Category Archives for "Commercial Tyres"

Summer Tyres

Summer Safety Checklist for Your Tyres

Tyre Safety in the Australian Summer

Australia is heading into summer and temperatures are soaring across Brisbane. With the hot weather comes extra responsibilities in maintaining your tyre safety. Here is our complete checklist for keeping your tyres safe over the summer.

Check Your Tyre Pressure

Proper inflation and tyre pressure are crucial for keeping safe in the summer and come with the added bonus of improving fuel efficiency, handling, and saving you money on fuel costs.

In the summer your tyre pressure should be checked regularly, preferably before use while the tyre is cold. A host of risks arise from poorly inflated tyres, such as:

  • Overinflated tyres causing uneven tyre wear, meaning your car will lose traction on the roads. In summer, the heat causes tyre pressure to increase. It is estimated that for every 5.5֯C (10֯F) the temperature increases, you gain around 1PSI of pressure in your tyres.
  • Underinflated tyres beginning to warp and, in turn, make your vehicle harder to handle.

The above risks increase the likelihood of having an accident on the road. Check your tyre pressure regularly and ensure that it is at the manufacturer’s recommended level.

Top Tip: The manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure level is generally located on a sticker on the door jamb of the driver’s door or front passenger’s door.

Inspect Your Tread Levels

It is essential that you have enough tread on your tyres. Having the correct tyre pressure will ensure that your tyre tread wears evenly. However, over time your tyre tread will wear. The legal minimum tread depth on tyres is 1.5mm. If your tread depth is any less than this your tyres are not considered safe – and you will be driving illegally. For the best tyre safety, we recommend that you change your tyres if the tread falls below 3mm.

Top Tip: You can use a 20 cent coin to quickly check the tread of your tyre. Place it into the grooves of your tyre and if the tread does not reach the bill of the platypus, there is less than 3mm of tread remaining on your tyre.

Protect Your Tyres’ Sidewalls

Hitting potholes and ‘kerbing’ your tyres can cause damage to your tyre’s sidewall. Your sidewalls absorb shocks and stresses that your tyres endure. When they become damaged, your tyres can become unsafe and your chance of having an accident increases. You should regularly inspect the sidewalls of your tyres for any visual damage. If you spot any damage, you should take your car to a tyre shop and have the tyres professionally inspected.

Top Tip: Avoid sharp debris and deep potholes when driving, and take extra care when parking next to kerbs.

Prevent Blowouts

Tyre failure presents a danger to you, your passengers, other vehicles on the road and pedestrians. Blowouts occur in tyres that have sustained damage from impacts and tyres that are worn down. In the summer weather, heat can make blowouts more common. Heat generation and retention in your tyres add additional stress and can increase your chances of a blowout, so it is important to regularly check and maintain your tyres for safety.

Summary

With summer approaching and extreme heat forecast for the next few months, it’s essential to make sure your car is ready for the change in weather. Ensuring tyre safety helps to keep you and others safe on the roads. Simple checks protect you from harm.

Regularly checking air pressure, tread depth, and the condition of your tyres’ sidewalls ensures that your car is running optimally. As well as keeping you safer, such checks save you money by improving your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Want to know more? Do you need your tyres checked in Brisbane? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

top-tyre-buying-tips-for-drivers-in-Brisbane

Top tyre buying tips for drivers in Brisbane

Four steps to the best tyres for you and your vehicle

So, you need new tyres, do you? It had to happen sometime. It may be that the noise your tyres are making is telling you to replace them, or you’ve spotted those bald patches and bulges developing. Whatever the reason, now comes the hard bit. What tyres should you buy? There appears to be an endless array of tyres on the market. Different types of rubber compound. Different treads. Low profile. Then there is the size to consider. And what about load ratings?

In this article, you’ll learn how to make the best choice of new tyres for you and your car. These simple tips will ensure that the tyres you buy give you a comfortable drive, reduce fuel consumption, and, most importantly, keep you as safe as possible.

Tip #1: Know what your tyres are needed for

One of the most important things to tell a tyre dealer when you are buying new tyres is what type of driving they are needed for. These are the types of question you should answer:

  • Do you drive at high speed?
  • Are the roads you drive on mostly highways and motorways?
  • Are most of your driving done on urban streets?
  • Do you drive in wet conditions?
  • Do you want a tyre that reduces road noise and operates well on wet and dry roads?

