Wheel Alignment

Let’s Get This Straight: Myths about Aligning Your Car Tyres

Your current wheel alignment regime may be dangerous and costly

When it comes to getting the longest life out of your tyres and making sure your vehicle is safe, wheel alignment is not something to be ignored. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there on when your wheels need to be aligned. The most common myth is that ‘you only need to align your wheels when you change your tyres’.

What is wheel alignment?

A wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angle of the wheels on your vehicle to ensure your wheels are straight. This reduces tyre wear and makes your vehicle safer.

Why do you need to align your wheels?

Wheel alignments should be a standard part of your vehicle maintenance. Even if your vehicle is tracking as straight as an arrow, it’s a good idea to get your alignments checked regularly. While tyres often only need to be replaced after every 50,000 kilometres or more, wheels should be realigned more often to reduce uneven tread wear and improve the life of your tyres.

If you are experiencing any of the following problems, you should get your vehicle wheel alignment checked immediately:

  • Uneven wear on your tyres
  • Steering is pulling to either the right or the left
  • Your steering wheel is not aligned to the centre when driving straight
  • Steering wheel vibration

If you have your wheels aligned only when you change your tyres, it will cost you. Your tyres will not last as long and your vehicle will be more dangerous to drive.

Sometimes it is difficult to notice small inconsistencies in your vehicles tracking. Your vehicle may pull; to one side only slightly. However, if this goes unnoticed it will get progressively worse and cause uneven tread wear on your tyres. By having a regular wheel alignment, you ensure that your vehicle always drives straight. The tyre technician will solve problems before they become serious.

What causes wheels to become misaligned?

There are many things that could knock your wheels out of alignment. Here are the three most common:

·      Road hazards

Unfortunately, road maintenance is an issue in Queensland. The chances are you are going to hit a pothole (or seven). Driving through potholes, hitting other road hazards, or bumping the curb can all cause poor wheel alignment.

·      Tyre wear and tear

Tyres are not indestructible. If taken care of properly your tyres can last a long time, but some wear and tear is inevitable. Over time, tyre rubber will crack and lose elasticity. The alignment of your wheels will start to come off centre.

·      Minor accidents

Almost one in five Australian motorists have been involved in a road accident of some kind in the past five years. Many are minor accidents, with little or no notable damage. The motorist believes there is mothing wrong. However, no matter how minor an accident it is still possible to knock your vehicle’s wheel alignment off. If you are involved in an accident, no matter how trivial, you should always have it checked over.

What the experts say

Most tyre and vehicle manufacturers recommend similar maintenance for your wheel alignments. Bridgestone’s advice is typical of that from tyre manufacturers:

 “You should perform a wheel alignment at least once a year, every time you rotate your tyres, or at every 10,000 km interval.

Compare this to when most motorists get their wheel alignment checked: only when they change their tyres. That’s around once every 50,000 kilometres – or five times as long as recommended.

If your doctor gave you a prescription for medication to be taken every day, would you do your own thing and take it only once every five days? I didn’t think so. Get your wheel alignment checked every 10,000 kilometres.

Is your steering pulling, or your steering wheel vibrating? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

part worn tyres

Part-worn tyres – a dangerous, false economy

Should you buy used tyres?

I recently read a report from the UK, warning that almost half of part-worn tyres sold are illegal. They are either damaged or don’t have enough tread on them, or both. Some part-worn tyres are nearly 30 years old! Driving on defective tyres is a big problem. It causes injuries and deaths. 719 injuries and 17 deaths in the UK in 2017 were caused by illegal, defective or underinflated tyres.

Part-worn tyres in Australia

The sale of new tyres in Australia is highly regulated. They must conform to ADR23 guidelines. New tyres have between 6mm and 8mm of tread, though the legal limit is 1.5mm. ADR23 doesn’t discuss second-hand tyres.

Why would you buy part-worn tyres?

There is only one reason to be tempted by part-worn tyres: to save money. To save a few dollars, there is a cost. That cost is risk. The risk you take by not knowing the history of the tyre. You must consider the age of the tyre – tyres don’t age well like fine wines. They degrade and weaken.

Are part-worn tyres dangerous?

