Category Archives for "Car tyres"

How to avoid a disaster on a Queensland road trip this autumn

Safety tips for your car, passengers and tyres in Brisbane

Tyres in Brisbane’s changing weather conditions can cause problems if they’re not well maintained. Now that autumn is here, one of Queenslanders’ favourite pastimes is an Easter road trip. Perhaps down to the Gold Coast for some rest and relaxation, or into the outback for a family adventure.

Before you head off, prepare your tyres, car, and yourself. Keep your passengers safe and your car on the road with these tips:

Check your vehicle

Vehicle maintenance should be a routine. But before a trip, give your vehicle an extra vigorous once-over:

  • Start with the tyres. Brisbane’s roads can be fickle in the autumn. Make sure your tyres have the correct tread depth. Check the tyre pressure, and ensure every tyre is correctly inflated.
  • Next, check your fluids – brake and clutch, oil, transmission, coolant, and water.
  • Check your lights – front and rear. Replace bulbs where needed. Pack spare bulbs for the trip.
  • Check your windscreen wipers and washer fluid. Pack a spare bottle of fluid.
  • Get your head under the bonnet and check your fan belt, coolant hoses, and battery.

Check your emergency supplies

Whether you’re driving down the coast or into the bush, be prepared for any emergency. Here are the essentials you can’t afford to be without:

  • A first aid kit
  • Water – if you break down in the outback, you’ll need around 4 litres of water per person, per day.
  • Food – pack some high-energy emergency rations
  • Maps and a compass – Sat Navs have a habit of failing when you most need them
  • Blankets – it gets cold at night

Don’t forget other essentials for your vehicle: a toolkit; fire extinguisher; two ropes; two spare wheels.

Oh, and, just in case, take a shovel and toilet paper.

Check your vehicle recovery strap

If you get bogged down in the bush, you’ll rely on your recovery strap to get you out of trouble and back on your journey. Since 2003, there have been at least two deaths in Queensland because of unsafe use of motor vehicle recovery straps (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission).

Check the Product Safety Australia website for details about the type of straps you need for your vehicle, and how to use them safely. Or come into our West Brisbane tyre shop, have your tyres thoroughly checked and we’ll help you with your snatch straps.

What if you run into trouble on the road?

If you’ve checked your tyres, hopefully, you won’t have a tyre blow-out. But if you do, here’s what to do:

  • Don’t panic
  • Hold the steering wheel in two hands and compensate for the pull
  • Take your foot off the accelerator
  • Don’t brake immediately
  • When the vehicle is under control, brake gently
  • Pull over in a safe place and stop

Drive safe in floods

Although the worst of the rain should be over, there’s always a chance of flooding. It may take a few days for floodwater to rise. A flash flood could take minutes. Here’s what you should do to stay safe in flooding:

  • Never drive on roads which are closed.
  • If the floodwater has started to recede, stay off the road until it has been reopened. It could be damaged, and until it’s dry that damage won’t be known fully.
  • Even when a road is reopened, drive slowly and carefully – a road that is drying out can be slippery and damage developing slowly.
  • Floods cause landslides, so stay wary when driving after flooding. A landslide could happen hours or days after a flood.

Road trip or not, don’t neglect your tyres

Brisbane’s roads can be unpredictable in the autumn. Your tyres may have suffered during the heat of the summer. The rubber could have been impaired. Tread may be worn. As summer drifts into autumn, it’s time to get your tyres checked and rotate them. Rotating your tyres can increase their lifespan.

Bring your vehicle in our West Brisbane tyre shop. We’ll check the tread, and make sure there is no dangerous damage to the sidewalls. We can check the wheel alignment and balance, too. This will make sure that your tyres wear evenly and give you a safer and more comfortable driving experience.

If you want tyre advice, contact us (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) to get expert advice at our Brisbane tyre shop.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyres in Brisbane – Tyre development to rival Star Wars science fiction

Tyres in Brisbane –  Self-inflating and self-grooving tyres are around the corner

I sometimes sit and wonder about the future of driving, cars, commercial vehicles, and, of course, tyres in Brisbane. The way that the automotive market has changed in even the last twenty years or so has been remarkable.

Cars used to be big and square. They’re now smaller and sleeker, and yet have more space for passengers and luggage. Steering commercial vehicles used to require Popeye-sized muscles. The dashboard used to consist of only a speedometer and a temperature gauge. Sit at the steering wheel of a modern vehicle, and you could be in the cockpit of a Jedi starfighter.

Now, companies are racing to be the first mass-producer of driverless vehicles. Though I have to confess the latest ‘no-hands parking’ functionality will be a godsend to many, I do wonder if such automation will remove the enjoyment of driving for many. Will there be a point when drivers say “enough is enough”, or will technology continue to shape our driving experience? And what is the future for the car and commercial vehicle tyres (especially here in Brisbane)?

In this article, I look at what the automotive and tyre industry might have in store for all of us.

The digital age is going to deliver better performance

Vehicles are going to get faster. They’re going to become greener, deliver more kilometres per litre and become more interactive, but with less driver interaction.

The digital age has already delivered engines that are monitored by a hundred and one sensors. A mechanic no longer pops the bonnet and spends ten minutes looking around your engine and listening to it in physical examination. He plugs it into an all-knowing digital analyser, which pinpoints an issue in seconds.

When you’re driving, you benefit from external sensors that help you reverse in tight spaces, alert you if you get too close to the vehicle ahead, and ring alarms the moment your tyres touch a white line. Like I’ve already said, car dashboards are like something out of Star Wars.

