Category Archives for "Tyre Maintenance"

Tyre Pressure

Get a Grip: Is Letting Air Out of Your Tyres to Improve Control a Myth?

What’s the Relationship Between Air Pressure and Traction?

The pressure of your vehicle’s tyres sets the weight distribution across the tread pattern. With the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure (often found on the tyre placard in the driver’s side door jamb), your vehicle is most stable.

When a tyre is not correctly inflated, it loses its stability. In turn, this affects your handling, cornering, and stopping distance. Incorrect tyre pressure also causes tyres to wear unevenly, meaning they need replacing more frequently.

From the type of wear on your tyres, we can tell whether you underinflate or overinflate:

  • More wear in the centre of the tread means your tyres are overinflated
  • More wear on the outer edges means your tyres are underinflated

Tyres lose traction when the shape of the tyre becomes deformed and the tread becomes uneven.

Here’s a table that explains the increases and reductions in factors as a result of tyre pressure:

Under Pressure Recommended Pressure Over Pressure
– Performance + Performance – Traction
– Safety + Safety – Safety
– Response + Even Wear + Tyre Damage

Does Letting Air Out of Your Tyres Improve Grip?

You may have heard that letting some air out of your tyres improves grip. The logic is that the more of the tyre touching the ground, the better the traction. Though friction is what grips your tyre to the road, it does not depend on the surface area.

There’s an equation to measure friction. The pressure on your tyres is equal to the force divided by the area of contact. Therefore, an increase in the surface area of your tyre touching the road due to deflation is counteracted by the reduced pressure. The friction (and therefore traction) doesn’t increase.

Though your underinflated tyre will have no effect on your tyre’s traction, it will have a negative effect on your steering and stopping distances. You don’t want this in normal conditions, never mind on a slippery road.

What Can You Do to Improve the Grip of Your Tyres in Slippery Conditions?

In Australia, there are 5.4 road-related deaths per 100,000 people each year. Most of these are single-vehicle accidents rather than collisions. After long periods of hot and dry weather that are broken by heavy rainfall, the roads become extremely dangerous. When you take your car out in these conditions, you may as well be driving on an ice rink. So, what can you do to stay safe and improve tyre grip on the roads?

Drive Safely

The number one thing you can do to stay safe in slippery conditions is to be a sensible driver. Always maintain your tyres in good condition, ensure they are correctly inflated, and:

  • Increase the distance between yourself and other vehicles
  • Make gentle turns and slow down for a corner
  • Don’t brake if the vehicle aquaplanes; instead, pull off the accelerator and concentrate on steering through

What Causes Tyres to Lose Grip?

Tyres lose grip on the road due to a lack of traction. Here are some reasons your tyres might lose traction:

  • Overbraking: By braking too hard, you can cause your wheels to lock up
  • Oversteering: By steering too hard, you can cause the back end of your vehicle to slide out
  • Over-acceleration: Applying too much power when accelerating leads to wheel spin
  • Speeding: Driving too fast in slippery conditions causes a lack of traction

What Do the Experts Have to Say?

Tyre and vehicle manufacturers will all tell you the same thing when it comes to letting the air out of your tyres to improve grip. Bridgestone’s advice is:

“Underinflated tyres do not provide better contact with the road. Plus, it increases the amount of wear and tear to not only the bottom but also the shoulder of the tyres.

Do your tyres keep deflating? Have you noticed uneven tread wear? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

TYre Pressure

Pump up the Pressure – and Explode Your Tyres?

Is it a tyre myth that overinflation can burst tyres?

It’s easy to think of tyres like balloons; we’ve all burst one of those because we overinflated it. But will overinflation cause your tyre to burst? It’s one of the most common tyre myths. It’s time we explored it.

What is the correct tyre pressure?

The right tyre pressure for your tyres depends upon your vehicle. You’ll find the recommended tyre pressure on the tyre placard on the door jamb or in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. It’s not the tyre pressure on the sidewall – that is the maximum tyre pressure at maximum load.

Will overinflation increase the risk of a blowout?

If you overinflate your tyres and drive at speed, and hit a pothole or other debris, there is a risk that you could suffer a blowout. But that risk is very slim. If it does happen, it’s more likely to be because of an existing fault in the tyre.

The pressure at which a tyre burst is around 200 PSI. This is around 165 PSI higher than the average recommended tyre inflation pressure. You really would have to pump some air into a tyre to get its pressure up there.

So, is it safe to overinflate a tyre?

It’s certainly safer than underinflating a tyre, but you still wouldn’t want to overinflate your tyres.

When a tyre is overinflated, the tyre’s walls push out. The tyre becomes stiffer than it should be. This affects performance. Traction is likely to be reduced, as there is less rubber on the road. This also means that tyre wear will be concentrated along the centre of the tyre, with the likelihood of bald patches caused by hard braking.

