Tyre Safety - Tread Carefully

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Tyres are something we often take for granted, but they are actually one of the most important safety features of any vehicle. They impact general handling, the ability to maneuver around corners and provide grip in extreme conditions such as rain and snow.

Tyres should be considered an investment for your car, as the benefits of regularly replacing and maintaining tyres far outweigh the initial costs involved. For example properly inflated and maintained tyres can improve petrol mileage by up to 3.3 percent 1. With petrol prices as high as they are at the moment, this can mean a serious cash saving over the period of a year or more.

Tyre maintenance recommendations

Of course the most important contribution tyres make to a vehicle is with safety, as varying types and conditions of tyres make a big difference in handling ability and braking distance in wet and dry. That sort of difference can save lives.

How regularly you should check your tyres (and how to)

When you replace your tyres you should strive to replace all four tyres at once to even out tyre wear and tear. Don't forget about the spare tyre when replacing your primary tyres! It is not only a legal requirement to have a functional spare tyre it can actually save you in an emergency situation. Often you are able to get discount by purchasing multiple tyres so that is something worth taking advantage of.

Tyres have tyre wear indicators moulded into the grooves2of the tyre which allow you to check the tread depth of the tyre easily. When the tyre wear indicators are visibly worn down it is vital to replace your tyres. When you check the tread wear of your tyres it is also a good idea to check the inflation pressure at the same time.

Legal Requirements of Vehicle Tread Section 6 of the RTA Road Users Handbook3 specifies the technical standards your tyres (including the spare) need to meet in order to be considered roadworthy. The RTA guidelines require that your vehicles tyres must be in good condition with a tread of at least 1.5 mm in depth across the tread surface.

It is very important to follow these guidelines not only to avoid a major penalty from authorities but also to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers and other vehicles and pedestrians on the road.

How to look after your tyres.

Looking after your tyres should be a regular part of your car maintenance routine. It is recommended to keep the tyres inflated to the adequate PSI (as indicated by the manufacturer) in order to prevent overheating.

If you find that your tyres wear unevenly or there are cracks and bumps appearing on the sidewalls there may be an issue with the steering or suspension of your vehicle, and you should consult a car mechanic as soon as possible.

Tyre tread wear

Tyre safety is a critical component of any road safety strategy, and can save you money and reduce the prospect of a serious accident if basic guidelines are followed appropriately. Always ensure that you follow the recommended maintenance schedule provided by your car manufacturer and check the condition of your tyres regularly.

1 http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.shtml

2 http://www.toyotires.com.au/tyre-care-safety/tyre-safety.htm

3 http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/licence/index.html