There’s a lot more to come, and developments are going to come thick and fast.

The new age of the supercar is here

Auto magazines are already predicting that supercars that can travel at more than 300 km per hour will be in production within four years. These cars will have just four cylinders as standard. Ford’s EcoBoost Mustang reaches around 230 km per hour, costs around US$25,000, and is already helping Mustang break sales records in the United States.

Supercars with smaller engines, offering better fuel consumption and faster top speeds will be standard in a few years. Perhaps not everything the average petrolhead wants to hear, but definitely the direction of the market.

Lighter cars equal lower fuel bills

The world is going green and lean, and this philosophy is the direction in which vehicle manufacturing is travelling. Carbon emissions are reducing, but the use of carbon fibre is increasing in the production of cars and commercial vehicles. It’s robust and stiff, and it’s lightweight, too. This weight advantage is going to help fuel consumption and performance. Manufacturers are developing carbon fibre parts to replace steel and aluminium used today. By 2020, the automotive industry will be the world’s largest consumer of carbon fibre, which will help to further reduce carbon emissions.

Hybrid cars will become the norm

Battery and engine management advances have helped manufacturers produce hybrid engine cars that will soon be the norm. Fuel economy is going to sprint forward, and roads are going to become quieter – I drove a hybrid recently and thought the engine had cut out at every light!

Reduced driver interaction

We’re already starting to get used to cars that make decisions for us. Cruise control has been around for a while now, and newer technology like distance control is becoming more common. How far can this technology take us? Self-driving vehicles are around the corner, and cars like the Tesla Model S and BMW 7 Series already have technology that self-corrects performance for different road and weather conditions – drivers don’t even know their decisions are being made for them.

Greater vehicle interaction

Where drivers will be relieved of much of their current in-vehicle responsibilities, vehicles themselves will become more interactive. They’ll start talking to each other.

There’ll come a time, and it could be very soon, that vehicles alert other vehicles in bad road conditions, heavy traffic, bad weather, and so on. Your vehicle’s Sat Nav system will update its route in real time, as all this information from other road users is downloaded and crunched at superfast speeds.

The future for tyres in the new age of driving

If you think all the above is exciting stuff, then listen to what could be in store for the rubber between you and Brisbane’s roads.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how commercial vehicle tyres just took a giant leap forward. We can expect more advances over the next few years. You’ll see new tyre compounds, and tread patterns will evolve for greater safety. Road handling capability will increase, but that’s not all. Here’s what tyre manufacturers have got up their sleeves:

  • Chips located inside the tyre will connect the tyre to the engine like never before. Just like vehicles will talk to each other, tyres will talk to the vehicle.
  • The Tyres will evolve with the road conditions underneath, altering their air pressures to give better traction.
  • Tyres that renew their tread grooves – retreading could be a thing of the past.
  • Tyres that self-inflate.
  • Airless tyres that offer a smoother and safer drive.

Within a decade, the tyres we use on the roads in Brisbane could be a galaxy away from today’s models. It might sound a little science fiction, but we really could be driving on tyres that are safer, greener, perform better, and last longer. Or maybe we won’t be driving on them, but merely sitting in a car that transports us from A to B without the need for driver interaction.

Whatever the future for cars and commercial vehicles, tyres will evolve, too. Tyre manufacturers are spending billions of dollars every year to bring tomorrow’s tyres to you today.

Whatever your tyre needs – high performance, better handling, longer life – contact us today (by Skype, or on our contact form) or phone us on 3333 5510 and book an appointment to have your tyres checked in Brisbane. You’ll find the latest tyres with the most modern technology are on our shelves.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyres in Brisbane – Is it safe to drive with mismatched tyres?

Tyres in Brisbane – Make sure your tyre change is made for safe driving

When your vehicle’s tyres in Brisbane are replaced, it pays to go to a tyre specialist. That’s what the following story shows – a nightmare that I wouldn’t have thought could be true. Unfortunately, it is, and it makes me wonder how many other cars are in a similar dangerous state.

Even car dealerships make mistakes with tyres in Brisbane

I was discussing tyres at a barbie a couple of weekends ago when a friend said that she was experiencing poor control. She had twice felt her back-end slip on the camber of a bend that morning before arriving at our place.

As soon as I examined her car, I knew the reason her driving was suffering. She’d had three new tyres recently. That’s three. Not two or four, but three. It turns out that she’d taken her car for a service, and the dealer had replaced the tyres that they said needed replacing. And it turns out that not all car dealerships know that you should never switch out an uneven number of tyres.

Not only had the dealership changed only three tyres, they’d also changed them for a different size! The three new tyres were P195/65/R15, and the one that they left was P195/60/R15. (For an explanation about tyre sizes, see our tyre blog “How to choose the best tyres for Queensland roads and save money”.)

Is it dangerous to drive on mismatched tyres?

As my friend had experienced, mismatched tyres can produce poor vehicle handling. If all your tyres are the same make, model and size, you’ll be able to maintain them for longer with a good tyre rotation policy. Uneven tyres equal uneven steering and uneven braking. By rotating regularly, wear should be evener.

What’s the best strategy for changing tyres?

Ideally, you should replace all four tyres at the same time. It’s also best to replace like with like – the same manufacturer and the same amount of wear. It creates an even balance to your vehicle and improves handling, especially when you most need it – on wet roads, around corners, and in heavy traffic.