The clue is in the name. Part-worn tyres are older. They have been used. Older tyres suffer from degraded rubber. Used tyres suffer from wear and tear and damage. Part-worn tyres are part-safe tyres. When you think about the job that tyres do for you – in terms of comfort, handling and safety – buying used tyres should worry you.

New tyres come with deep treads. Premium tyres provide premium grip. Part-worn tyres are often sold with 3mm of tread or less. That’s above the legal minimum, but dangerously close to being dangerous. That’s why we recommend you replace tyres if the tread is 3mm.

In the UK, part-worn tyres should have undergone testing before they are sold. Tests include internal integrity and inflation testing. They should also have at least 2mm of tread remaining. Despite these regulations, many part-worn tyres in the UK are sold in an illegal condition.

Here in Australia, we don’t have such strict rules on part-worn tyres. You’re on your own. Buyer beware. If you do buy part-worn tyres and they don’t have enough tread, you could be fined more than $100. Per tyre. And a demerit point per tyre.

When tyres are damaged, they become less safe

If you damage your tyres, each nick or scuff makes them a little less safe. Part-worn tyres have little tears, nick, scuffs and bulges. The accumulation of these could make them dangerous – even if they have enough tread. You may also find small pieces of metal or glass embedded in the tyre. This increases the chances of a tyre blowout.

Do you really save money when you buy used tyres?

You may save a few dollars when you buy part-worn tyres, at least on the initial purchase. But they won’t last like new tyres. You will need to replace them sooner. Much sooner. It’s likely that you’ll end up spending more in the long run. When you add in the poorer safety, buying part-worn tyres makes no sense.

In summary, there is no comparison between new, premium tyres and old, part-worn tyres. If you are concerned about comfort, handling and safety, then avoid part-worn tyres and buy the best-quality new tyres your budget will allow.

For advice on what the best tyres are for your vehicle, driving style and budget, call into our Darra Tyres shop. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Stopping distance

Rubber on the road and stopping distances

The part that your tyres play in braking

Stopping is the most important ability to have when driving. If you can’t stop in time, the consequences don’t bear thinking about. That’s why you should keep your distance when driving – so that, if the vehicle in front stops suddenly, you don’t slam into its rear end. So that your vehicle doesn’t get mangled. So that you don’t get mangled.

What is your stopping distance?

Stopping distance includes two elements.

First is the thinking/reaction time. The time it takes for you to see the brake lights on the vehicle ahead. For you to recognise this as a sign of potential danger, and for your brain to send a signal to your feet and hit the brake pedal. Mostly affecting your reaction time is your focus. If you’re tired, talking, or thinking about other things, your reaction time is likely to be slower.

Second is the braking distance – how far it takes to come to a stop once you have hit the brake pedal. There are plenty of factors in this second part of the equation. Road conditions, weather conditions, brake pads, shocks… all have an affect on braking distance. But, above all of these is your tyres.

How your tyres affect your stopping distance

If you are driving on tyres at the wrong tyre pressure or on worn tyres, your braking distance is going to be affected. Probably a lot more than you think. This is going to put you at risk, as well as your passengers and other road users. The child who runs into the road ahead of you doesn’t stand a chance.

Tyre wear and tear and poor tyre pressure affect how your tyres grip the road. If the road is wet, your braking distance is doubled. If you run on low tread, the effect is equally dangerous.

At only 50mph a car with tyres with the bare legal minimum of tread will take 14 metres’ further braking distance than a car with tyres that have 8mm of tread depth. That’s more than three car lengths of stopping distance. I wonder what that young child’s future could have been?

Whether underinflated or overinflated, if your tyre pressure is wrong it will make it more difficult to control and stop your vehicle. Overinflated tyres have less rubber in contact with the road. This means less grip. Less grip means it takes longer to stop. When a tyre is underinflated, it is harder for it to grip the tarmac.

Poorly inflated tyres also lead to uneven wear and tear. This makes handling more difficult and leads to shorter periods between replacing tyres. So, poor tyre pressure not only makes driving more dangerous, but it costs you more money, too.