You may also suffer increased fuel consumption because the engine must work harder to drive the vehicle forward on reduced traction. You are like to have a bouncier, more unstable and less comfortable ride. Tyre sidewalls act as second shock absorbers, softening the blow to your car’s actual shock absorbers. When you overinflate a tyre, the sidewall’s stiffness transfers directly to the shock suspension.

So, is it better to underinflate a tyre?

No! It’s more dangerous to put too little air in a tyre than too much. Underinflation puts stress on a tyre’s shoulders and sidewalls. The stress on the tyre’s steel belts can be enormous. With the temperature reaching as high as 200 degrees in this spot, the chances of tyre failure are massively increased.

When you underinflate tyres, you are likely to increase fuel consumption and increase wear and tear. You will need to renew your tyres sooner. But the big danger is the increased risk of catastrophic failure.

What the experts say

Unless you have a death wish or your tyres are defective, you won’t overinflate your tyres to bursting point. They are more robust than party balloons. However, overinflated tyres may be more at risk of bursting if you hit potholes, kerbs, or other debris at speed. Still, underinflated tyres are more dangerous.

Bridgestone says:

Your tyres will not explode simply by overinflating them. (However) overinflation will cause unnecessarily excessive wear on the tyre and reduce the amount of contact with the road. It will also cause drivers to assume that their vehicles are more responsive due to the reduced contact resistance between tyre and road.

Having said all this, you should ensure that you don’t inflate your tyres to more than the tyre manufacturer’s recommended maximum (as displayed on the tyre sidewall). Further, you should always inflate to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure, found on the door jamb and/or vehicle owner’s manual.

Not sure what tyre pressure is right for your vehicle? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Tyre Pressure

Don’t Put Your Tyres Under Pressure – Inflate Them Correctly

Don’t Put Your Tyres Under Pressure – Inflate Them Correctly

The need for proper inflation isn’t simply hot air

We’ve all done it – gone to inflate our tyres and forgotten what the tyre pressure should be. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a motorist searching for the recommended tyre pressure on the tyre wall. Because they believe, like so many others do, that ‘the correct tyre pressure is numbered on the tyre’.

What is tyre pressure?

Tyre pressure is a measurement of how much air there is in a tyre. It is usually measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), though can also be measured in Bars.

Why must your tyres be inflated to the correct pressure?

If you don’t inflate your tyres properly, your comfort and safety will suffer. So, too, will your tyre wear and tear.

Underinflate your tyres and there will be more rubber against the road. Your tyres will wear faster across the tread. Tyre walls may crack easier. Especially in the summer, your tyre will heat up faster. More tread against the tarmac means more friction. This means you will use more fuel.

Should you overinflate your tyres, less of the tyre will be in contact with the road. This leads to more wear along the centre of the tyre as well as a bouncier driving experience. You may find your tyre suffers bald patches. Also, your braking distance will be longer.

Both overinflated and underinflated tyres are more prone to tyre blowouts. And you know how dangerous that can be – especially at speed.

What pressure should you inflate your tyres to?

The tyre pressure embossed on the sidewall of a tyre is not a recommended pressure. It is the absolute maximum pressure at which the tyre will operate effectively with a maximum load. When buying tyres for your vehicle, you should compare this number with your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure. You will find your vehicle’s tyre pressure guide in one or both of the following places:

  • On the door jamb
  • In the owner’s manual

If the maximum tyre pressure on the sidewall of a tyre is below your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure, you should buy a different tyre.

Checking your tyre pressure

You should check your tyre pressure regularly; at least every month, and if there is a sudden change in temperature. The easiest way to do so is at a nearby tyre station. Remember that tyre pressures should always be checked when the tyre is cold. Follow these five steps to check and inflate your tyres correctly:

  1. If you have driven more than a couple of kilometres, sit with a coffee for 10 minutes before checking your tyre pressure
  2. Set the air compressor to the lowest number on your tyre pressure guide (this is the recommended pressure for cold tyres)
  3. Remove the valve cap from your tyre’s valve stem, then connect the pressure gauge (no hissing)
  4. Inflate to the set pressure and replace the valve cap
  5. Repeat for all tyres

What the experts say

It is essential that you inflate your tyres correctly. You will reduce wear and your tyres will last longer, reducing your tyre costs over the longer term. You’ll find you consume less fuel. Your drive will be more comfortable, and your handling will be surer with better braking. Taking five minutes at least once a month to check that your tyres are inflated correctly will save you money, and could save your life. Bridgestone says:

Tyres must be inflated according to the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendations. Consult your vehicle manual or tyre pressure information sticker.

Even here in Brisbane, when the temperature falls your tyre pressure will fall. If we’ve had a belter of summer followed by a sudden drop in temperature, your tyre pressures could be off by 5% to 10% of the recommended PSI.

Whether summer or winter, make sure you check tyre pressures regularly as part of your vehicle inspection routine.

