Many people do not give the state of their vehicle’s tyres a second thought until something goes wrong and they end up with costly or even tragic results.
According to Rassie Erasmus, salesperson at PBG Tyres in Polokwane, worn tyres cause serious problems with control, braking and drivability.
Erasmus explains how the size of the tread on the road affects the safety of the vehicle:
Heat build-up. As the tyre wears down, there is less space for air to flow between the grooves of the tread to cool the tyres and it heats up. Heat is the enemy of rubber and a major cause of tyre failure.
Punctures. A thick tread protects the tyre casing from punctures. If the tread is worn, it is easier for a piece of glass or metal to break through to puncture the tube. If the puncture causes a sudden tyre burst, the driver could lose control of the steering, which could cause an accident.
Hydroplaning. Deep treads ‘bite’ into water to keep the vehicle on the road. Worn tyre tread can cause the wheels to skid across a wet surface. This is called hydroplaning and can cause major accidents as the driver does not have control over a vehicle in a skid.
Air leakage. Tyres with worn tread are much more likely to leak air and lose air pressure. This can affect steering, braking and fuel economy.
“Any tyre in bad shape affects the way the vehicle handles. The larger the surface of the tread that makes contact with the road, the safer you will be. A worn tyre can cause skidding, affect braking effectiveness, and influence safe cornering,” says Erasmus.
Spokesperson for Arrive Alive, Johan Jonck, also stresses the importance of tyre safety.
“The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) recently found that nearly 20% of accidents involving minibuses have tyre failure as a contributing factor. It won’t help if you have the best brakes on the market, but your tyres are worn,” he says.
Arrive Alive tyre safety tips:
Tyres should always be replaced with the same size designation as recommended by the vehicle or tyre manufacturer.
Tyre brand, size and tread pattern must be the same on each axle.
All four tyres should be of the same size, speed rating and construction (radial or cross ply).
Never assume that the tyres on your vehicle are correct, even if you have newly purchased it. Unless you bought it new from an authorised dealer, your vehicle may already be fitted with potentially lethal tyres.
Over and under-inflation reduces tyre to road contact and shortens tyre life. The tyre responds in the same manner to under inflation as to overloading.