Better tyres equal shorter stopping distances equal safer driving

Whatever road you are driving on, whatever the weather conditions, and whatever your reaction time, the better your tyres are the shorter the braking distance will be. And that means safer driving. Fewer accidents. Fewer deaths on the roads in Queensland.

Whether you are driving around the streets of Brisbane, on rural roads, or on the highways, your tyres are critical to stopping distance. They are crucial to avoid hitting children who step into the road without warning. Essential to avoid slamming into the sudden line of traffic ahead of you.

Do premium tyres help reduce braking distance?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why savvy drivers buy premium tyres in Brisbane. Among the reasons was that they last longer, give a better driving experience, and reduce your fuel consumption. Premium tyres also reduce braking distances. Not only do they benefit from millions of dollars in research and development spending, they are also manufactured with higher-grade materials.

What tyres should you buy to reduce stopping distance?

I started this post by saying that there are two elements that affect stopping distance. The crucial factors, of course, are your reaction time, your brakes, and your tyres. The more alert you are, the shorter your reaction time. The better the condition of your brakes, the shorter your braking distance. And, of course, the better quality your tyres, the shorter your stopping distance.

For advice on what the best tyres are for your vehicle, driving style, and budget, call into our Darra Tyre shop. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Tyre Myths

3 tyre myths that savvy Australian drivers ignore

Get value for money with these tyre tips

Australian drivers suffer from a common human condition, especially when it comes to tyres. We tend to think that we get more value from spending less. We also think that if we don’t use our tyres, they will last longer.

Are you really getting value for money when you buy new tyres?

If you are like most tyre buyers, you already have a budget in mind before you buy new tyres. But, is that set of new tyres in your budget really good value? Of course, being price conscious is necessary – especially when you are making an expensive investment such as buying a new set of tyres.

If you overspend or underspend on tyres, you’ll be making a big mistake either way.

Tyre Myth # 1: Cheaper tyres are better value for money

Cheap tyres are tempting, but are they a good investment? Generally, the mantra that you get what you pay for holds true. Tyres are not cheap to manufacture. It stands to reason that to make tyres more cheaply, a manufacturer probably uses inferior machinery and tooling, and lower-quality raw materials.

The saving you make when buying cheap tyres is usually a false economy. Sub-standard rubber wears faster. This means you will need to replace your new, cheap tyres sooner. You could find yourself buying two sets of cheap tyres for each set of premium tyres. In the long run, cheap tyres like this aren’t value for money.

Of course, this is not the only problem you are likely to suffer with cheap tyres. As the tyre tread wears, you’ll suffer with longer braking distances and poorer handling. Perhaps you don’t value your safety, or that of your passengers and other road users?

Tyre Myth #2: Expensive tyres are the best

Having read the myth about cheap tyres, you might think that the more you spend the better the tyres will be. This also isn’t true. If you have ever been to a restaurant and left thinking that you’d overspent, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Just because a tyre is a brand name, doesn’t mean that the cost of the tyre represents good value for money. Some mid-priced tyres offer very similar quality and performance as their more expensive premium brand counterparts.

You don’t need to buy the most expensive tyres to get a quality product that offers safety and value for money.

Tyre myth #3: If you don’t use tyres they will last a lifetime

There are five considerations to make when you buy new tyres. These include your driving style and the road surfaces on which you usually drive. If you don’t drive many miles, and the miles you do drive are on smooth tarmac, your tyre tread is likely to remain deep and largely unaffected.

However, just because your tread looks robust and chunky, this does not mean that your tyres are safe to drive on. Tyres – even if they are not used – have a limited shelf life. Rubber breaks down naturally. You don’t need to damage your tyres by driving on them to own dangerous tyres.

Most tyre manufacturers recommend that you change your tyres at least every five years, irrespective of whether they have suffered wear and tear. (Learn how to tell the age of your tyres in our article “How do you know how old your tyres are and if they need replacing?”).

It’s not only age that can affect your tyres. Exposure to sunlight, heat, chemicals and fuel also affect a tyre’s useful life.

How do you buy tyres and make sure you get value for money?

