Tyre Tips and Recommendations
How to increase the life of your tyres is solely dependent on the ability and willingness of the vehicle owner in maintaining correct tyre pressures on a regular basis. These tips will assist you to set up a simple, and regular, tyre check, thus ensuring longer tyre life and, and more important, you and your families safety.
Are You Using The Correct 4x4 Tyre Relevant To Your Application?
When ordering 4x4 or Light Truck tyres, please ensure you take your normal load and general road conditions and usage into consideration. Tyres sizes are sometimes available in both Light Truck/Commercial and P-metric (Passenger) spec. Passenger tyres (which are generally cheaper) are designed for light-load applications and mild gravel & tarred roads, while, in contrast, LT/Commercial spec tyres are robustly made for heavy loads and tough off-road conditions. Fitting a Passenger-carcass tyre to a heavy-use off road 4x4 will result in low mileage, punctures and ceaseless tyre troubles.
Most tyre damage is due to, or aggravated by incorrect tyre inflation pressures. In addition, it is a major factor in the road holding and stability of your vehicle. Correct pressures are related to speed, load and vehicle performance and are vital for even braking, maximum grip and tyre life. Pressure checks should be conducted fortnightly, whilst tyres are COLD, with an accurate tyre pressure gauge. DO NOT inflate/deflate tyres whilst tyres are hot, as pressure does increase during operation. Tyre pressures should be the same for both tyres on the same axle.
Prolonged under inflation causes excessive flexing and deterioration of the casing with excessive shoulder wear on either side of the tread area. Damage to under inflated tyres occurs to the cord body, inside the tyre, and is not visible unless the tyre is demounted from the rim.
Uncomfortable and unstable ride with reduced tread surface and road contact, resulting in excessive wear in the centre on the tread area. Many over inflated tyres suffer from impact fractures to the tread area, due to insufficient flexibility of the casing during impact. Damage is not immediately visible unless the tyre is demounted from the rim.
Valve caps act as a supplementary air seal and MUST be fitted at all times. Failure to fit valve caps allows dirt to enter into the valve core which will result in air loss due to the inner core spring malfunctioning and not allowing the valve to seal.
As previously mentioned, tyre pressures increase during running, which is normal. NEVER adjust tyre pressures whilst tyres are hot as the tyre manufacturers allow for this increase when designing the tyre. Nitrogen is highly recommended as a substitute for ordinary air.
Tyre Damage and Maintenance
When a tyre has suffered a violent impact against an obstacle (kerb, pothole etc) the tyre must be inspected by a competent tyre technician, as interior damage may be present, which will lead to sudden tyre failure. All FIRESTONE steel belted passenger tyres are issued with Firestone’s FREE TYRE Damage Guarantee. (See THE BRIDGESTONE / FIRESTONE explanation and terms and conditions of the Tyre Damage Guarantee) The new eco friendly Bridgestone Ecopia range of passenger tyres are now also issued with the FREE TYRE Damage Guarantee.
Abnormal Tread Wear
Abnormal tread wear will be visible and be an indication of a mechanical defect of the vehicle. Each wear pattern or combinations of wear patterns, will indicate definite mechanical problems i.e. incorrect inflation, incorrect wheel alignment, shock absorber failure, worn stabiliser bushes, play in steering mechanism, high spotting on brakes and tread separation on tyre. It will be necessary to have these faulty items checked and corrected or replaced/repaired.
Depending on the roads that you normally drive on, the wheel alignment of your vehicle is a vital and necessary item to maintain. We highly recommend that alignment be set every 8,000 to 10,000 klm’s. Driver fatigue can and is caused by misalignment of your vehicles suspension, especially on an extended trip.
All tyres must and should be rotated every 8,000 to 10,000 klm’s. A static and or dynamic unbalance of the wheel/tyre assembly, besides promoting abnormal tyre wear, will cause handling and vibration problems.
Tyres should be rotated every 8,000 to 10,000 klm’s. A detailed recommendation on all vehicle types of rotation will be released soon. Watch this space!
Wheel Nut/Lug Torque
When removing and refitting a tyre/wheel assembly, ensure that wheel nuts or studs are tightened to the correct torque measurement. DO NOT use air powered equipment to loosen or tighten wheel nuts or bolts. The use of a standard wheel spanner must be utilised and thereafter the nuts or bolts may be tightened/torqued with an accurate torque wrench.
Many high-performance rear-wheel drive cars, especially BMW and Mercedes sedans, have what are called a "staggered” setup, meaning that the rear wheels are an inch wider than the fronts. This provides for a wider wheel and tyre, and therefore a larger contact patch on the rear drive wheels. This is a wonderful thing, but it requires some attention to detail by the owner. For one thing, it means that the wheels cannot be rotated from back to front, since while the front wheels will fit just fine on the rear, putting the rear wheels on the front will not fit properly and will probably cause the tyres to rub against the suspension. In addition, the front and rear tyres will probably be two different sizes, meaning that care must be taken when buying and mounting tyres to ensure that the sizes are correct and that the correct tyres go on in the correct positions.
All of the above points are extremely important in obtaining maximum mileage and service from your tyres. Should you be experiencing problems, and believe that we have not covered it above, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org as we specialise in all the above.
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