There are millions of cars on the road right now. From tiny commuter cars to huge pick-up trucks, they all have a few simple things in common, regardless of what they look like or how they are used: an engine that generates the power and tyres to ride on. When it comes to your vehicle, one of the most important aspects is the tyres, and though they might not last forever, you can do a lot of different things to make them last that little bit longer, especially for cars in Malaysia that have to handle ever-changing road conditions.
It can be costly to look after your car, especially when you have to change the tyres, so it pays to look after them to save you money in the long run as it also allows for a great driving experience which can contribute to a better economy of fuel. Here are some quick tips for making your car tyres last longer and maintaining your car’s quality and performance.
1. Maintain Correct Tyre Pressure
Checking and managing the right tyre pressure is the most significant part of maintaining the tyres of a vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you the right tyre pressure. After continuous driving, the tyres lose air pressure and need to be reinflated every month or so. For all four tyres, check the pressure on a fortnightly basis. The best time to do so is when the air is cold in the morning. You also need to keep a watch on the spare wheel’s PSI level monthly. You may also opt to fill your tyres with nitrogen, which only needs to be tested once every two months.
2. Check for nails
It might sound dumb, but you will be surprised at how much a flat tyre is triggered by a nail or screw. Although you would expect a nail to instantly cause a puncture, they cause slow leaks more often than not and you might be driving around for quite a while with one in your tyre. Conduct a visual search ever so often for nails in your tyres. You can save a great deal if found early enough by just paying for a puncture patch instead of a new tyre. So keep an eye on your tyres and take care of them, because in the long run, doing the little stuff will save you a lot of time.
3. Wheel alignment
By standing in front of the parked car (or behind it, if you are testing the rear tyres), check for camber, the tilt of the tyre toward or away from the frame of the car. The tread will first wear away on the inside of the tyre if the tyres tip-in, that is, the tops are closer together than the bottoms. There will be more wear on the outside if they tip out if the bottoms are closer than the tops.
The toe, or stance of the tyres, in the driveway, is also very easy to verify. Think of the tyres as feet on a single axle, either front or rear. The fronts of the tyres are where the toes will be in any situation. Toe-in means that, like standing pigeon-toed, the fronts of the tyres are closer together, and the tread will wear from the outside. Toe out means that, similar to a ballet stance, the back of the tyres are closer together, and the tyres can wear from the inside. The wearing of toe-out tyres is often referred to as “feathering.”
It’s time to get your tyres aligned to improve their usefulness if you find your tyres are slightly off-angle or if you see the tell-tale tread wear. You may want to have those tyres rotated while you’re at it, too, which we’ll cover next.
This goes without saying, but car owners should still be reminded that rotating the tyres ensures they can wear more uniformly. And even wear, no matter what kind of tyre you’re using is the secret to getting the most out of a collection of tyres.
Rotating the tyres involves taking all of them off and shifting each of them to the car’s new location. Depending on whether it’s a front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive car, rear tyres wear differently than front tyres. Depending on the number of turns made in either direction or how carefully you parallel park, left tyres wear differently than the right side. In our time, we’ve probably all scraped a right tyre or two; rotating the tyres means not scratching the same poor tyre against the curb over and over again.
The rubber is rotated every 10,000 to 15,000 km by most automakers and tyre manufacturers. If your car has a full-size spare—a tyre that looks like the one on the car and not a little black doughnut for emergency use—then make sure the fifth tyre is still included in the rotation. That will help to minimize wear quite a bit on each tyre and give you the full life for your tyre collection.
5. Match your tyre types
Tyres made of various types of rubber or with slightly different dimensions with different tread patterns can cause problems with automatic traction control, wheel alignment and your vehicle’s overall performance. So try to make sure they all fit the tyres on your car, i.e. that they are the same brand and model.
6. Inspect Treads Regularly
To easily note the wear and tear as it happens, familiarize yourself with the tread on the tyre when it is new. If they are worn, you should be careful to watch for uneven tread wear, as you might cut your hand with the exposed wire under the frame. If the tyre has mostly worn treads around the sides, it signifies an underinflated tyre, while over-inflation is indicated by worn treads in the middle. Also susceptible to punctures, leakage and blowouts are tyres that are worn out. New tyres come with a threshold mark, meaning that the tyres are fully worn out and require a replacement.
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