Tip #2: Match the tyre size to your car and driving style

The best way to size a tyre is to follow two rules:

  • Buy the size recommended by your car’s manufacturer
  • Buy the size that is best for your driving habits and requirements

Most commonly, a car manufacturer will recommend several sizes. Among these, you will find the best fit to both the above rules. Your tyre dealer will help you with this.

Tip 3: Gen up on your tyre knowledge

Before you go to the dealer, it’s worth spending a little time researching. Read trade magazines or surf the internet to find reviews, expert tyre tests, and ‘real people’ comments. When reading reviews and tests, remember that they should relate to your needs and driving habits. So, drill down to the details that are most relevant, rather than basing your own conclusions on the overall rating of a tyre.

Also, don’t forget that most tyre reviews in magazines will have been conducted over a few hours or days. A customer review made after months of use may be better. Tyre manufacturers’ own tests are also made over a long period of time, so although you might consider them biased, they could be more accurate than magazine reviews.

A half hour of research will help you make a more informed decision. It will help you acquire enough knowledge to understand what the dealer is talking about when they discuss your needs.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask questions

The tyre dealer may choose a tyre for you or offer a choice of different brands. Before selecting, ask for an explanation of the pros and cons of each. If the dealer gets too technical (it’s something that we do when we get carried away – we do love our tyres!), don’t be afraid to tell the dealer to slow down and explain what they mean. Especially, ask about the benefits that each feature of a tyre gives you, in your car, on the roads you use, and in the way that you drive.

In a few words – if in doubt, shout!

Always buy the best tyres for your vehicle

If you follow these four tyre tips, you will always buy the best tyres for you. They will suit your driving habits, your vehicle, and the roads on which you drive. This means you will benefit from longer tyre life, lower fuel consumption, and a more comfortable and safer drive.

To get a great tyre deal in Brisbane, from friendly and expert technicians, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you safe on the roads,

Kevin Wood

Why you should check your tyres regularly, and how I know you don’t

An underinflated tyre could cost more than a few dollars

When a customer comes into our tyre shop in Brisbane, I can tell almost immediately if they haven’t checked their tyre pressures for a long while – or if they only check them now and again. I’m not a mind reader. I don’t have a second sight. And I’m not a magician. But I do know my tyres.

In this article, you’ll learn how often you should check your tyres, and why.

How do I know you neglect tyre pressure checks?

You can tell a lot from tyres. I can see if you drive fast into corners and if you brake harder than you should. One of the easiest things to tell is if you leave it too long between tyre pressure checks. The sign is worn shoulders on the inside and outside: it means your tyres have deflated, and this is usually because you haven’t checked the tyre pressure in a while, or you leave it too long between doing so.

Why do tyres deflate?

Most drivers think that if they have the valve cap screwed tight, their tyre pressure will remain the same. I expect you know that heat affects tyre pressure – in hot weather your tyre pressure increases. But did you know that all tyres deflate over time?

It’s a slow process, but your tyre is constantly losing air. Usually at the rate of around 3PSI every month. It happens because all tyre rubber has small holes in it. Miniscule holes, through which air molecules can (and do) escape. If you inflate your tyres to a high pressure, the air will escape faster because the molecules are forced out. It’s a natural process, and cannot be avoided. The only treatment is to regularly check your tyre pressures, and make sure you re-inflate to the right pressure.

How do incorrectly inflated tyres affect you?

Driving on incorrectly inflated tyres will affect your pocket, and can affect your safety; and that of your passengers and other road users.

Incorrectly inflated tyres will cause increased and uneven wear. It will affect handling, and increase braking distances. You’ll find it harder to negotiate bends and corners, and that distance between you and the vehicle ahead might not be enough anymore.

Underinflated tyres could fail prematurely. The tyre must work harder, and the rubber flexes more – and breaks down faster. Abnormal conditions become problematic. Debris and gravel become lodged in the rubber more easily, and your control is impeded.

Increased wear also increases fuel consumption. That’s a direct hit on your pocket. And the longer you run your tyres under or overinflated, the greater the wear and tear on them – and the less time they’ll last. Poorly inflated tyres could need changing tens of thousands of kilometres earlier than correctly inflated tyres. You could be buying three sets over a period that two sets should cover. That’s hundreds of dollars in unnecessary costs.

How often should you check your tyre pressures?