The saying ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ usually applies when you buy tyres. However, if you are on a budget you may need to compromise on factors such as quality, warranty, tread, and so on. At our Darra Tyres shop, you’ll find qualified and highly experienced technicians on hand to help you make the best choice. We’ll ask you about your driving style, use, mileage, and the types of road you usually drive on. We’ll talk you through the different tyres available in your price range, explaining the pros and cons of each.

With Darra Tyres, you can be sure that you receive value for money at prices you can afford.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Flat Tyres

Where are you most likely to suffer a flat tyre in Brisbane?

Tips to help you deal with a flat tyre or blowout in Queensland

In October 2018, the RACQ released figures showing where you are most likely to get a flat tyre in Queensland. The Gold Coast came out as top, but many of Brisbane’s suburbs fared poorly too. If you live or drive in the following suburbs, you best take extra care to avoid a flat when driving:

  • Eight Mile Plains
  • Brisbane CBD
  • Chermside
  • Coorparoo
  • Greenslopes

What causes a flat tyre?

There are two main causes of flat tyres: underinflation and tyre blowout.

Underinflation

You should never drive on underinflated tyres. There are studies that show that a vehicle with one or more underinflated tyres is three times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. Make it a habit to check your tyres weekly, and keep them inflated to the recommended tyre pressure.

Tyre blowout

A blowout can be as scary as hell. It will take you by surprise, make your vehicle hard to handle, and put your life and others in danger. The major contributors to a tyre blowout are:

  • Driving on underinflated tyres
  • Tyres that are in poor condition
  • Poor road conditions such as potholes and debris on the road
  • Driving at excessive speed on poor roads

What are the dangers of driving on flat tyres?

Driving on flat tyres will decrease your safety on the road. It will make steering more difficult. Braking distances will increase. You are more likely to skid on slippery roads. And, of course, you are more likely to suffer a blowout on a poorly maintained road – and there are plenty of these in Brisbane and Queensland.

If your tyre is flat and you carry on driving, you’ll find that your vehicle pulls to one side. Driving in a straight line is harder to do. You’ll also damage the internal structure of the tyre. You could also damage your vehicle.

Driving on a flat tyre makes it more likely that you will crash, because of the effect it has on handling and braking. Checking and maintaining your tyre pressure is one of the easiest things to do to avoid killing someone on the road.

Let’s hope that you avoid killing a fellow road user because of your flat tyre. It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer. Driving on a flat tyre is likely to damage your vehicle’s components. You may need to pay out to replace or repair brake lines, suspension, wheels and calipers. And this is just the start. Driving on a poorly maintained flat tyre could cost thousands of dollars.

What should you do if you have a flat on the road?

If you suffer a flat tyre or blowout on the road, you should stop as soon as you can:

  • Slow down to 20 or 30 Km/h
  • Look for a safe place to stop
  • Stop

Depending on the damage to the tyre, it may be reparable. A small nail of screw could cause deflation with little damage. A blowout or gash is likely to damage the tyre beyond repair.

On a quiet road, you might change the tyre for the spare yourself. To do so, follow our instructions in our article “How to change a car tyre after a blowout”. However, we echo the recommendation of the RACQ: if you get a flat, pull over in a safe place and call a professional. The busier the road, the more dangerous it is to change a tyre. In fact, if the road is too busy, we’ll move the car to where it is safe to work on.

In summary

Driving on a flat tyre is dangerous and the damage it can cause to your vehicle can be expensive. Improper inflation, wear and tear, a tyre defect or small damage to the tyre will increase the likelihood of you suffering a flat. Driving on underinflated tyres on poor road surfaces – and driving at excessive speed – increases the chances of a blowout.

If you do suffer a flat tyre or a blowout while driving, pull over safely and call the professionals. It’s not worth risking your life to change the tyre yourself at the roadside.

Finally, prevention is always better than cure. The best way to avoid a flat tyre is to monitor your tyres. Check them weekly. Keep them inflated to the correct, recommended pressure.

