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Tire Tech

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Tire Maintenance

Air Pressure

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The most important aspect to tire maintenance is air pressure.  Air in your tires is what supports the loads, keeps the internal tire temperature stable and provides the handling for which your car was deigned.  In addition, lower air pressure leads to increased fuel consumption and lowers the tread life of the tires.  Theres are all very good reasons to check and adjust the pressures in your tires regularly.  The correct air pressure is indicated in you vehicles owner's manual or on a placard on the vehicle (usually in the driver's door jam, but sometimes may be in the fuel door or the glove box).  Tire pressures should be checked and adjusted when the vehicle's tires are cool and at ambient temperature.   Ideally, you should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month.

 

Tire rotation

Tire rotation

Since vehicles and road construction do not wear tires evenly, it is recommended that you rotate your tires between every 6,000km and 10,000km.  Those who drive mainly in an urban setting or drive aggressively should rotate their tires more frequently than those who are frequently cruising at highway speeds.  Your vehicle's owner's manual will provide you with the best rotation procedure for your vehicle.  Please note that not all vehicles can perform a tire rotation.  High performance vehicles with different front and rear tire (and rim) sizes cannot rotate their tires.

 

Alignment

Your vehicles alignment, or rather mis-alignment, (yes, you align the vehicle and not the tires) is one of the important factors that can contribute to rapid or uneven tire wear.  The alignment should be checked once every year.  Make sure you have all 4 wheels checked, even if not all angles are adjustable.

 

Breaking in a new tire

A tire, like most mechanical items, should be broken in to maximise its performance and operating life.  When a tire is manufactured, a lubricant is applied to the mould to facilitate tire extraction.  This very thin film of lubricant prevents the tire from achieving optimal traction.  By driving smoothly and avoiding aggressive acceleration, cornering or breaking, the mould release lubricant will wear off.  In addition, the heat cycling (multiple heating and cooling of the tires) will finish ‘curing’ the tires and stabilize the rubber compound.  Racers usually do this with their tires.

Another thing to consider when installing new tires is that you are replacing worn tires with new tires that have a much deeper tread.  Since a taller tread block creates squirm, it is normal for the new tires to feel a little ‘loose’ until the tires wear a little.  This condition is felt much more when changing over to winter tires, whose tread blocks are even taller and the rubber compound is softer.  Give yourself a few hundred kilometres to acclimatize yourself to new tires before judging their performance.

 

Simply by performing these basic steps, your will maximise the life of your tires, maintain optimal driving conditions and use less fuel.

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