At the very least, you should check your tyre pressures once a month. Preferably, check them every two weeks. Re-inflate to the recommended pressure.

Other times you should check your tyre pressures are:

Don’t forget to check your spare tyre every time you check your other tyres. The last thing you need to happen is to find your spare tyre is unusable miles from home and assistance.

How do you know what pressure to inflate to?

First, you should usually ignore all the writing on the tyre sidewall when inflating your tyres. The correct tyre pressure to inflate to is dependent upon your vehicle and its load. You’ll find the tyre pressure recommendations either on the tyre placard on the door jamb or in your vehicle’s driver’s manual.

The exception to this rule (there’s always an exception, isn’t there?) is if you replace the original tyres with different tyres. In this case, refer to the tyre manufacturer’s recommendations – and if you’re in any doubt, call in at our tyre shop in Brisbane and ask me. See if I can tell how long it’s been since you last checked your tyre pressures while you’re here. Just for fun, of course!

What if your tyre keeps losing pressure fast?

If you find that your tyre pressure is reducing rapidly, or has lost more than 4PSI to 5PSI in a month, you could have a problem with another part of the tyre. Most commonly this will be the valve stem. Don’t leave this tyre condition to chance. It’s dangerous, and you could find your tyre suddenly deflates while you’re driving – often on the motorway. If this is the case, contact Brisbane Tyres today and get your tyre checked before it’s too late.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Outback driving and tyre tips for your springtime Queensland adventure

Your black circles are as crucial as your driving skills on outback tracks

As we head rapidly toward spring, you are likely to be thinking about getting away for a few days. Instead of the beach, how about exploring the outback? Queensland is ideal for 4WD adventures and going bush, with something that suits all tastes and driving experience.

You could take the kids on a dinosaur adventure, cruise the deserts along the Matilda Highway, visit country and coast, or discover Queensland’s ancient inland sea beds.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a great outback road trip for all drivers, and give you a few tyre tips that will help you negotiate all the terrain you’re likely to come across.

Brisbane to Birdsville – the complete 4WD adventure

One of the most popular outback road trips is the 4WD adventure drive from Brisbane to Birdsville. On this trip, you will cover 1,800 kilometres of the most beautiful and diverse Queensland countryside. You’ll be gently transported from city to outback, and have plenty of opportunities to get your teeth into some real 4WD experiences.

The kids will have fun Koala spotting. Gardening enthusiasts will marvel at the springtime blooms in Warwick. Along the route, there are large sheep, cotton, and cattle stations. There are river walks, art galleries, mud baths, date farms, and the winery at Eulo. Discover more about Australia’s history as you view the Aboriginal rock carvings at Cullyamurra Waterhole and visit the Australian Inland Mission Hostel. Spot rare birds, spend time fishing for yellowbelly, and watch the sunset on Big Red, the 40-metre sand dune on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

It is an amazing road trip, and for 4WD enthusiasts offers plenty of opportunities to go off-road and experience all types of tracks and surfaces.

Stay safe on a road trip by preparing well

Before setting out, make sure you prepare well for your road trip:

  • Let people know where you’re going, and how long you intend to be away.
  • Pack plenty of food and water. If you get stranded, you could be ‘on your own’ for a few days.
  • Phone loved ones to let them know of your progress each day – if you do get stranded, this will give them a better idea of where you are.
  • Check your spare tyre, and have all your tyres checked before you leave – it’s a good idea to pack a second spare tyre, too.
  • Finally, immediately before you set off and each day during your trip, check the RACQ’s road conditions for your next leg and any planned side trips.

How to use your tyres to negotiate different terrains

You are likely to encounter several terrains on your 4WD adventure. Here are a few tips on driving style, and how your tyres can help you get through all outback conditions:

·      Mud

Bogholes, wheel rutting, and pits of mud that are as deep as your axle. It is some of the muddy terrains you’ll encounter in the outback. Try to keep your 4WD tyres on the higher ground. If you do slip, keep your foot on the accelerator and steer side to side: you’ll get a better grip on the ruts. Drive in a high range and with full throttle.

As you come through one mud patch, stop and check your wheel arches. Clean out any mud that has built up around the mud guards. It will help your tyre tread achieve maximum traction.