For most people, changing all four tyres simultaneously is an expensive proposition. Especially if only one tyre ‘needs’ replacing – for example if you’ve had a blowout. It’s unreasonable to expect you to go to the expense of changing all four tyres for the sake of a single flat.

What if you can’t afford to replace all four tyres?

If you can’t afford to replace all four tyres at the same time, then you should replace in pairs – and on the same axle. Replace with the same style, size and make as your remaining tyres. If this is impossible, speak to us and we’ll suggest a suitable alternative as close to the dimensions and tread design as possible. Most importantly, we’ll match performance, speed and load ratings, and traction characteristics.

And if your remaining tyres have a little wear and tear?

If the remaining tyres haven’t had much wear on them, then you may get away with replacing only the flat. If you do this, then select a tyre that’s the same make, size and type as the tyre on the opposite end of the same axle.

Another solution may be to buy retread tyres – a suggestion that some tyre buyers might consider being preposterous (having been taught by their fathers and grandfathers that retreads are dangerous), but a solution that could save hundreds of dollars on a set of four new tyres.

Always change your tyres with a strategy of safety first. Contact us today on 07 3333 5510 and book an appointment to have your tyres checked in Brisbane.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyres in West Brisbane – Here’s how to save your tyres in wet conditions

Tyres in West Brisbane – Safety tips to avoid punctures in the rain

If there’s one thing we can be sure of in Queensland, it’s that tyres in West Brisbane will be put through their paces. They have to contend with long periods of tropical heat, and downpours that make the Niagara Falls look like a dripping tap. These extremes of weather make driving more difficult, and wet roads increase the risk of punctures.

In this blog, you’ll discover why there are more punctures when it’s raining, and I’ll give you my tips for driving safely in wet road conditions.

Wet rubber cuts up more easily

It’s a fact that wet rubber punctures more easily. The big tyre manufacturers have spent millions trying to develop tyres that are puncture proof.

I’ve seen some theories put forward as reasons for poorer tyre performance on wet roads. All of them have merit. For example:

  • Rain washes more debris onto roads. Flint, nails and thorns that get blown away in dry conditions stick to wet roads.
  • Tyres get sticky on wet roads, and sharp debris sticks more easily, before being forced into the tyre during a couple of revolutions.
  • Acid rain degrades rubber.

Whatever the reason, if you watch this video about the effect of water on agricultural tyres you’ll see just how easily rubber can be cut into when it gets wet. The first time I saw this tyre video, I was shocked at the effect so little water can have on tyres in West Brisbane– especially when you consider how often we all drive in wet conditions.

You’ll notice in the video that the rubber being cut into so easily is almost slick. All the tread has gone. Tread depth and patterns don’t only help a tyre disperse water and keep a grip on the road – depth and tread help to avoid punctures.

You’ll find that every millimetre of tread that is worn away increases the chance of having a blowout. It’s been estimated that when your tyre is down to its last 10% of tread depth, the risk of a puncture more than doubles.

Tell me, do you want to be stuck by the side of a road changing a tyre, struggling with the jack and wheel nuts, and discovering your spare tyre is in worse shape than the punctured tyre, in the pouring rain?

Don’t let your tyres in West Brisbane get washed up in the wet

There’s no way to be 100% certain your tyre won’t get punctured, but you can cut down on the risk.  Here are some puncture prevention tips:

·      Don’t spare the spare

The first thing to do is to understand that your spare tyre is like an insurance policy. You hope you never have to use it, but if it is needed it will be the best you can afford. A lot of cars today have spare tyres designed to get you home, and even then they suggest no more than around 50 kilometres.

When I insure my car, I could go for insurance that does the bare minimum. Instead, I make sure that my No Claims is protected, that I’ve got a great cover for passengers, and that I’ve got legal cover, too. The extra few dollars is worth the peace of mind.

When I inspect the spare, I make sure that it’s a real tyre. That way I know that if the worst should happen, I’ve got a tyre that will get me home from wherever I am. Those few extra dollars I’ve spent are worth the peace of mind every time I step into my vehicle.

·      Check your tyres every week

At least weekly, I check my tyres. I look at them, run my fingers across them, and inspect the tread for stones or other debris. (Actually, that last bit – I do that as a force of habit before every journey.) Doing this tyre test makes sure that I watch the tread on my tyres constantly, and I spot any nicks or bulges straight away. If my tyres need changing, I’m the first to know about it.

I also include the spare tyre in my weekly tyre checking routine, making sure that it is inflated correctly, just like the others.

·      Keep your tyres inflated correctly

You’ll find the correct tyre pressure on a placard on the door jamb or the side of the glovebox. It will also be detailed in the owner’s manual. Never inflate to the numbers on the sidewall of the tyre – they are maximums for the tyre, and not necessarily the correct pressure for that tyre on your vehicle. Also, if you’re driving long distances or with heavy loads, you’ll need to inflate your tyres in West Brisbane appropriately.

·      Check the tyre tread depth

Worn tyres in Brisbane use more fuel, make braking more difficult, and decrease the handling capability of your vehicle.

Here in Queensland, the law says you must maintain at least 1.5mm of tread. If you see any signs of uneven wear, bald patches, or notice coloured bars coming through, bring your vehicle into our tyre shop in Darra − you could have a serious problem, or it may be that your wheels need rebalancing or realigning.

