Make your car tyres last longer

Looking after your car tyres can save you money and improve the driving experience.

Make your car tyres last longer

Looking after your car can be expensive – especially when you have to replace the tyres – so it pays to look after them in order to save you money in the long run. It also makes for a better driving experience and can result in better fuel economy.

Here are some simple suggestions to make your car tyres last longer and maintain the quality and performance of your car.

Check your tyre pressure

Regularly checking the air pressure of your tyres decreases the chance of irregular wear and tear that can lead to a blowout. Making sure your tyres are inflated to the right pressure also improves the steering and braking performance of your car.

So, the next time you fill up your fuel tank, take the time to check the air pressure of your tyres and remember to do it on a regular basis. Oh, and don’t forget to check the spare tyre as well – because you never know when you’ll need it next.

Check your wheel balance

Does your steering wheel wobble at high speeds? If so, you may need to have your wheels balanced. Unbalanced wheels not only cause unwanted steering wobble, but can also affect suspension and brakes.

Wheels are balanced by attaching small weights to the rims of the wheel, and should be carried out every 6–12 months by a professional.

Wheel alignment

While you’re doing the balancing, you may as well have your wheel alignment checked. Poor wheel alignment leads to incorrect wear on tyres, meaning you’ll be replacing them more often. Money issues aside, and perhaps more importantly, it also causes steering problems and a more difficult driving experience.

Once again, this task is best performed every 6–12 months by a professional.

Tyre rotation

Your tyres wear at different rates depending on the position they’re in. So, to get the most out of them, it’s best to rotate your tyres regularly. It’s always recommended that you have this done professionally as part of your regular service, but if you want to try it for yourself, here’s how it’s done.

Images from www.bridgestone.com.au

Tightness of wheel nuts

If you do happen to do your own tyre rotation, make sure your wheel nuts are tight, so your wheels don’t wobble and, worse case scenario, fall off and fly past you whilst you’re driving (been there). Check the tightness of your wheel nuts on a regular basis.

Match your tyre types

Tyres with different tread patterns, made of different types of rubber or with slightly different dimensions can cause issues with automatic traction control, wheel alignment and the overall performance of your vehicle. So try to make sure the tyres on your car all match, i.e. that they are the same brand and model.

Check for nails

It may sound silly, but you’d be amazed at how often a nail or screw is responsible for a flat tyre. Whilst you would expect a nail to cause a puncture immediately, more often than not they cause slow leaks and you could be driving around with one in your tyre for quite a while. Every so often, conduct a visual check for nails in your tyres. If spotted early enough you can save a lot by only paying for a puncture repair instead of a new tyre.

So, keep an eye on your tyres and take care of them, because doing the little things will save you big time in the long run.





    COMMENTS

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    24th Jul 2015
    10:23am
    The treadwear rating on a tyre is somewhat of an indicator of how long a tyre will last in regards to distance traveled. The rating itself can be found on the outside of the tyre, along with traction and temperature ratings. A rating of 200 will normally mean the tyre will last longer than one with a rating of 100, although probably not twice as long as the higher number may suggest. A lower rating means a softer component in the tyre, but this does not necessarily mean a quieter, more comfortable ride. My wife's car's tyres are rated at 340 and mine at 400 and my car seems to ride more smoothly and is noticeably quieter. Again, it comes down to personal preference, but when tyres are the only thing that is between you and the road they are a commodity which should be bought with safety in mind. Do your research and look for a supplier who is trustworthy. Tyres are a very competitively priced product, so shop around for a good quote and make sure fitting, valve stems, and a wheel alignment are included in the price. Good luck ad happy motoring.
    Anonymous
    24th Jul 2015
    10:39am
    Good advice Thanks Fast Eddie
    Hasbeen
    24th Jul 2015
    11:09am
    For a lot of us oldies who don't do a lot of miles, you don't want your tyres to last too long. Once tyres are about 6 years old the rubber is going hard, & the grip they offer, particularly on wet roads at highway speeds is greatly reduced. Tyres should never be kept on a car under any circumstances after 8 years old. Check, or have your mechanic check the date of manufacturer, on the side wall, if you don't know how old your tyres are.

    My old Triumph sports cars only do about 3000 kilometres a year, so I have to replace their tyres when less than 1/3Rd worn.