·      Water

Water crossings can be dangerous, especially if you go in without preparation. Get stuck in water, and you could be in all sorts of trouble. Here are the steps to ensure your vehicle doesn’t drown:

  • Walk the crossing first
  • Note where obstacles are
  • Check that your air intake is high enough to avoid water intake
  • Set off
  • Drive in a low gear
  • Don’t change gear midway through, and maintain a steady speed

Your tyres play a big part in a successful water crossing. Don’t reduce air pressure. You don’t know what’s under the water, so when you reach the other side, get out of your vehicle and check your tyres and sidewalls for cuts and slashes, and wedged stones and other debris that could damage or puncture your tyres.

·      Bulldust

Bulldust is common on bush roads. I’ve heard of vehicles disappearing into bulldust holes, so always take great care when you come across this surface.

Bulldust is a soft, powdery dust. You’ll notice the road ahead looks very different. Tyre tracks lose definition in the soft folds created by a few inches of bulldust. V-shaped ruts are noticeable. Novice outback drivers could be tempted to treat bulldust like sand and deflate tyres. Don’t do it!

Beneath the bulldust, you’ll find a rock-hard base. It could split the sidewall of a partially deflated tyre. Drive on fully inflated tyres, and keep a constant speed of between 60 km/h and 80 km/h. If the vehicle veers to the side, correct by steering into it and gently increasing pressure on the throttle. Ignore the dust around you – once you’re through, this dust will be behind you.

·      Rocks

There’s skill in tackling rocks, but it can be learned quickly:

  • Keep the vehicle’s tyres on high ground
  • Drive in first or second gear, low range
  • Avoid ‘opening’ the throttle – too much throttle creates tyre slip
  • Keep tyres inflated at normal for road driving, except if you get stuck – then partially deflate to give better grip, and re-inflate as soon as you’re out of trouble

·      Desert

If you have driven on the beach before, you are most of the way to know how to drive in the desert. However, most deserts in Australia are a combination of sand ridges and rock. It means you shouldn’t deflate tyres as you might on the beach.

Maintain momentum, don’t fight with the steering wheel, and let your 4WD vehicle ‘find its course’. Take care on crests, and if the vehicle feels as if it’s going to slide down a slope, steer into the slide and accelerate to increase tyre traction.

Check your tyres and vehicle before your spring road trip

Make sure that your vehicle is as well prepared as you when travelling into the outback and taking any road trip. Come into our West Brisbane tyre shop, and we’ll make sure your tyres are in tip top condition – including your spares. Contact Darra Tyres today, and let us help you have the 4WD adventure of a lifetime.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Four fun facts about tyres Brisbane drivers probably don’t know

Thinner and lighter tyres are here… but tyres with no air?

I’ve been thinking about how tyres are changing shape. Okay, not shape exactly, but they are developing. They might look very much like they did 50 years ago, but on the surface and inside, tyres are evolving at one heck of a pace. In years to come, you may even buy tyres without air in them.

Here are four big changes that I’ve noticed.

After years of getting fat, tyres are on a diet

For years, I watched tyres get fatter and wider. The bigger footprint gives better grip and handling. It also increases rolling resistance and increases fuel consumption. In recent years, though, this trend has reversed. Manufacturers have put their tyres on a diet. They’re getting thinner. It makes them more aerodynamic and reduces rolling resistance, leading to lower fuel consumption.

But doesn’t this mean poorer handling capability? Well, it would, except that tyre manufacturers have been innovative with the design. They’ve created tread formations that stick to the road. Today’s thin tyres are as good – perhaps even better – on corners than their fatter predecessors. And they provide better traction for shorter braking distances. Tyre innovation has produced a win/win for drivers.

Tyre manufacturers are fighting a shocking trend

Drivers that come into our tyre shop here in West Brisbane have long been complaining about static electricity. Shocks when they close their car doors, for example. These used to be commonplace years ago. To combat them, you might remember an earthing strip hanging from the back of many vehicles. This problem was largely eliminated as manufacturers added carbon black to tyre compounds.

However, in recent years manufacturers have been producing tyres with less carbon black in the rubber. Consequently, static electricity has increased, and people are suffering more shocks from their cars.

Manufacturers have been stuck between a rock and a hard place. Less carbon fibre is better for the environment but leads to regular electric shocks. They’ve come up with an innovative solution. Many modern, thinner tyres are now produced with a strip of conductive material along their centre. It provides an electrical contact between the tyre and the tarmac and reduces electric shocks.