If you spot any tyre damage (nicks, cuts, grazes, bulges, nails or screws in the tread, etc.), seek the help of a professional. Here in West Brisbane, bring your vehicle to our tyre shop. We also have a truck and commercial mobile service.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Eathmoving Tyres

Your complete earthmover tyres guide

Choosing, fitting, maintaining, repairing and storage of earthmover tyres

Whatever your earthmoving vehicle, and whatever its use, perhaps the most important of its parts is its tyres. They’re all that separates the vehicle from the ground, and are vital in vehicle, driver and site safety. Earthmover tyres are an investment in man, machine and business. To maximise value from your investment, you must buy the correct tyres, fit them properly, and maintain and store them effectively.

Which earthmover tyres should you buy?

Choosing the right earthmover tyre is vital. Not only will the right tyre help your operation run smoothly, it is also essential to obtaining the highest level of tyre performance.

Earthmover tyre markings – use

The markings on earthmover tyres comply to an international standard. One of the markings tells you which use the tyre is designed for. This is a single letter, each pertaining to a single-use classification:

Earthmover tyre markings – tread

As with other types of tyre, earthmover tyres have different shapes and depths of tread. When deciding which is best for your earthmoving vehicle, you should consider the type of surface it will encounter. This is the biggest factor in the damage that could be caused to the tyre, and the amount of grip it needs to have.

Like the use classification, treads are depicted by standard markings. Instead of letters, treads are shown by numbers as follows:

Know your earthmover tyre capacity

When selecting your earthmover tyres, you will also need to know your TKPH (tonne-kilometres per hour) or TMPH (tonne-miles per hour). This is the working capacity of the tyre. This depends on the load capacity and the number of kilometres of travel in an hour.

Tyres of the same size and tread pattern could have different TKPH ratings, depending upon the types of rubber used in the tyre manufacturing process.

Fitting earthmover tyres

Fitting earthmover tyres is a dangerous operation. It must be carried out using recommended working methods and in line with tyre safety rules. These are designed to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment.

If tyres are fitted poorly, it could cause damage to the tyre and make the vehicle unsafe to operate. Incorrect fitting of earthmover tyres is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

You must not allow non-qualified, non-experienced people to fit earthmover tyres. The stakes are simply too high.

Maintaining earthmover tyres

Once fitted and in an operational setting, earthmover tyres must be inspected regularly. This will ensure that any damage or wear is spotted early.

Checks should be made on the treads at several points on the tyre. This is best done using a depth gauge. You should also inspect the tyre for cuts, grazes, gouges and bulges on the sidewall and tread, and for damage to the bead zone.

Correct tyre inflation is crucial. Correctly inflated earthmover tyres ensure optimal performance and safety of operators, other personnel, and equipment. Underinflated and overinflated tyres could severely impact traction and braking, and cause irreparable damage to the tyre, as well as irregular wear that reduces effective tyre life.

Repairing earthmover tyres

Repairs should always be carried out by a fully trained tyre professional. They will fully inspect the tyre first and assess if the damage can be repaired. This assessment is critical, and it must be made with the tyre removed from the wheel. Only then can the technician make a sound judgement – a wrong call could lead to a dangerous repair being made.

How to store and move earthmover tyres

If you store or handle earthmover tyres incorrectly, you risk damaging them beyond repair. You may also risk accident and injury to operators.

Tyres should be stored:

When handling tyres, you should not:

It is essential that operators comply with all health and safety rules at the operating site, and wear and use personal protective equipment.

Summing up

Investing in the right earthmover tyre is essential for your operation. It helps to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment, and it improves operational effectiveness. Once you have selected the correct tyre, it is essential that it is fitted correctly and maintained properly.

Because of the very serious safety factors associated with the fitting and repair of earthmover tyres, you should only ever entrust these tasks to qualified and experienced tyre technicians.

For all your tyre needs in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres to benefit from the very best, fully qualified and experienced tyre technicians.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Spare Tyres

What spare tyre should you invest in?

Spare tyre tips for all drivers

A spare tyre is a spare tyre, right? Wrong. A spare tyre is a lifesaver. You carry a spare to get you out of trouble, should you suffer a puncture or tyre blowout on the road. With spare tyres, you might decide a space saver tyre is the best choice. But it’s not your only option.

There are several different types of spare tyres. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you decide which is best for you.

