Whether heading to the coast, or into the mountains, being aware of road safety by making sure your vehicle – and most importantly, your tyres, are up for the trip.
“The first line of safety on the road is your vehicle’s tyres,” says Yvette Govender, Marketing and Business Development Director at Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, manufacturer of the popular Dunlop Tyre brand. “It is the only part of your car that touches the road.
Tyreplus provided these three things to check before making a trip near or far:
Tread depth refers to measurement between the top of the tread rubber – the part of the tyre that makes contact with the road – and the bottom of the tyre’s deep grooves. It’s crucial that you check the tread depth of each tyre on your vehicle. Having a sufficient tread depth ensures that your car can grip the road properly, especially in wet conditions.
The legal minimum tread depth in South Africa is 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference.
If you are involved in an accident and your car has tyres with a tread depth below the legal limit, your insurance claim could be deemed invalid. As a result, your insurer could refuse to pay out for any repairs needed. When fined for poor tyres, fines will be issued per tyre that is deemed invalid.
How to measure your tread depth
To measure your tyre tread depth, you can use a special device called a tread depth gauge. This tool is designed to give a quick and accurate measurement of the depth of an individual tyre groove. From this, you will be able to determine whether or not your tyres need replacing.
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Without the correct pressure in each tyre, you could run the risk of not being in total control of your car. Under or over inflated tyres can cause unpredictable vehicle behaviour, and they can also affect handling and grip which can impact you when driving. This is especially dangerous when you are driving at high speeds, such as on motorways.
Incorrectly inflated tyres also waste money because they can increase fuel consumption and have even proven to wear out more quickly.
Working out the correct pressure
To find out the correct pressure for your tyres, you can refer to your car’s manual. This should be able to tell you the pressure required when loaded or unloaded. Depending on the model of your car you may also be able to find this information on a sticker situated on the inside door on the driver’s side.
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Wear and tear
To keep your tyres in good condition, you should get into the habit of inspecting them regularly.
When you’re checking them over, make sure you look at the surface of the tyre and use your hand to feel for anything that might be embedded into the rubber. You should also inspect them for cuts, bulges and signs of cracking on the sidewalls.
If you notice anything unusual or something you’re not sure of, immediately get it looked at by a professional and replaced if needed.
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