Tyres are getting lighter as well as thinner

Tyre manufacturers are making tyres lighter as well as thinner. Less weight equals lower rolling resistance. Manufacturers have been using a combination of strategies to achieve less weighty tyres. These include using tougher treads to increase longevity and lighter steel in the tyre cords.

In the future, air pressure won’t be a consideration

Airless tyres could be with us sooner than we think. Some commercial trucks and industrial vehicles already use them. Many forklift tyres are non-pneumatic. Manufacturers are developing tyres with a honeycomb interior structure. These increase structural stability and increase the weight that can be carried. They are highly resistant to damage, and even reduce the effects of collisions with kerbs to a vehicle’s suspension.

When you come into our tyre shop in Brisbane, you might not be able to buy airless tyres just yet and the last thing you’ll get is a load of hot air. Contact Darra Tyres today, and you’ll discover that we’re different.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

What are the benefits of regrooving your commercial tyres?

Could regrooving cut your fleet costs?

Commercial tyres are expensive pieces of equipment, and so you’ll want to make them last for as long as possible. You’ll also want to make sure they perform well – increasing safety and driving comfort, and decreasing fuel consumption. There are several ways in which you can make commercial tyres last longer. These include good tyre rotation, proper inflation, and proper loading. You could also buy the best tyres for retreading or buy tyres that can be regrooved.

In this article, we look at regrooving commercial tyres, the fastest and easiest way to make your tyres last longer and reduce fleet costs.

What’s the difference between a retread and a regroove?

When you retread a tyre, you add new rubber onto an existing tyre when the tread has worn down. When a tyre is Regrooved, a tread pattern is re-cut into the existing tyre rubber when the tread depth has worn down to around 3mm to 4mm.

What are the benefits of regrooving?

A tyre that has been regrooved will benefit from improved grip immediately. It will increase vehicle performance, and reduce braking distance. The tyre life will also be extended, possibly by many months. Better performance equals better fuel consumption and lowers fuel costs. Longer life equals lower tyre costs.

The positive effect on fuel consumption can be dramatic. It is estimated that fuel consumption constitutes around 35% of all fleet costs. Michelin has calculated that regrooving will save around 6% to 10% of a fleet’s fuel bill. Some tyre experts estimate that a regrooved tyre is between 20% and 30% more fuel efficient than a new tyre.

How do you get the best out of regrooving?

To maximise the benefits of regrooving commercial tyres, specialist tools are needed to ensure that:

  • The tread pattern is followed accurately. It is key to providing the traction expected.
  • The tread pattern depth is cut consistently. It maximises the use of rubber on the tyre.

Can all tyres be regrooved?

It’s always best to refer to a tyre dealer to make certain a tyre can be regrooved because not all can be. On tyres that can be regrooved, under the original tread, the tyre rubber is at its most effective and efficient. Mileage is at a maximum while rolling resistance is at a minimum.

A tyre that can be regrooved will have extra rubber underneath the tread. Not all tyres have this, and even those that claim they can be regrooved should be checked before regrooving takes place.

Should you consider regrooving your fleet’s tyres?

There are plenty of reasons why fleet managers should consider a tyre maintenance program that includes regrooving. These include the following advantages:

  • Regrooving your tyres could increase their mileage.
  • Tyres that last longer need to be replaced less often, and so purchase costs fall.
  • The lower rolling resistance translates to better fuel consumption, and lower fuel costs.
  • Drivers benefit from a safer and more comfortable drive.
  • A further benefit is that maximising fuel consumption and minimising tyre disposal adds to your fleet’s green credentials.

Tyre regrooving is cost-effective and environmentally friendly. It makes good business sense. Why not book a tyre inspection for your fleet today? We’ll be happy to audit your fleet’s tyres and provide quotes for professional regrooving which will help you realise all the benefits we’ve discussed in this article.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Listen – do you know what that tyre noise is telling you?

Your hearing is the first tyre check you should make

Do you hear that noise? The one your tyres are making on Brisbane’s roads? That’s not just rubber on tarmac, that’s real communication. The squeals, squeaks, screeches and rumbles all tell you about the state of your tyres and more.

It is thought that three-quarters of effective communication is through listening to what the other person is telling you. With tyres in Brisbane, the noise they make tells you most of what you need to know about their condition. Listen to what they are telling you, for they are key to your safety. Those black circles are your single point of contact between you and the road. They are integral to the handling, comfort, and braking distance of your vehicle, in whatever weather and road condition Brisbane throws at you.

