Tyres which are properly maintained will be safer and will last longer than those which are neglected. Proper care and maintenance starts with the fitting of tyres to the vehicle. If not fitted properly tyres can be damaged. This will lead to a shortened tyred life or it can cause unsafe conditions for the road user.
FITTING AND REMOVAL
- Proper lubricants should be used when fitting tyres on rims
- Make sure that the tyre is seated correctly
- Make sure that the rims are clean before the tyre is fitted
- In the case of multiple piece rims broken or worn components must be replaced
- The fitting of old tubes can contribute to premature tyre failure
- The tubes and rubber flap must be clean when fitted
- Make sure that the fitting bay used is clean
- Machinery must be inspected to ensure that they don’t cause damage to the tyres during fitting and removal
- Only DRY air should be used to inflate tyres
- Use new valves when tyres are replaced
- Use valve caps to protect against dust and act as a second seal
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE TYRE LIFE
- Cuts – Cuts in the tyre could permit damp to reach the casing plies. This is harmful for both textile and steel casings and will affect safety and tyre life
- Contamination – Care must always be taken to unsure that contaminants such as oil, paraffin, and other chemicals do not come into contact with the tyres – It is highly dangerous to use possible rubber solvents, such as oils to assist with tyre fitting
- Dual tyre matching – Tyres of the same type, size, ply rating and amount of wear should be matched together
- Tyre rotation – Rotate tyres only if the wear is irregular or if the wear rate is uneven
- Vehicle maintenance – Wheel alignment, wheel balancing, mechanical irregularities (Discussed below)
- Vehicle load and inflation pressure – Over and under inflation, overloading and load distribution (Discussed below)
The most serious tyre wear factor is mechanical irregularity. Mechanical irregularities will show up early on tyre wear patterns. It is therefore vital that regular inspections are undertaken to identify these problems before a tyre is ruined
- Misaligned wheels – This is the most common cause of irregular tyre wear. It is vital that the tyre runs in the correct plane to prevent scrubbing of the tyre that causes rapid tyre wear. Wheel alignment must be under-taken regularly. Regular visual inspections enables you to spot misalignment long before the situation becomes costly. (Signs of misalignment – Faster wear, visual scrubbing of rubber on the tread surface, uneven wear on one side of the tyre, 45º wear pattern on tread, etc.)
- Wheel Balancing – Tyre life will be affected negatively be an unbalance in the wheel assembly. The effect is seen in an uneven wear pattern on the tyre tread. Static and dynamic balance of the tyres must be checked regularly. An unbalance can be noticed early with excessive vibration on the steering wheel of the vehicle.
- Mechanical irregularities – Many of the components of a vehicle can contribute to irregular tyre wear. This will not be discussed in detail. It is important to inspect the tyre wear regularly to identify any problem that might exist. (The following mechanical components can lead to irregular tyre wear – Grabbing or unequal brakes, Spread axles, bent axles, sagging axles, Twisted or cracked chassis, Worn or loose wheel bearings, damaged or worn suspension, damaged or worn wheel assembly, worn bushes or ball joints, damaged of worn steering components, etc.)
VEHICLE LOAD AND INFLATION PRESSURE
Over and under-inflation causes reduces tyre to road contact and shortens tyre life. The tyre responds in the same manner to under inflation as to overloading. The same applies to overinflation / under loading.
- Overinflation / under loading – Reduces cushioning power of tyre. Tyre is more susceptible to impact, penetrations and abrasion. Reduced road-tyre contact. Negatively affects the handling characteristics of the vehicle. (Excessive centre wear.)
- Under inflation / Overloading – The biggest single cause of “burst” tyres. Under inflation cases excessive flexing of the tyre sidewall which leads to overheating and ultimately, casing break-up and tread separation. Reduced tyre-road contact leads to poor handling and faster wear. (Excessive shoulder wear.)
- Check tyre pressure once a week or before undertaking a long journey
- Check tyre pressure early morning (low ambient temperature)
- Only use tyre sizes recommended by the manufacturers at the recommended inflation pressure
Proper tyre care and maintenance is essential to ensure a safer journey and an extended tyre life. Don’t gamble with your life and the lives of others. Look after your vehicle, because a properly maintained vehicle will increase your chances of reaching your destination safely.
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