·      Full-size matching spare tyre

This is exactly what it says: a tyre that is the same as the tyres on your vehicle. Should you need to switch one of your tyres for the spare, it won’t look out of place. You won’t need to get to a tyre shop straight away to replace the spare. However, a full-size spare takes up more space than other spare tyre options.

If you have a full-size spare, you should include it in your tyre rotation regime. This will mean that when you make a full tyre change you should change five tyres and not four.

·      Full-size non-matching tyre

This is a full-size tyre that might not be on a matching wheel. You may be tempted to maintain a spare tyre that is a different size to your other tyres (within legal guidelines), though we don’t recommend this.

Like the full matching tyre, you won’t have to drive straight to a tyre shop. However, this type of spare also takes up more space in your vehicle and does nothing for aesthetics.

·      Full-size temporary spare tyre

This tyre has a shallow tread depth, and therefore a limited life as a replacement. You shouldn’t use it for anything other than emergency use, but if you do need to use it you won’t need to drive straight to a tyre shop.

A full-size temporary spare tyre should perform little differently to your other tyres, so your handling and grip is unaffected. Because they are lightweight, they are easier to handle. However, they will still take up the same amount of space as other full-size spares.

·      Compact spare tyre

This is also a lightweight tyre with a shallow tread. However, its smaller. Thus, it may be a good option for those with limited space to keep a spare in the vehicle. You’ll need to inflate it to a higher pressure, and you will also need to go to a tyre shop immediately. You should note that driving on this type of tyre could diminish driving features such as ABS braking and traction.

·      Collapsible spare tyre

This is the spare tyre that takes up the least space, so it may be a good choice if you drive a small car or have lots of luggage to carry. However, to use this type of tyre you will need to inflate it – usually with a canister. It is also only good for a limited mileage.

Tips to help you choose a spare tyre

How do you decide which tyre is best for you? Space, location and where you drive are the most important considerations. For example:

  • If you drive mostly around the city, you won’t be far from a tyre shop. So, you may decide on a lightweight, temporary spare.
  • If you plan to take a road trip across Australia or into the Outback, you’ll need a robust spare to ensure you can continue for what may be a hundred miles or more, or across rough terrain.

When buying a spare, you should ask advice from the tyre specialists at your tyre shop.

Tips for driving on a spare

You should check your spare tyre regularly, just as you do your other tyres. Make sure that it:

  • Is correctly inflated
  • Is not damaged in any way
  • Has a legal tread depth

When driving on a spare, you should drive more slowly. Some spares are not made to drive at speeds of more than 80 kilometres per hour. Remember that many spares are only for temporary use. You should get to a tyre shop as soon as possible.

If you are using a full-size spare, while you can drive further on it, you should remember that you now don’t have a fit spare tyre – so you shouldn’t delay repairing or replacing your damaged tyre.

If you need a spare tyre or have used one because of a puncture or blowout in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres and bring your vehicle into out tyre shop for fitting by fully qualified and experienced tyre technicians.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyres

What damage can potholes cause to tyres and vehicles?

Tips to avoid potholes and what to do if you can’t

Poor road surfaces, such as those caused by unrepaired potholes, are one of the major concerns for drivers in and around Brisbane. In last year’s RACQ Unroadworthy Roads Survey, an incredible 600 sub-standard roads across Queensland were nominated – 60% of these nominations cited poor road surface as the reason for the nomination.

In this article, you’ll learn what damage hitting a pothole could do to your tyres and vehicle, how to spot that damage, and how to avoid damage caused by potholes.

What damage could a pothole do to your tyres and vehicle?

Pothole damage is often visible, but can also be invisible.

Invisible damage that hitting a pothole can cause includes damage to the control arm. This connects the steering and wheels. If this is bent or damaged, then your ability to steer correctly could be impeded, though you may not notice this until you need to take emergency action.

Your suspension may also be damaged by hitting a pothole at speed, and this could cause the vehicle to veer from side to side, or the vehicle to shake.

Depending on how hard the pothole is hit, the engine could move off its mounts. Engine misalignment means the engine must work harder, and this will cause damage over a longer time.

Other damage that is visible includes bent wheel rims, body damage, and, of course, damage and punctures to tyres.

How do you spot tyre and vehicle damage after hitting a pothole?

