One important aspect of daily maintenance check that every car and bike owner faces has to do is related to the tyres. These structures that fulfill the dynamic responsibilities of an automobile also take the entire load of the vehicle and rider; so, it becomes quintessential to keep track of the health of the tyres now and then to ensure a safe ride and prolong life of tyres. The following tyre maintenance tips will help you achieve just that .
Basic things one needs to know about tyre maintenance:
Before we delve deep into the maintenance of the tyres, let’s learn a few jargons that the garage people use to make us feel out of the league.
- Cold tyre pressure – this is the pressure of the tyre when the car is at a halt and it has exhausted all the heat that gets aggravated after driving on road.
- Hot tyre pressure – this is the pressure when the tyre is being driven, or that when the vehicle has just come to a halt (say, near a fuel station or a traffic signal, etc.)
- Tread – Tread is the passage in the tyre that makes actual contact with the road. There are various types of Tyre treads. While a directional tread has V-shaped pattern that provides a rough contact (for rough terrains and rocky slopes), the symmetrical tread has a straight seam that facilitates easy driving across smooth travails.
What, why and how do tyres get affected?
Before we have had time to realize, the day mean temperature is hot enough to fry eggs on roads. The tyres, which experience the frictional effects due to their rolling contact with the road, are the components that face the brunt of this heat.
Tyres are designed for specific pressure ranges, which would be influenced by the external environmental factors – the most significant of them being the temperature. So any variation in the prevalent temperature may affect the tyres, negatively.
Major problems with tyres:
There are many different problems that affect tyres in a drastic way. Some of the day-to-day hardships are detailed as follows:
Deflation and Punctures
With the prevalent road conditions in the city and in most parts of the country, the tyres get wounded very easily. Puncture is one common difficulty that would be the devilish nightmare of office goers. Punctures may be caused due to the vehicle being static for a very long time, constant high temperature exposure, long drives through tough terrains, or other external factors like thorns or nails.
It is always a good practice to park the vehicle at a place free of too much garbage and wastage, because there are high chances of sharp items being spilled around, which would target the rubber.
While the maximum pressure given in the manual indicates the endurance limit of the tyre, it is not a good practice to inflate it to the maximum level. The optimum pressure as specified must be taken care of and it should not go beyond or below a particular permitted tolerance range.
High cold pressures (over-inflation) in the tyres would result in their outer surface bulging out because of constant frictional contact with the road, and this would result in cracks near the treads. This could also create imbalance in the load bearing capacity of the vehicle, thereby making it unstable at full load drives.
Low cold pressures (under-inflation) would result in the outward protrusion of the surface, thereby creating chances of tear and burst of tyres. Low pressures also create the disadvantage of the ground clearance getting comparably lower which might create serious problems gradually.
One easier way to prolong the life of tyres is to rotate them periodically. Rotation refers to the change of tyres from their original position (that is, change of tyres from front to back, and vice-versa). This would ensure that the tyres are exposed to various pressure ranges, thereby making them resistant to faults. Standard tyre rotation periods are between 3,000 and 5,000 kilometers for bikes, and 8,000 to 10,000 kilometers for cars. Maintaining proper tyre pressures can help you increase mileage of your car or bike .
Moreover, in the case of cars, where the engines are located at the front part of the body, front pairs of tyres are usually made to withstand higher loads in comparison to that of the pair at the back. Hence, the periodical rotation would extend their life to a considerable extent.
This problem may occur due to blowouts or improper pressures across all tyres, and may cause fatal aftereffects to the vehicle as well as the driver. Wobbling may also be a result of misalignment in wheels. This could be felt during sharp curves especially and may affect the differentials of the vehicle.
Cracks and blisters
Cracks are the results of the causes discussed so far. No tyre can stay true to its ideal capabilities after the vehicle is being driven on road for so long. But the indication that the tyres need to be replaced can be examined and detected by using one’s fingers.
Try inserting a fingernail into the visible crack. If it does not penetrate, then the crack is not serious and there is absolutely no need of changing the tyres. If the nail can go into the crack but you cannot tear away a piece of tyre, it implies the tyre can be used for further driving at least for 500 to 800 kilometers more. But if the fingernail goes inside the crack and you could remove a piece of tyre that are as wide as two fingers (note that this is the width of two fingers and not the length), that is a clear indicator the tyres need to be replaced immediately.
Permanent wear and tear
This is the final stage of the tyre and it has reached a stage where it cannot tolerate more stresses applied to it. Hence, it becomes mandatory to change the tyres at or beyond this stage.
The coin test may be an easy way to see the tread wear of the tyre (in case of a car only). Normally, the tread should not be shallower than 1/16th of an inch or around 1.6 mm. The scales could be used to check this out, but for easier diagnostics, it is recommended that you use a 1 rupee coin to test it. If the Rupiah text in Hindi is visible (in case of older types of coins), then it is a warning signal that the tyre needs to be replaced or repaired.
So while looking around the building, take care of the basement also. Once the foundation is stronger, the entire construction gets a boost. The same applies to the dynamic devils – your cars and bikes. Don’t tire the tyres until the tyres tear apart. Happy riding! May the frictional force be with you!