Do your tyres keep losing pressure? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

front wheel drive

Get ahead with tyre changes – front-wheel drive rules

Rules on tyre change so you don’t compromise your on-road safety

Most cars are now front-wheel drive. This means that most of the work is performed ahead of you, across your front axle. On a front-wheel-drive vehicle, your front tyres usually suffer more tread wear than your rear tyres. This gives birth to the myth that ‘you only need to change the front tyres’.

What is a front-wheel-drive?

On a front-wheel-drive vehicle, all the hard work is done at the front. Traction. Steering. Cornering. Most of the braking. The bulk of the weight of the car is at the front, too. This is where the engine is. All this stress is placed on your vehicle’s front tyres. Thus, they wear faster than the rear tyres.

Why do people think you only need to change the front tyres on a front-wheel drive?

If it is your front tyres that are worn most, it’s an unnecessary expense to replace all four tyres. It’s the tread on the front tyres that is near the legal limit. Why waste two perfectly good tyres on the rear axle? Plus, the tyres at the front will wear the fastest. It makes sense to replace the front tyres, doesn’t it?

Why it isn’t safe to change the front tyres only

When you consider how a vehicle handles, there are usually three states when you corner. These are neutral steer, oversteer, and understeer. When you understand what causes these three steering states, you’ll understand why changing only the front tyres is a big mistake.

·      Neutral steer

When this happens, the front of your vehicle follows the path you are steering. You stay on the exact line you intend.

·      Oversteer

When you corner with oversteer, your vehicle follows a tighter line than you intend. This is caused by a lack of grip on the rear axle.

·      Understeer

The front slides a little wider than you intend.

Now, consider the vehicle you are driving. It is front-loaded, not just because it is front-wheel drive. All that weight and most of the moving parts, such as your transmission, are at the front of the vehicle. This makes it difficult to manufacture a neutral steer vehicle.

When you oversteer, you must reduce your steering angle. This is opposite of what your natural reaction will be. Naturally, you will either:

  • Brake hard, which transfers load away from the rear axle and reduces grip at the rear; or
  • Take your foot off the accelerator, which transfers weight to the front axle and reduces grip at the rear

It is much harder to control an oversteering vehicle than an understeering vehicle. So, manufacturers design vehicles to deliberately understeer.

As you can see, though most of the work is done at the front of a front-wheel drive vehicle, it’s better to have the grip at the back than the front.

What the experts say

A good driving style and good tyre maintenance regime will help to keep your tyres in good condition. As part of your tyre maintenance, you should rotate your tyres every 10,000 kilometres. This will ensure that your tyres wear evenly across both axles.

It is always best to change all four tyres at the same time. However, the rear tyres may not need replacing. If this is the case, you may not wish to replace all four tyres (it’s more expensive and wasteful, who would?). In this case, you should move your existing rear tyres to the front axle and put the new tyres on the rear axle. As Bridgestone says:

You should change all four tyres at the same time to maintain even tread wear. It is also recommended to rotate your tyres every 10,000km to ensure they wear out evenly.

Most motorists don’t rotate tyres. Most also put new tyres on the front axle when their front tyres need replacing. That’s a mistake. Don’t make it. Have the tyre shop switch your rear tyres to the front, and set the new tyres on the rear axle.

Are your tyres near their sell-by date? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Wheel Alignment

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

Your current wheel alignment regime may be dangerous and costly

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

What is wheel alignment?

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

Why do you need to align your wheels?

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

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

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

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

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

What causes wheels to become misaligned?

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

·      Road hazards

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

·      Tyre wear and tear

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

·      Minor accidents

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

What the experts say

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

part worn tyres

Part-worn tyres – a dangerous, false economy

Should you buy used tyres?

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

Part-worn tyres in Australia

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

Why would you buy part-worn tyres?

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

Are part-worn tyres dangerous?

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

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

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

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

When tyres are damaged, they become less safe

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

Do you really save money when you buy used tyres?

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

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

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

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Stopping distance

Rubber on the road and stopping distances

The part that your tyres play in braking

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

What is your stopping distance?

Stopping distance includes two elements.

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

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

How your tyres affect your stopping distance

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

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

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

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

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

Better tyres equal shorter stopping distances equal safer driving

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

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

Do premium tyres help reduce braking distance?

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

What tyres should you buy to reduce stopping distance?

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

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

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Tyre Myths

3 tyre myths that savvy Australian drivers ignore

Get value for money with these tyre tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tyre Myth #2: Expensive tyres are the best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Flat Tyres

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

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

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

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

What causes a flat tyre?

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

Underinflation

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

Tyre blowout

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

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

What are the dangers of driving on flat tyres?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In summary

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

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

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

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

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyres

What damage can potholes cause to tyres and vehicles?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can you avoid damage from potholes?

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

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

Getting your vehicle checked after hitting potholes

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

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

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

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

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

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