How to drive with wet tyres in West Brisbane

Four wet road techniques are essential to keeping you and your passengers safe when driving in the rain:

1.     Watch your speed

Rain makes roads slippery. It mixes with oil and creates skidpan conditions. On wet roads and when it’s raining, slow down. Not only will you have more time to see what is going on ahead of you, but also the science says that slower driving on wet roads makes for better tyre grip, as more of the tyre’s rubber is in contact with the road for longer.

2.     Keep your distance

Drivers that tailgate are a big bugbear of mine. Drivers that tailgate in the wet are ten times more dangerous. Even when you’re driving at a safer speed, there’s still a chance of skidding on wet roads. If you keep a healthy distance between you and the vehicle ahead, you’ll have more time to brake. You won’t have to slam the anchors on. Steady braking helps to avoid skids. Always drive with a distance of at least two car lengths between you and the car in front.

3.     How to recover from a skid

Skids can be pretty scary. If you do start skidding, don’t hit the brakes even harder. Ease back, keep a steady pressure on the brake pedal, and steer in the direction of the skid.

4.     Deal with aquaplaning

On slick, wet roads, aquaplaning is always a possibility. It’s caused by driving too fast through the water. Your speed doesn’t allow the tyre tread to do its job properly, and a film of water is created between the tyre and the tarmac. You lose traction, and instead of gripping the road you glide along it.

Don’t hit the brake! If you do, you will simply stop the wheel rotating, and it will take longer for water to disperse. The aquaplane will last longer.

Instead, take your foot off the accelerator, hold the steering wheel steady, change down a gear and apply the brakes gently. By doing this, the ‘engine brake’ (the way the car naturally slows when you take your foot off the accelerator) will help you to slow down. Once you’ve slowed enough, you’ll feel grip return, and you can continue on your way more safely (and slowly).

If you experience excessive skidding or aquaplaning, it’s likely that your tyres need changing or rotating.  Contact us today (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) and book an appointment to have your tyres checked in West Brisbane.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Brisbane_tyres_7_symptoms_of_dangerously_worn_tyres

Brisbane tyres – 7 symptoms of dangerously worn tyres

Brisbane tyres – Learn when to have your tyres replaced

With every journey you make in and around Brisbane, your tyres suffer wear and tear. Even a trip to take the kids to school or drive round the corner to buy essential supplies from the local store affects your tyres. Even if you religiously follow every one of our 8 top tips to make your tyres last longer, eventually your tyres start losing their tread. When this happens, your drive is a little less comfortable. Worn tyres impact how your car performs, whatever the road conditions, and worst case could be the cause of a fatal accident. Way too late. Brisbane tyres go through extreme weather and tough roads

In this article, you’ll learn how to spot signs your tyres are worn to the point of posing a threat to you, your passengers, and other road users. If you experience any of these symptoms, or notice the tyre wear and tear described, take your car to our Brisbane tyre shop and get your tyres checked out professionally. (Or somewhere closer to you)

Feel and listen for a worsening driving experience

The first signs of wearing tyres are often felt or heard. Most drivers put noise or vibration down to poor road conditions or bad driving surfaces − a common mistake to make on many of Brisbane’s roads. Here are four common driving experiences that many drivers mistake for something other than tyre wear:

1.     More vibration than normal

Some vibration is natural when driving. A car engine is full of moving parts, and movement causes vibration. Of course, vibration is also caused by poorly laid roads. It might also be due to a problem with your suspension (in itself a source of concern, and an issue that will decrease your Brisbane tyre life).

You’ll instinctively know how much vibration is natural when driving and be able to feel when the amount of vibration increases to an abnormal level. If you do feel this, then it may be a sign that your tyres need examining.

Vibration is also one of the ways to tell that it’s time to get your tyres aligned: an issue that can be tested and corrected easily at our Brisbane tyre shop.

2.     A noisier drive than usual

Even though there will always be road noise, there are different sounds that should start to alarm you. I drive with the radio either set low or turned off so that I receive these advance warnings of tyre wear:

  • A continuous buzz or hum is often an indication that the tread has worn unevenly as if it’s been chopped. It is a pretty dangerous tyre problem, often caused by ineffective suspension or poor tyre rotation. Read our tyre blog “Save your life and your money by proper tyre rotation” for more information about the risks of uneven tyre wear and how tyre rotation reduces these risks and helps tyres last longer.
  • If you notice a thumping sound while driving, the likelihood is that you’ve got a bald spot on a tyre. The cause of this is uneven or harsh braking (you may need to adjust your driving style). Bald spots can’t be repaired – get your tyre replaced as soon as possible.

(While I’m discussing tyre noise, if your tyres squeak or screech when you’re turning a corner or driving a bend, it’s most likely that your tyres are underinflated.)

3.     Movement in the steering wheel

Your steering wheel should be solid with little to no lateral movement when you’re driving. If you notice a wobble either in the steering wheel or the car itself (especially when driving in low gears at low speeds), then one or more of your tyres probably needs replacing.

Wobbling and bouncing are commonly caused by an internal tyre problem. You might also notice the tread bubbling. If you feel these symptoms when driving, get down to our tyre shop immediately – it’s a real serious issue, and you need your tyres changed before it’s too late.

4.     Aquaplaning, like you’re water skiing

If you feel like your car isn’t gripping like it should when the roads are wet in Brisbane, you’ve probably got tyres that have worn tread. The wear could be even, but a smoother tyre means more likelihood of aquaplaning: a grave cause for concern in areas that suffer flash floods and slick roads.

