.
* Exceeding the safe, legal speed limit is neither recommended nor endorsed.
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Air Pressure: what should I know?
Check the pressure of all your tires monthly, including the spare. Even if you don’t see any damage, tires 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 tire pressure before making a long trip.
- For the best results, check your tire pressure when the tires are cool – before driving the car or if it has covered less than 3 KM at low speed.
- If the tire 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 tire.
How do I check my tire pressure?
- Insert the pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire.
- 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 tire. 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 tires?
- 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 tire’s sidewall, as this does not indicate the pressure needed in your tire.
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 tire professional.
Getting it right is important
- Under-inflated or over-inflated tires 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 tires.
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 tires are filled with compressed air. But some tire retailers have started to put nitrogen into their tires.
- Nitrogen and compressed air can be mixed.
- Most tires can be inflated with air or nitrogen, as long as the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer are respected.
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When nitrogen replaces oxygen, less air can escape your tires, and your inflation pressure stays higher longer.
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 tire condition must still be checked frequently.
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Valve: what should I know?
What is the role of the valve?
It ensures that the proper tire pressure is maintained.
- It blocks moisture from entering the tire.
- The valve cap is particularly important to help block dust particles from obstructing the valve. High-quality caps are recommended.
Ageing 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 tires.
When should I change the valves?
Whenever you buy new tires.
How to check if you have enough tread left
In order to effectively grip the road, evacuate water and maintain control, your tires need to have a safe amount of remaining tread. If the grooves in the tire design have almost disappeared, the tire will simply not grip the road as well. This is particularly dangerous in wet conditions.
- You should check the wear of your tires regularly. If your tires are approaching minimum tread depth of 1.6mm or if you have any doubts, get them checked by a tyre professional. Or see below how to check it yourself.
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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 tire, using the gauge as instructed by its manufacturer.
- The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.
2- Check the tread wear indicators
- Tires 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 tire is at the legal limit and should be replaced.
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Tire rotation: what should I know?
What is it?
During rotation, each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position to ensure that all tires wear evenly and last longer.
When should I do it?
"Tires 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."
Since the position of the tire on your vehicle can affect how it wears down, regular rotation helps to ensure that tires wear evenly, extending the life of your tires and improving performance.
Tire alignment: what should I know? (also known as "Suspension alignment")
Tire 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 tire 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 tires.
- 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.
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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 tires, 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 tires and the back of the tires.
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Tire balancing: what should I know?
What is it?
Sometimes when tires are mounted the distribution of weight of the tire+wheel assembly is not perfectly even all around the tire.
- 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.
- Tire balancing compensates for the weight differences to make sure that the tire weight is balanced. Tire professionals will add weights where necessary to counterbalance the tires.
When should I balance my tires?
- When a tire is replaced
- When a balance weight is moved or removed
- When you purchase new tires
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.
If you ever feel bouncing, wobbling or vibrations, consult a tire professional quickly.
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Safe driving on the motorway
Always observe motorway speed limits.
Activate your indicators well in advance before overtaking or changing lanes.
Don't turn suddenly or you may lose control of your car and roll over.
Take regular breaks. Don't drive while tired.
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Safe driving at night
Give your eyes some time to adjust to the light and shadows.
Tilt your rear view mirror slightly to reduce the dazzling effect of the car headlights behind you or change to night setting, if your rear view mirror has this option.
Don't look directly at the headlights from cars travelling in the opposite direction.
Don’t drive too fast: visibility is reduced at night, making it hard for you to see the road ahead.
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Safe driving in fog
Visibility deteriorates in fog:
Turn on your dipped headlight and fog lights.
Reduce your speed and refrain from overtaking.
Leave enough time to react in an emergency by keeping a safe braking distance from the vehicle in front of you.
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Safe driving in wind
Reduce your speed. Be prepared to stop at any time.
Close all windows. An open window can attract airborne particles like dust that can affect visibility.
Keep an eye out for people or debris being blown onto the road.
Be aware that people may not hear your horn during strong windy conditions.
If you’re carrying cargo on your vehicle, make sure that it’s tied down securely.
Be very careful passing high-sided vehicles especially in exposed areas or on bridges.
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Safe driving in mountain areas
Prior to setting off, check your brakes; test them and check the brake fluid.
Carry the tools necessary in case you break down (for a full list see see Precautions and Emergencies).
Check the condition of your spare tire: the appropriate pressure is especially important.
Carry extra food, appropriate clothing and emergency aids.
Check the weather and road conditions in the mountain area and choose your route wisely.
Tell at least one other person where and when you are travelling and when you are due back so they can alert the emergency services If you don't return on time.
Sound your horn in advance if your view is blocked during cornering.
Drive carefully and slow down in turns, especially when your view is blocked.
Never speed or overtake on sharp bends where you may not see oncoming vehicles.
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Safe driving in mud
Simple ways to decide if you can get across the mud:
When there’s heavy mud on the road or if you’re driving off-road, stop your vehicle and inspect the hardness and depth of the mud before driving through it.
Observe the tyre tracks of other vehicles to gauge the depth and consistency of the mud.
Determine the type of the vehicles that have left the track from the sizes and widths of the track. Use that information as a reference to decide if you can get across.