Fortunately, unless you are driving at speed, the chances of a pothole puncturing a tyre are slim. However, bent wheel rims, body damage, and damage to shocks and struts are more common. Your tyres may also be damaged, and you might suffer issues with your wheel alignment or wheel balancing.

If you notice any of the following signs of tyre or vehicle damage, you should take your vehicle in for inspection immediately:

  • A tyre looks low – this could be caused by a slow puncture, often caused by a bent wheel rim
  • The tyre sidewall is bulging, which indicates there is internal damage to the tyre and the steel belts and nylon in the tyre have separated
  • Your vehicle pulls left or right while you are driving, which indicates the wheels have become misaligned
  • The steering wheel vibrates while you are driving, a clear indication that your wheels have become imbalanced
  • You hear a strange and consistent noise from under the car while driving, which could mean that part of the car or wheel is rubbing against the suspension

How can you avoid damage from potholes?

Potholes will always exist on roads. They are caused by water seeping beneath the tarmac through cracks, forcing the road to rise. The weight of traffic causes the tarmac to break and a pothole to form. As more traffic rolls over the pothole, it becomes worse. Potholes are a fact of life – like death and taxes. Therefore, it’s important to know how to avoid the damage they might cause:

  • First, always make sure that your tyres are correctly inflated. This will help your tyres and vehicle absorb any impact should you hit a pothole.
  • Drive slower, especially on roads that you don’t know or that you know to be rough.
  • Ensure that you remain focused on the road ahead. Don’t get distracted.
  • Keep your distance from the vehicle in front, so you have time to react and can see what is approaching.
  • Take care if you swerve to avoid a pothole, especially on highways when driving at speed. Hitting a pothole can cause damage to your vehicle. Hitting another vehicle could be far worse.
  • A road with one pothole is usually a road with more. The first pothole that you hit or avoid should be the warning to be more focused and defensive in your driving style.
  • If it is impossible to avoid a pothole, take the following action to retain control of your vehicle: slow down, steer straight, and don’t slam on your brakes.

Getting your vehicle checked after hitting potholes

If you hit a pothole and notice any of the signs of impact damage, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic or tyre shop. Tell them what happened and the signs of damage that you have noticed, and make sure that they check:

  • Wheel alignment and balance
  • Damage to the internal tyre
  • Wheel rims for cracks and bending
  • Damage to the engine mount
  • Shocks, struts and suspension

If repairs are needed, get an estimate and check out your insurance cover – it may help to pay for damage caused by potholes.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres – we’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Truck Tyres

Real-time truck tyre pressure monitoring is here with Goodyear (almost)

The Goodyear TPMS could have multiple benefits for fleet operators

One of the bugbears of fleet managers is wear and tear on truck tyres. One of the most common causes of extra wear and tear on a tyre is running at incorrect tyre pressure, which also causes handling and safety issues and harms fuel consumption. All these benefits of maintaining the correct pressure in a truck’s tyres are well known. Yet doing so remains difficult.

It’s hard to check tyre pressure on trucks that are constantly on the move. When they are parked long enough for pressures to be checked, it’s not an easy job. Getting to the valves can cause new leaks that cause new problems.

All these issues may disappear soon. Goodyear & Dunlop Australia are currently trialling their real-time Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and indications are that it will be introduced as a service later this year.

How does the real-time TPMS work?

Goodyear’s system uses sensors on each wheel. These transmit pressure and temperature information every two minutes to a telematics box on the truck.

The telematics box transmits this information via mobile networks to a cloud-based server. This is where the magic really works. The information is crunched, and Goodyear applies a set of algorithms to it. These tell the system if an issue has occurred, so that the fleet manager can decide if action must be taken. This should prevent truck tyre issues becoming bigger problems.

The system doesn’t simply consider the tyre pressure. It also considers the effect that the temperature of the tyre has on tyre pressure.

What difference does the TPMS make to a fleet?

When drivers and technicians make manual tyre pressure checks, it is impossible to accurately allow for the effect of temperature on tyre pressure. While these changes in pressure may be small, they could signal a leak. Having this advanced warning, especially from trucks that are on the road and in motion, could help to prevent more costly repairs, the need for new tyres, or, in extreme cases, life-threatening accidents.