In a nutshell, if you’ve lost traction you need new tyres. Now. Today. Tomorrow could be too late.

Look for physical signs of tyre wear

Having covered the symptoms of tyre wear that you’ll feel and hear, let’s turn our attention to the visual signs that your tyres are past their ‘use-by date’:

5.     Can you see the tread indicator bar?

Some while ago, a bright spark at a tyre manufacturer came up with a life-saving idea: put a bar on tyres that makes it easy to see if the tread is worn beyond safety. When your tyres are new, you won’t even see these bars; but when worn you’ll see bars that run perpendicular to the tread. If this is the case, then you need your tyres changed.

You can also use a tyre gauge to measure tread depth, making sure it conforms to Australian tyre tread regulations.

6.     Do you have cracks in the tyre sidewalls?

So far we’ve concentrated on tyre tread, but other problems can occur that are just as dangerous. One of these is cracking on the sidewalls of your tyres. These weaken the structure of a tyre and increase the risk of a blowout. If you notice cracks or cuts on the sidewall of any of your tyres, have the tyre checked.

7.     Is your tyre blistering or bulging?

Time takes its toll on tyres, even if your car isn’t being used. The sun and hot weather, in particular, can weaken tyres, and one of the symptoms of this is blistering or bulging of the tyre. These bulges are natural weak spots, increasing the possibility of a blowout. Don’t take any risks with bulging tyres: get them checked straight away.

Stay tyre safe

Check for stones, nails, oil and fuel residue, and the visible signs of wear, tear and damage that I’ve described above.

In the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War, a lot of governments produced advice about the four-minute warning − that’s the time they guessed people would have to save themselves from a nuclear holocaust. A tyre blowout, loss of control because of aquaplaning, or increased braking distance may not be the nuclear holocaust that we were so sacred about 40 years ago. But for you and your passengers, the result could be just as catastrophic.

Check your tyre and stay tyre safe. It could be the most productive four minutes of your life.

Call us today on (07) 3333 5510, and book an appointment for a tyre check. Our job is to make sure you and your passengers are safe on the roads and help you save money at the same time.

Cheers,

Kevin Wood

Brisbane Tyres – How to Change a Car Tyre after a Blowout

Brisbane Tyres – The how, why, and what of tyre blowouts

The chances are that you’ll never suffer a blowout; but if you do, be prepared for a harrowing experience.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What causes a blowout
  • What it feels like to have a tyre blowout
  • How to handle the car and come to a safe stop if you have a tyre blowout
  • How to change a tyre on a car after a blowout
  • How to prevent tyre blowouts

Why do blowouts happen on car tyres?

A tyre will only blow out if it is already failing in some way. Most commonly this will be because of a fracture or split in the tyre or one of its components, or a separation of the tyre components. If the tyre is damaged or worn, subjecting it to excessive stress could then cause the blowout – perhaps because of subjecting it to too much weight, driving too fast, or over-inflation.

Will a tyre blow out straight away?

Even if you over-inflate a tyre or ask it to carry too much weight, it’s unlikely to burst suddenly. It will probably take an extra tyre trauma to make it blow. This might be hitting a rock on the road, or bumping over a pothole, or perhaps kerbing the tyre while driving or parking. In the ordinary course of events, a tyre will deal with all of these with ease. When the tyre’s already damaged is when the chances of a blowout are increased.

Tyres are built to be resilient

Tyre manufacturers understand that we’re all human, and know that we’ll make mistakes when inflating tyres and loading cars.

On the tyre wall, you’ll notice a bunch of numbers. One of these indicates the maximum pressure. Let’s say that it states that you shouldn’t inflate to more than 35 psi. If you inflate to a pressure of 36 or 37 psi, it’s not going to blow. That’s a good thing because tyre pressure gauges in service stations are notoriously inaccurate.

Similarly, if you overload your car by a little bit, the car may sit a little lower than it should, but this won’t cause your tyre to blow.

When developing and testing tyres, manufacturers deliberately build in a margin of error. They test rims and flanges, overinflate tyres, and puncture tyres in the tread with a plunger to simulate a protruding bolt or nail.

In other words, tyres are resilient. But they’re not infallible. They do occasionally fail, especially if they have been mistreated or poorly maintained. That’s when you’re most likely to have a blowout.

How do you know you’ve got a blowout?

A blowout usually happens when travelling at speed, and the immediate effect is that your car will start slowing down and the steering will pull either to the left or right. The pull can be violent, almost ripping the steering wheel from your grip.

How to bring the car to a safe standstill

You’ll want to avoid swerving into a neighbouring lane, which can be difficult to do when taken by surprise. Swerve into another lane, and you could hit an oncoming vehicle or cause an accident with a vehicle travelling in the same direction. So you need to take action to avoid departing your lane.

You could also grind to halt, especially if you brake incorrectly, and cause a car from behind to slam into you.

To avoid both these outcomes, you’ll need to do two things:

  1. First, keep your foot on the accelerator. This is easier said than done because your natural instinct will be to stop the car as quickly as possible. Keeping your foot on the accelerator will ensure you continue to move forward.
  2. Second, steer the opposite way to the direction of your swerve. You need to drive gently, and not yank the steering wheel in the opposite direction to the swerve. This will correct the swerve and set the car straight.

Now that you have the car under control, you can steer to the shoulder taking normal driving precautions.

