Tyres are the only part of your vehicle that touches the ground and bears all the irregularities, potholes, bumps, etc. on the road. Tyres are considered to be a safety component worldwide and need mandatory certification like mandatory ISI mark in India. However, tyre are the most neglected part of the vehicle and people continue to use them beyond their usable life which raises a risk potential. You can find out whether it is time to change them by checking the following instances:
1. Treadwear – Car tyres come with tread wear indicators with a height of 1.6mm. If the tyre tread has worn out to the level of the TWI, it is time you visit a tyre dealer as soon as possible.
Sometimes, misalignment or a damaged suspension member means that a particular tyre might wear out unevenly. Even though the tread on one side might look perfectly alright, the other edge might have reached its limit, which means you need a tyre change sooner than later, along with realignment or repair of the assembly.
2. Hard/Cracked tyre Tread or sidewall- which is a sign of being too old or weathering. If you don’t drive your car often and/ or park the car with direct strong sunlight, the rubber tends to harden up. Look for visible cracks on the tread or sidewall surface. You can still run on these tyres if your car does nothing more than weekend errands but if you are going to venture out on highways or if you like driving at good speeds, it is better to go in for new tyres.
As we know, tyre rubber tends to harden up with age or exposed to direct sunlight for long periods or parked near a source of heat. As it hardens up, it loses its tractability due to its inability to flex and grip the road surface.
3. Damaged sidewalls – Damaged beyond repairs or damages on sidewall or bead. Bad roads and sudden potholes can damage the sidewall resulting in a bulge on the sidewalls or sometimes cuts. While tyre repair shops offer you side-wall patches to reinforce the damaged part, the repairs are not always fool-proof because in every turn the sidewall flexes and puts pressure on the repaired part. Sidewall repaired tyres may also create vibrations at high speeds because reinforcement of repair makes that part harder than other parts. Replacing the tyres is rather a much safer bet.
Now that you are aware of the signs that indicate a tyre change, now let’s take a look at how you can inspect your tyres.
Check tyre air pressure regularly in cold conditions (at least once a month).
Check for any tread wear / uneven wear
Check tyre sidewall for any punctures, cuts, or bulges
When should you inspect your tyres?
• Once every month
• Before you go on a long road trip.
There are a lot of factors involved that degrade the life of your car tyre. For instance: driver’s driving habits, maintenance of car and tyres, road and weather conditions alongside carefulness taken into account are some aspects that decide upon the lifespan of a car tyre.
But tyres apart from the occasional air pressure check are often neglected. Taking care of your tyres is as important as taking care of your car. While alignment, wheel balancing, and tyre rotation can help reduce tyre wear in general, every tyre still needs to be replaced after a certain time. Though it is almost impossible to give a figure in kilometers or years, above mentioned 3 checks periodically can give you a fair idea of when to replace the tyres for your safety.
If the tyres haven't been replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture, as a precaution, you should replace them irrespective of the kilometres covered. Even if they appear to be in usable condition and have not worn out to the tread wear indicator. This applies to spare tyres as well.
Also, you can increase your tyres life by maintaining or doing periodic alignment, timely tyre rotation, wheel balancing, maintain correct air pressure, and vehicle maintenance. These tyre maintenance items not only increase tyre life, but they also help to get you even wear, optimum vehicle handling, minimum vibrations, and minimum vehicle pulling. For the OE fitted tyres, vehicle manufacturer’s (OEM’s) recommendations for service period and pattern should be followed. However, if OE recommendations are not available, periodic tyre maintenance should be done between 5000 to 8000 km intervals.