And you thought listening to your spouse was important…

Tyres always make a noise, don’t they?

Some noise from your tyres is inevitable. When rubber rolls against any surface there will be noise from the friction between the different materials. Air, water and debris move rapidly between the tyre tread, causing even more noise. Tyre manufacturers spend millions on creating tread patterns that cut down noise. Some have almost achieved perfection. But until vehicles float rather than roll, tyre noise will never be eliminated.

Much of the noise you hear your tyres make will be natural rubber against the road. Each tyre brand and product sound slightly different to another on the road. Learning to translate the noises your tyres make takes experience, though the language is the same. It’s a little like learning to understand what a Scot is saying when you are only used to speaking with fellow Aussies.

The language of tyres

There are several common sounds that your tyres make. They may squeal, squeak, or rumble. It is the language that tyres use to communicate to you. Let’s translate these sounds for you:

·      Squealing tyres

Your tyres may squeal, especially when you are turning tight corners. Often, you’ll hear this in car parks. If it appears that this squealing is from your front tyres, they are probably underinflated. You should check the tyre pressure, even if they don’t look underinflated.

·      Squeaking tyres

If you have a tyre that squeaks, you need to take notice straight away. It’s more dangerous than a squeal. A squeak could be a sign that your tread is worn unevenly, and usually on the front tyres. You might also experience some pulling to either the right or the left. Get to the tyre shop immediately and have your tyres, wheel balance and wheel alignment checked.

·      Squeaking with a rattle

If a squeaking tyre is accompanied by a rattle, it’s likely that the hubcap has come loose.

·      Grinding sounds

If you are suffering a grinding sound from your wheels, it’s time to be scared. The most likely cause is that your brakes are failing; worn drums or pads. Don’t take any risks with this noise. Wherever you are, get your vehicle checked immediately. Failing brakes are never good news – for you, your passengers, or other road users.

·      Rumbling and vibration

Some road surfaces (especially ribbed) cause your tyres to rumble and vibrate. However, a more important reason to be worried is that rumbling and vibration from your tyres could indicate that a wheel bearing is worn – especially if the noise gets louder as your speed increases. The wheel bearing keeps your wheel attached to the car. I don’t need to tell you how serious rumbling and vibration from your tyre is. It’s screaming to get your car checked.

·      Screeching

Screeching tyres is normal if you are cornering at high speed, or if you brake quickly to stop fast. It is caused by friction between rubber and road. However, if your tyres are screeching during normal driving, the likelihood is that your tread depth is illegal. Bring your vehicle into our tyre shop, and we’ll check your tread and locate the problem.

If in doubt, shout!

When you’ve been driving a while on a set of tyres, sometimes you instinctively know something isn’t quite right. There may be a noise that you can’t pinpoint or put into a particular ‘sound’ category, but you just have a feeling that it doesn’t sound right. It could be that you’ve hit a pothole or scraped against a kerb. Your wheel may have become misaligned, or your tread has worn, or your tyres are underinflated.

Don’t ignore the noise from your tyres. If you aren’t sure what it means, err on the side of caution. Get your tyres and car checked. Be safe, not sorry. Don’t take any chances – contact us today and book an appointment for a tyre check.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Warning for drivers in West Brisbane: driver fatigue and poor tyres kill

Tips to stay safe on the roads during school holidays

It’s that time of year again – school holidays. It means many of you could be packing up and heading out on a road trip from West Brisbane into the outback or interstate. Driver fatigue is a factor in as many as one in three road accidents. Poor tyres are a factor in almost as many road accidents. We want you and your family to stay safe, no matter whether you are on a shopping trip in West Brisbane or a family holiday to Perth.

In this article, you’ll read my tips to prevent driver fatigue and ensure your tyres will do the job they are designed for.

How do you know you’re getting tired behind the wheel?

Driver fatigue makes you a worse driver. Your reaction times are slower, and you’ll find it harder to concentrate on the road ahead. It leads to poor judgement. In the worst case, you could suffer a fatal accident.

There are some tell-tale signs that you are suffering from driver fatigue. These include:

  • Heavy eyes and yawning
  • Daydreaming behind the wheel
  • Variable driving speeds
  • Cramping in your legs and arms
  • Impatience behind the wheel

You may also find that your braking becomes more lethargic, your steering less pronounced, and you change gears with a crunch. As tiredness increases, you’re likely to drift across lanes.