How to change a tyre after a blowout

Now that you’re safely on the side of the road, you can change your flat tyre. Put out your warning triangle if you have one, and use hazard lights to warn other road users of your presence. Now that you and other road users are safe, follow these instructions to change your tyre:

  1. Remove the spare wheel from your boot, together with the jack and wrench.
  2. Loosen the wheel nuts, without removing them completely.
  3. Place the jack under the chassis and raise the car slowly.
  4. Remove the wheel nuts.
  5. Remove the wheel, and place to one side.
  6. Place the replacement wheel in the vacant wheel space, and tighten the nuts (but not entirely).
  7. Lower the car to the road, put the jack to one side, and tighten the wheel nuts thoroughly.
  8. Check for safety.
  9. Put your tools away, and place the wheel with the faulty tyre in the boot.

Some cars have emergency spare wheels, with tyres that are only designed to travel a short distance of around 50 kilometres. In this case, drive to the nearest tyre shop to get a new tyre fitted as quickly as possible.

As soon as you are home (or when it is practical to do so) call us here at Darra. Bring your car in, and we’ll check all your tyres, including the spare, to make certain that they’re in good shape and don’t need replacing.

If you don’t want a tyre blowout, here’s what to do

In almost every single blowout case I’ve seen, the blowout could have been aided by taking a few simple precautions. Of course, these include driving sensibly for different road conditions, but equally as important is how you treat your tyres:

  1. Don’t overinflate your tyres. The tyre will have a maximum pressure stamped on it, but this is not necessarily the maximum you should inflate to. Every car has its own recommended tyre pressures. These are usually found on a label on the inside pillar of the driver’s door.
  2. Check your tyre pressures at least once a month – the two minutes it takes could save your life. There are safety risks if you get your tyre pressure wrong.
  3. Save your life and your money by proper tyre rotation. Tyre rotation is integral to ensuring even wear and tear, helping your tyres perform better and last longer.
  4. Never buy fake tyres. You may save a few dollars, but you will certainly risk your life and the lives of passengers and other road users. (See our article titled How to make sure you don’t buy fake tyres, for tips that could save your life.)
  5. Employ driving techniques that will help your car tyres last longer.

Finally, get an annual tyre check. Bring your car to our Darra Tyres shop, and we’ll check your tyres, wheel alignment, and balance. Our job is to make sure you and your passengers are safe on the roads.

Contact Darra Tyres today on (07) 3333 5510. We’re here to serve.

Cheers,

Kevin Wood

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Tyre Centre Tips – Six driving techniques to help your car tyres last longer

Tips from our Brisbane tyre centre

Whatever type of vehicle you drive, your tyres will wear over time – and when they need changing, you can bet it will be at the worst possible moment. Probably just before Christmas, or just after you’ve paid the deposit on next year’s family holiday. Right, when your bank balance can least afford the expense of a new set of car tyres. Quite understandably, you may buy the best value tyres you can find. Here are six tips from our tyre centre experts that will help prolong the life of your tyres and keep you safe on the road.

Tyres wear for a number of reasons. The Queensland climate is one. There’s not a lot you can do about that. The state of our state’s roads is another. The smoother the road, the less erosion it causes on your tyres. Again, there’s very little you can do about the roads in Brisbane and beyond – and if your route takes you through potholed roads, other than travel dozens of miles out of your way, you’re stuck driving on tyre-damaging surfaces.

One of the leading causes of car tyre wear and tear is your driving style. If you drive too fast into corners or brake harshly at the last minute, your tyres are going to wear more quickly and unevenly.

In this article, I’m going to give you six tips on driver habits that will make sure your car tyres last longer and wear more evenly. You’ll save money and benefit from extra safety on the roads.

1.    Adjust your driving style to suit the road

Driving on a smooth, straight highway is a different proposition to driving over potholes and bumpy back-roads. If you need to negotiate gravel roads or roads that are rutted while they’re being resurfaced, the strain is felt most in your tyres.  Slow down a little, and ‘feel’ the road better.

If you hit a pothole at speed, it’s going to harm your tyre (and possibly your suspension and axle, too). So adjust your speed to suit the road, and help your tyres last longer.

2.    Brake in plenty of time

Today’s cars are much better at the braking systems than those manufactured in the sixties and seventies. Braking systems have evolved a long way since the car was first invented. Drums became discs, benefiting from advanced hydraulics. Our cars now benefit from anti-lock braking systems and electronic brakeforce distribution.

While this extra braking safety is to be celebrated, a downside is that we’ve become used to stopping swiftly. Drivers today leave less space between them and the car ahead and slam on the brakes more often. Harsh braking creates rapid and uneven wear on tyres.

Leave a little extra space ahead of you, anticipate what’s going on by watching the car ahead of the car in front of you, and brake evenly and smoothly. If you’re towing, allow for the extra stress the weight puts on your vehicle. Erratic braking erodes tyres.

3.    Find your ideal driver’s position

There’s plenty of research that provides evidence that decreasing speed and wearing seatbelts increases safety. What’s less well discussed is how your comfort when driving also impacts road safety.

If you’ve ever driven in a car where the seat is a little too far forward, or too far from the pedals, too upright, or too laid back, you’ll understand the effects that driver discomfort has on driving style. You’re likely to become distracted as you attempt to get comfortable. Your braking is likely to be more sudden and stuttered. As you fidget in your seat, your steering will suffer. All of this puts extra pressure on your tyres.

Before you set off on a journey, ensure that your seat is in the ideal position for you – especially if you share your car with another driver.

