Proper maintenance of tires would not only enhance the tire life, but would also help them resist punctures, offer superior performance and a comfortable and quiet ride quality. Following are the ways to take good care of your tires:
- Maintaining optimum tire pressure
- Proper wheel alignment
- Proper wheel balancing
- Regular tire rotation
- Regularly checking for cuts, abrasions etc.
- Do not exceed the loading index
Wheel alignment ensures proper handling of the vehicle and even tread-wear. A vehicle is said to be properly aligned when all the suspension and steering components are functioning soundly and wheel assemblies are running straight and true.
Signs that stress towards wheel alignment include uneven tread wear, changed steering response and vehicle pulling to one side.
Improper wheel balancing is caused by uneven weight distribution on the wheels. This leads to uneven rotation of tires, thus, resulting in annoying vibration, tire wobbling and uneven tread wearing. Wheel balancing ensures that the correct weights are added to the tire rims to balance them and provide a smooth ride quality.
It is important to get the wheels balanced every time you get new tires fitted.
Tire rotation is the practice of moving the tires of a car from one position to another in order to ensure even tread-wear.
Tires on one axle can wear faster than those on the other one due to different driving habits, frequent braking or uneven weight distribution. In order to ensure even wearing of all 4 tires, it is recommended to practice tire-rotation between axles after every 5000 kms.
Keeping an optimum air pressure is one of the easiest and most effective ways of taking proper care of the tires. It offers following benefits:
- SafetyUnder / Over inflated tires are usually one of the most prominent reasons for tire blow-outs. Since they do not offer an optimized contact patch with the tarmac the braking efficiency of the vehicle decreases.
- Tire LifeAppropriate air pressure ensures a uniform contact patch with the tarmac. This helps in providing optimum performance and leads to uniform wearing, thus, enhancing tire tread life.
- EconomyUnder / Over inflated tires require more power to be brought into motion, and thus consume more fuel.
- HandlingTires with correct pressure ensure precise handling and steering response.
- Confident gripTires with correct air pressure offer confident wet and dry grip as they grip the tarmac well.
Nitrogen is an inert gas and its chemical nature keeps it non-reactive. Hence, it does not exhibit any changes in property with change in temperature range. So, a tire inflated with nitrogen is less likely to deflate quickly due to low permeability of the gas. Also, it helps in keeping the tire cool, especially over long highway runs.
Tires usually have a shelf life of about 5 years. With time, they get exposed to variable temperatures and UV-rays. This creates micro-cracks on the tread and sidewall. Such a tire, when used, can cause frequent punctures and blow-outs. So, it is important to use the spare tire as a regular tire with proper tire rotations. If not, then the spare tire, even if unused, must be replaced after 5 years.