Making a repair to a small leak puncture could prolong a truck tyre’s life by several thousand kilometres, as well as that of the partner tyre in dual applications.

Alerts from the TPMS can also prevent the need for dangerous roadside repairs. When the system tells a fleet manager that there is an issue, time can be allotted to make the repair in the depot or at a tyre specialist’s shop. This early warning and prompt action also helps to prevent further damage to the tyre.

The TPMS alerts also provide information about other issues, such as uneven loading or problems with the brakes.

When will the Goodyear real-time TPMS go live?

The trials being carried out by Goodyear are proving very promising, with issues being discovered within minutes with pinpoint accuracy. While fewer than 1% of tyres being tested have needed urgent attention, the ability to know exactly which tyre and where on the tyre an issue exists is proving to be a big benefit to users.

The success to date has prompted Goodyear to announce that they will exhibit the system at the Brisbane Truck Show from 16th May 2019, and it is expected to be offered as a commercial service later this year. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know for certain.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres – we’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyre Tips

Five tyre maintenance tips to keep you safe on Queensland roads

Maintain your tyres with these simple checks

Whether you only drive the school run daily or travel thousands of kilometres every week for work, your vehicle’s tyres are one of the most important parts of it. Possibly the most important – without tyres, you wouldn’t get anywhere. They are integral to your vehicle’s handling, its fuel consumption, and your safety.

These five tyre tips will help you get the most out of your tyres, helping them last longer, maintain handling ability, and keep you safer.

Check your tyres’ tread regularly

A tyre’s tread removes water and helps your car grip the road. The legal minimum tread in Queensland is 1.5mm. At no point on the tyre must the tread be shallower. However, you don’t really want to allow a tyre’s tread to get down to the minimum. Experts recommend that you should replace a tyre before the tread gets down to 3mm.

Using a 20 cent coin, you can check the depth on your tyres easily. Simply slip the coin’s edge into the treads, and if the tread reaches the platypus’s bill, you’re down to 3mm.

How much difference does the tread really make?

Here are the braking distances at three different tread depths:

  • At 8mm tread depth, a car stops in 25.9 metres
  • At 3mm tread depth, a car stops in 31.7 metres
  • At 2mm tread depth, a car stops in 39.5 metres

Rotate your tyres

Whatever your driving style, your tyres will wear differently according to their position on the vehicle. Front tyres wear faster on the leading edge when cornering, while rear tyres will wear more evenly.

Protect your quality tyres with good rotation, rotating between axles and corners every 5,000 to 7,000 kilometres, and your tyres will last longer.

Ensure your wheels are aligned

If your tyre tread is unevenly worn, your steering is pulling, your car is vibrating, or your steering wheel is crooked when you are driving, it is time to get your wheels aligned. Properly aligned tyres are essential to achieve better fuel consumption and maintain good handling.

Ensure your tyres are balanced

Like properly aligned wheels, properly balanced tyres will ensure your drive is straight and true. Poorly balanced tyres wear faster and decrease the handling ability while driving. If your steering wheel vibrates while you are driving, it is likely that your tyres have become misbalanced.

Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated

Driving on incorrectly inflated tyres is asking for trouble. Underinflated tyres will cause wear on both inner and outer shoulders, while overinflated tyres will cause wear along the centre of the tyre (see our article “What does this tyre wear and tear mean?” for more information).

Checking your tyre pressure once each month should be enough to prevent damage from improperly inflated tyres, though a weekly check is best. You’ll find the proper inflation measures to use on the tyre placard on the inside of the door jamb.

When will you need a tyre specialist?

It’s easy to do a weekly tyre check yourself. Check the treads, look for uneven wear (and cuts, grazes and lumps on the tyre sidewall), and check the tyre pressure. If you notice any signs of poorly aligned wheels or improperly balanced tyres, or that the wear is uneven, then you should take your vehicle to a tyre specialist.

To get the best from your tyres and make sure that you are safe on the road, never take a risk with tyres. It is better to be safe than sorry. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your tyres and you are in the Brisbane area, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

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