4.    Only turn when you’re moving

We’ve all been in a position when there’s a car parked close in front of us, or we’re in a line of slow-moving traffic and want to move into the next lane. Desperate to make a manoeuvre, we turn the steering wheel before we’ve set the car in motion. This might not be dangerous, but it does put a pile of pressure on a single point on your car tyres.

Doing this may be unavoidable in tight parking spaces, but remember that turning car tyres when stationary is going to increase tyre wear rapidly. ‘Move and turn’ was one of the first things my dad taught me about driving. Now that I work in a tyre shop, I understand why.

5.    Maintain your car and car tyres

Your car tyres have a significant impact on your vehicle’s efficiency and performance. But your car isn’t a piece of equipment with unconnected parts. In the same way that a professional sportsman has to maintain every inch of his body to maintain peak performance, your tyres will benefit from all-around maintenance of your car and engine parts.

Check your water and oil regularly, top your coolant, and get your vehicle serviced when it’s due.

In your car maintenance programme, don’t neglect your tyres:

6.    Warm up before setting off

Before you undertake any exercise, it’s wise to warm up. Doing so will help you avoid an injury that could stop you competing in that half marathon you’ve been training for. And on the big day, you wouldn’t dream of setting off when the starter gun fires without first preparing your body for the rigours ahead.

Think of your car the same way as you do your body before any exercise. Warm your engine and car tyres up by driving gently, breaking softly, and pumping the brake pedal when at a standstill. It’s the muscular warm-up that will keep your car and tyres in top condition and ready for the journey ahead of you.

What kind of a driver are you?

When a person pulls into our tyre shop, I can tell the sort of driver they are by the wear on their tyres. A little like a doctor can tell a lot about a patient’s lifestyle from their appearance and health symptoms, the wear on your tyres tells me a lot about your driving style. Whether you drive fast into corners, brake at the last minute, or drive roads that, for some reason, the Queensland government hasn’t seen fit to use your taxes to maintain.

Just like a person can improve their health and increase life expectancy by making a few small changes to their lifestyle habits, you can increase the longevity of your tyres by making a few small changes to your driving style.

Next time you’re in our Brisbane tyre shop, test the hypothesis: ask me what sort of a driver I think you are, and see if I can tell by just looking at your tyres.

Give us a call on 3333 5510 – we’ll be happy to help.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

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Tyre Dealers, Always have them fit Pairs of Tyres

Visiting the tyre dealers to fit new tyres, two is the magic number

Bread and butter. Salt and Pepper.  Socks. Some things work best in pairs. Tyres do, too. You wouldn’t buy one shoe to replace a damaged one. It’s the same with tyres. Tyre dealers should always fit new tyres in pairs.

In this post, I’ll explain why fitting new tyres in pairs makes sense. I’ll also give you the four most important rules of tyre fitting.

Why fitting new tyres in pairs is sensible

A worn tyre can throw out your steering and balance. It creates uneven grip and braking. Poor tread on tyres causes aquaplaning in wet weather. In short, a damaged or worn tyre is dangerous. If you don’t maintain tyres for peak performance, not only will your safety suffer, but so, too, will your fuel efficiency.

When you notice worn tread, it may be tempting to change only the tyre that’s damaged. If you do so, you’ll immediately cause an imbalance biased to the unchanged tyre on the same axle. The problems will remain, but be biased to the other side.

Three rules of fitting new tyres you mustn’t ignore

Here are four rules that you mustn’t ignore when you have new tyres fitted:

1. Always use tyres of the same type and on the same axle

The majority of tyres today are radials. Radial tyres work hard to keep you safe. Always make sure that the same kind of tyres is fitted on the same axle – we’d recommend radial tyres every time.

2. Always fit tyres of the right size and load rating

Every vehicle has a recommended size and performance rating for its tyres. Never fit tyres below the minimums, although you could fit tyres with higher speed and load ratings for added performance. If you are considering this, speak to us first and we’ll check to make sure that what you’re doing is safe.

3. Sometimes you should replace all four tyres

Ideally, you would change all four tyres at the same time. Tyres rarely wear at the same rate. However, if you drive a four-wheel drive, it is prudent to change all four tyres at the same time. If you don’t, you risk causing permanent damage to the drive system.

Next time you need new tyres, make sure you invest in a pair. You’ll be safer, and the driving experience will be better. You’ll also use less fuel. If you need more advice or want to book a tyre check, contact us today on 3333 5510 – we’ll be happy to help.

Cheers,

Kevin Wood

The Dangers of Driving on Part Worn Poor Quality Tyres

What risk are you taking behind the wheel of poor quality tyres?

No matter how good a driver you are, if your tyres aren’t up to scratch you’re putting your life in danger. More importantly, you’re putting other people’s lives at risk. Poor quality tyres includes partly worn tyres, even if they were once high quality.

A survey in Australia last year found that almost half of all drivers did not know if their tyres were legal or not. Nearly a third of drivers quizzed in the survey admitted that they drove on worn tyres they thought were illegal.

In this post, I’ll look at some of the dangers of driving on part worn tyres that are, in fact, illegal. You’ll also discover how to ensure easily that your worn tyres meet the legal requirements.