When are you most at risk of driver fatigue?

Many fatigue-related road accidents occur at night. However, contrary to popular myth, driver fatigue can happen at any time and isn’t confined to long-distance journeys.

Another myth is that it is the act of driving that makes drivers tired. It’s true that if you drive for hours upon hours, you are going to get tired. But most driver fatigue is a problem caused by lack of sleep before a road trip. You may work long hours or inconsistent shifts. You may have problems sleeping. Perhaps a newborn baby has been keeping you awake most of the night. There are many reasons why you could be tired before you sit behind the wheel.

How to avoid driver fatigue

When your body is in desperate need of sleep, your brain will shut it down. You get advanced warning of this – all those signs of fatigue we discussed a couple of paragraphs earlier. You should listen to them, and take a break. To avoid driver fatigue:

  • Only travel for a maximum of ten hours in a day
  • During a road trip, take regular breaks every couple of hours
  • Share the driving if possible
  • Avoid driving when you would normally be asleep

If you’re planning a long trip, make sure you sleep well the night before – and don’t drink alcohol before you go to bed. Alcohol stays in your system for 24 hours and makes you fatigued.

Now you’re fit for the road, are your tyres?

Okay, you’re ready to drive and fit for your family’s road trip. But are your tyres? When was the last time you checked the tread and tyre pressure? Here are a few basic tips to make sure your tyres are as fit for the journey as you are:

  • A couple of days before you are due to leave, inspect your tyres. Make sure they don’t have bald patches, scuffs, bulges and scrapes. Legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. As soon as the tread reduces to below 3mm, tyre performance will be adversely affected. At 2mm, your braking distance is severely lengthened. If you are concerned about tread depth at all, bring your vehicle to our West Brisbane tyre shop. It isn’t worth the risk to do nothing.
  • Before you leave, check tyre air pressures. Make sure they are at the recommended levels – you’ll find these on the tyre placard on the door jamb or in your vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Make sure that each tyre valve is capped. It protects against dust and water.
  • Don’t forget to make the same checks on your spare tyre.
  • Don’t forget to check the tyres on a trailer or caravan if you are towing.

If you haven’t changed your tyres for five years or more, get them checked. Even if a tyre looks good, tyre rubber degrades because of the effects of weather. Particularly here in Brisbane, UV rays from the sun deplete tyre strength.

Be safe, not sorry. Don’t take any chances. Contact us today and book an appointment for a tyre check.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Six tyre myths burst forever

Are your tyre beliefs compromising your safety on Brisbane’s roads?

Most people hold a lot of common misconceptions about their tyres. Perhaps our fathers have taught us what they’ve been mistakenly taught by their fathers. Maybe what seems to be common sense, isn’t. Whatever the reason, if you follow these incorrect ‘tyre rules’ you could be putting yourself, your passengers, and other road users at risk.  Here are the six most common tyre myths I hear from customers.

1.    “There is no need to rotate tyres”

Most people have heard about the need to rotate tyres. Some drivers I’ve spoken to in Brisbane even think that rotating tyres is dangerous. Few believe that tyre rotation could save your life and protect your quality tyres.

Tyres wear differently depending upon where they are positioned on the vehicle. Rotating them evens out this wear and tear, and makes for a smoother and safer driving experience. It also helps to prolong the life of your tyres.

2.    “Used tyres are either great or rubbish”

Everyone has an opinion on used tyres and retreads. The majority either believe they are a bargain and perfectly usable, or that they should be avoided like the plague. The truth is that some used tyres are a bargain, especially if they are nearly new.

If you are considering buying new tyres, make sure you inspect them closely for wear, cuts, grazes and scars. A spare set of used tyres could be an investment worth making. If you do suffer a flat, you’ll have a replacement immediately handy.

3.    “There’s no need to check tyres”

If you think there is no need to check your tyres, you are not alone. You might also be one of the most dangerous drivers on Brisbane’s roads. The more experienced drivers are usually the ones that carry out regular tyre checks because they know how important it is. A bulging sidewall could be the warning of a blowout soon to happen.

If there is one habit you should adopt, it’s the four-minute tyre check that everyone should make.

