Tyre quality is often overlooked as an important aspect of driving. Tyres are responsible for giving your car a sound grip on the road surface, to allow good steering and cornering, so don’t skimp on safety!
Why is it important to maintain the right tyre pressure?
Basically, over-inflated or under-inflated tyres can cause problems for you and your car.
So, which is worse, over-inflated or under-inflated tyres?
Under-inflated tyres require more fuel to overcome the friction or resistance to moving. Have you ever noticed that a flat back tyre (usually the drive tyres) makes the car slow down and you need to increase the acceleration to maintain the same speed? To save fuel and your money, make sure the drive tyres are maintained at the correct pressures.
The front tyres are usually the steering tyres and if they are over-inflated or under-inflated it makes steering much more difficult. It can be very dangerous if you can’t steer well.
Check to see if your car is rear wheel drive, front wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
How do you know what the correct tyre pressures are for your car?
Usually the information is in your handbook, or on a plate under the hood or on the inside of a front door. If you can’t find either of these, go visit a tyre specialist! North Point Cars can help.
Do you check your tyres? You should at least once a month. Do it when you wash your car or are filling up with fuel. Look for uneven wear, possible cuts in the tread or much worse, in the wall of the tyre. If you travel through building sites, check that you haven’t picked up a nail or screw that will cause a slow leak and ultimately, a flat tyre. If you have had to brake suddenly and rapidly, you could have produced flat spots on your tyres which can be quite dangerous.
And always remember to check the spare tyre too! The last thing you want is a flat spare tyre when you need it!
Sometimes the manufacturer’s recommendation may be for different front and rear tyre pressures.
Weather conditions, road conditions and load conditions can also affect the tyre pressure required. Always ask a professional for expert advice if driving in unfamiliar terrain, unusual weather conditions or towing a van.
What happens if I put different size tyres on my car?
It is always best to put the manufacturer’s recommended size tyres on the vehicle. The speedometer is calibrated to that size tyre and if you change them to larger tyres, you could find yourself going faster than the speed indicated. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a speeding ticket!
Smaller tyres will make the car work harder to maintain the same speed. You may find that you are filling up the fuel tank more often! You are also putting more stress on the motor which could cause other expensive problems.
Putting different size tyres on the drive axle will cause excessive stress on the drive train and eventually, will require expensive and extensive repairs.
North Point Cars are happy to assist when next you need to purchase new tyres for your car. Drop in to 24 Stuart Highway, Ciccone and ask Dave or Steve.
What do I do if I get a flat tyre?
Find a safe place to stop your car. Preferably on a flat hard surface off the road. Make sure that you put the hand-brake on.
Ensure your safety at all times! If the tyre to be replaced is on the same side that traffic is passing you, it probably is not safe to be changing the tyre there. Find a safer option!
If you are going to change it yourself, make sure that you are safe and follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s handbook. Remember to get the flat tyre repaired immediately! You may need it sooner than you think.
If you have an Automobile Club membership, it might be a good time to utilise their help. Just make sure that you have your membership card ready when you ring! Not a member, click on the link below that encompasses your residential address:
- Northern Territory: AANT
- South Australia: RAA
- Victoria: RACV
- New South Wales: NRMA
- Australian Capital Territory: NRMA
- Queensland: RACQ
- Western Australia: RAC
- Tasmania: RACT
Why do tyres need to be balanced?
Any time you get new tyres or have a tyre repaired, having them balanced is important. Unbalanced tyres tend to vibrate as they rotate. You might feel this through the steering wheel. The car is drivable, but it can cause undue stress on steering or linkage components which can be dangerous. It may also result in expensive repairs!
Balanced tyres will wear evenly and will last longer than unbalanced tyres, saving you money in the long run and keeping you and your car safe.
Remember that when your car has its annual check for registration renewal, your tyres are checked too!