Women are more at risk than men

The Canstar Blue survey questioned 1,600 drivers in early 2015. It found that:

  • 40% of Australian drivers don’t know the law on tyre safety standards
  • 29% believe they have driven on illegal tyres
  • 25% don’t know what the correct air pressure for their tyres is, or where to find their tyre pressure guide
  • 20% don’t know how to check their tyres for wear

Perhaps most disturbingly, female drivers are:

  • two times more likely to not know about tyre safety standards; and
  • three times less likely to know how to check their tyres are safe and legal.

What job do tyres do?

Your tyres are an essential part of your car. They help you stick to the road in all conditions. A good tyre properly inflated will reduce fuel consumption and improve the driving experience. In wet weather, they push water away and stop you from aquaplaning.

If you’re driving at 100 kilometres per hour, each of your tyres might have to expel as much as nine litres of water every second in wet conditions. If they didn’t do this, you’d feel like you were driving on ice.

It’s the tread and tread depth which enables the tyre to cope with this amount of water on the road. If you drive on a worn tyre, the grip is destroyed. You might as well be driving in the Arctic. You can imagine the devastation a 100 kilometre-per-hour crash causes. And all because you didn’t know how to check your tyres.

What is a legal tyre, and how do you check on wear?

Under Australian law, you must have at least 1.5mm of the tread where the tyre contacts the road. We used to check this with coin edges. Not very scientific, and not very accurate. Fortunately, most tyres now have tread wear indicator bars. When the tread has worn down to the limit, the tread bar will be level with the tread.

Tyre wear is caused by a range of factors. The roads on which you drive and the weather conditions in which you drive are two of the things that you have little to no control over. But excessive speed, late and violent braking, and driving corners too fast all add to tyre wear. Driving poorly not only increases the possibility that you’ll have an accident, but it also increases the cost of driving.

Don’t stop at checking tread

Tyres have a limited life irrespective of how you drive. Excessive heat or sunlight will deteriorate the rubber. Every time you rub the sidewall against the kerb when parking, a little bit more damage is caused to your tyre.

Tread wear is easier to spot than sidewall wear or other damage. Don’t forget that a spare tyre might not be roadworthy, even if it has never been used before.

Whenever you have your tyres replaced, get the spare checked. And if you’re not sure how to check your tyres to see if they are part worn, bring your car to us, and we’ll show you how.

Don’t be embarrassed that you don’t know the legal limits or how to check your tyre for wear – you’re in the company of almost half of all Australia’s drivers. Getting your tyres checked regularly will put you into the elite driver category – those who make sure their tyres are legal and that road safety is a priority.

Contact Darra Tyres today on (07) 3333 5510. We’re here to serve.

Cheers,

Kevin Wood

Where is the best tyre pressure guide for your car?

Best Tyre Pressure Guides are for you car and driving conditions not the tyre.

When I discussed the risks of getting your tyre pressure check wrong in my last post, I pointed out that most people make the mistake of looking at the numbers on the tyres when checking what tyre pressure they need to inflate to (rather than the cars tyre pressure guide). The tyre number is the tyre manufacturer’s recommended maximum for that particular tyre. The best tyre pressure that you should use will most likely be lower than this.

In this post, I’ll explain where to find the tyre pressure guide for your car,  and how to make sure your tyres are always inflated correctly.

What it the best tyre pressure for your car?

The majority of cars have a tyre pressure guide label on the inside of the driver’s door frame – commonly on the pillar. Sometimes you’ll find this label on the side of the glove compartment or the glove compartment door. Some manufacturers ‘hide’ it on the inside of the fuel filler door.

If you can’t find the pressure guide in any of these places, then you’ll need to refer to the owner’s manual, which came with the car.

You can check your tyre pressure with a good pressure gauge. Generally, the more you spend on a gauge, the more accurate it will be. However, you don’t have to spend any money on fancy tools and instruments to make sure your tyre pressure is right.

The easy way to check tyre pressure

Take your car to the nearest petrol station with an air station, and follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your tyres are cold. Heat expands the air in a tyre, so ideally you shouldn’t have driven more than a couple of kilometres before checking tyre pressure. If you’ve driven further than this, have a coffee, read a newspaper, or take a ten-minute stroll.
  2. Locate the lowest number on your tyre pressure guide. This is the cold tyre pressure recommended by the car manufacturer.
  3. Set the air compressor to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. You’ll be able to either read your tyre pressure or inflate the tyre to the pressure you’ve set.
  4. Unscrew the valve cap from the stem on the tyre, and connect the air pressure gauge to the tyre valve. If it hisses, the gauge isn’t plugged in correctly.
  5. Check the pressure reading is the same as the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. If it isn’t, inflate to the right pressure. Replace the valve cap.
  6. Repeat for all tyres on your car.

Factors that make a difference to tyre pressure

In hot weather, tyre pressures rise, while in cold weather they fall. So it’s especially important to check your tyre pressure when the weather changes.

If you’re carrying an extra heavy load, you may need to inflate to higher than the recommended pressure – but never exceed the maximum PSI on the tyre sidewall.

Never make a judgment about tyre pressure by just looking at the tyres. Modern tyres can be deceptive, and often look underinflated when they’re not.

A word or warning about pressure gauges at petrol stations

It’s always best to spend a few dollars on an accurate pressure gauge. Petrol station air pumps are free, but they suffer a lot of abuse, and may not be calibrated accurately. So use the above method to check tyre pressure, but understand that your tyres might still be inflated to the wrong PSI.

If you have any doubts about the correct pressure for your tyres, or if you might have a slow leak, call into our tyre shop, or contact us on 3375 3566 to put your mind at rest.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

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