4.    “If you inflate the tyre above its maximum pressure, it will burst”

The maximum pressure denoted on the sidewall indicates the maximum pressure at which the maximum load can be carried safely. A quality tyre won’t burst if inflated above the maximum pressure. However, you will want to avoid hitting a pothole at speed if your tyre is inflated to a very high pressure.

5.    “Unused tyres will last forever”

No, they won’t. Tyre rubber degrades even if the tyres aren’t driven on. Sun primarily degrades tyres. Even if you don’t drive many kilometres, you should consider changing your tyres a minimum of every five years – and certainly, have them checked by a specialist to make sure they are still robust and safe to use.

6.    “When you replace tyres, always put the new ones on the front axle”

It certainly sounds like the correct thing to do, but when you replace tyres, it’s the rear ones you should replace. Move the existing good tyres to the front, and put the new tyres on the rear. The reason you do this is that it is your rear tyres that give most stability to the car. They help maintain balance when you brake in wet conditions. It helps prevent skidding and spinning.

If your rear tyres have less tread than your front tyres, contact us today. Any delay in doing so could put you at risk, especially in poor driving conditions.

You should enjoy your driving, and know you’re safe while doing so. Your tyres are key to your safety on the road. Check them regularly, inflate correctly, and rotate regularly. Buy the best-quality tyres you can afford. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts about the condition of your tyres here in West Brisbane.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

How to stop your commercial vehicle tyres being stolen

Tips to deter wheel and tyre theft in Brisbane

Commercial vehicle tyres can be an expensive investment. If you own a light commercial vehicle or ute and have ever bought a set of new tyres, you’ll know how expensive they can be. So, you’ll want to protect them.

For example, you’ll take precautions which help commercial vehicle tyres last longer. You’ll make sure they’re inflated to the correct pressure, that you don’t overload your vehicle, and that you rotate your tyres at regular intervals. You’ll also make sure you use a simple tyre cleaning routine to improve safety and increase tyre life.

According to a Carsafe.com.au study, 148 cars are stolen every day in Australia, and one of the country’s hotspots for car crime is Brisbane. What many don’t realise is that your tyres and wheels are at risk of being stolen, while the rest of the vehicle is left behind. So how do you protect your tyres from being stolen?

Here are five things you can do today to stop your tyres disappearing tonight:

1.    Keep your car in the garage

Okay, so this is an obvious tip. But you might be surprised at just how many people have a garage and never use it to house their ute. My advice is to get your vehicle off the street and under lock and key.

2.    No garage? Use a camera

If you don’t have a garage, consider putting a camera in a prominent position. Often, the sight of a camera is enough to deter thieves from attempting to steal your wheels. Today, these cameras don’t have to be expensive and can be linked wirelessly to your home PC.

3.    Alarm your vehicle

It’s not easy to remove wheels from a vehicle, and probable that the thieves will bump it. With an alarm fitted, they’ll be chased off by the shrill sound that wakes up the whole street. To stop the thieves before they start, put a sticker in the window warning them that there is an alarm fitted. Prevention is better than cure.

4.    Plug your lugs

There are a couple of things you can do with your wheel lugs to put off thieves. The first is to cover them. What can’t be seen can’t be coveted. Use a wheel cap to hide the lugs. That little extra effort that the thieves will need to exert could be enough to encourage them to move on. Thieves are lazy. That’s why they steal. If they didn’t mind a bit of hard graft, they’d work for their money.

Even better than a cover is to purchase specialised wheel lugs. To remove these, a thief will need a special tool. The chances of them having this are slim to none.

5.    Take care about parking

With those new set of tyres fitted, you’ll take care not to kerb your wheels. Take as much care about where you park as you do about how you park:

  • Instead of saving a couple of dollars by parking on the street, pay for a ticket to put your car in a covered car park that has security cameras.
  • If you’re out at night, park under a street light on a busy road which benefits from lots of pedestrians.

Having your wheels stolen is a massive inconvenience and a pretty expensive one. Not as bad as having your whole vehicle taken, but in the frustration stakes, not far off. Wheel theft, like car theft, is an opportunity theft. If you take the right precautions, you’ll make life difficult for thieves. You’ll remove the opportunity.

We’ve got more than 100 years’ experience in the tyre business. You’ll find our approach is personal but professional. We care about your safety, your property, and our reputation. Contact us (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form), and we’ll help you make the best choice of commercial tyres for your vehicle, driving needs and pocket. And we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep the thieves at bay in Brisbane.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

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