    I once had a huge slide on a straight section of the Sunshine Coast expressway in the wet, in a mates classic Triumph. Pure luck it stayed on the road, but bad management that it happened. The tyres were 11 years old I found later, & as hard as granite. Way past their use by date, & should have been replaced much earlier. They looked great, but were deadly.
    PlanB
    3rd Aug 2018
    11:50am
    Yes my tyres look great but I have to get them replaced as they are almost 8 years old now --
    Blossom
    24th Jul 2015
    11:15am
    This article doesn't mention that tyre pressures should be checked when tyres are cold as it changes when the tyres are hot If you do them to the recommended psi when they are not they will be too low when the tyres are cold.
    We were advised of this by a Tyre Centre and also a Service Station attendant.
    Adrianus
    26th Jul 2015
    7:58pm
    Blossom, very good point. My tyres' pressure varies significantly when they get hot.

    24th Jul 2015
    11:24am
    Nothing is mentioned in the article about hard driving reducing tyre life.
    High speed reduces tyre life, so slowing down increases it.
    Hard cornering also reduces tyre life via scrubbing, so slow down on sharp corners.
    And my pet hate that makes me cringe when I watch it happen?
    People with power steering on their vehicles who wind the steering from lock to lock, whilst the car is stationary! - usually whilst trying to park.
    That really rips the rubber off!!
    Always move the vehicle forward or backward by a small amount, while you are turning the wheel sharply, it will reduce the tyre scrubbing effect immensely.
    Adrianus
    26th Jul 2015
    8:02pm
    Aaron I always move when steering. What I find wears tyres are the roundabouts. I always go around 5klms below the designated speed. Don't know if it helps much though.

    24th Jul 2015
    11:34am
    Oh thanks for the tips Leon. I don't/can't do any of them and just have to trust my mechanic .......really good to at least know what should be done.
    Good informative article, thanks.Sal
    Tom Tank
    24th Jul 2015
    3:35pm
    Some very good advice in the above posts.
    One thing to keep in mind is that rubber does not like heat. If tyres under underinflated the walls of the tyre flex more and heat builds up. I was advised when doing Advanced Driving courses to inflate the tyres to the maximum recommended which not only prolongs the life of the tyre but ensures the grooves will dispel water more effectively and eliminates the possibility of the tyre ever rolling off the rim under hard cornering.
    I have taken that advice and do get greater "mileage" out of the tyres with good consistent handling. The ride may be a little rougher but not unpleasantly so.
    The car manufacturer's recommendation for tyre pressure is often based upon achieving the "softest" ride without concern for tyre life.
    I hope this contributes something to the discussion.
    Anonymous
    24th Jul 2015
    4:55pm
    Tom, what you have been advised and said is all too true. A couple of psi above the vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure is a pretty good rule of thumb, and, as Blossum stated, pressure measurements should be done before tyres heat from rolling friction.
    Hawkeye
    24th Jul 2015
    11:42pm
    Not quite true when the manufacturers max recommendation is 38psi.
    Twice lately, I have ended up with an undriveable car because, first a tyre dealer, and second a car dealer, handed over cars inflated to 38psi. In both cases (one a Mazda 6 and the other a Toyota Corolla), there was no road feel and no self-centering in the steering. The amount of concentration required just to keep them on the road was dangerously fatiguing on the drive home to my country town.
    The following day I reduced the pressures to 30psi (same as I have used all my life) and in both cases the cars transformed into a pleasure to drive.

    Toyota's max recomended pressure for the Corolla is 38psi, and for the Mazda the tyre dealer/manufacture recommended 38-42psi. Both are bloody ridiculous and dangerous.
    Sen.Cit.90
    25th Jul 2015
    4:07pm
    Tom Tank;
    Years ago I too did an Advanced Drivers Course at Calder Race Track Melbourne. We were also told to over-inflate our tyres for safer braking! I have followed the advice for 30 + Years without problems.
    The problems of Hawkeye surprise me??
    Anonymous
    27th Jul 2015
    10:27am
    There's a moderately high pressure for tyres that is ideal. It's usually around 32 psi.
    Higher pressures greatly improve fuel economy, an important feature of tyre pressure.
    However, the 38 psi seems a little extreme. I have never personally seen any manufacturers recommendation for this pressure.
    This could have been recommended because of the particular tyre design fitted, where that level of pressure is needed to keep the tread profile correct.
    Over-inflation is as bad as under-inflation, because the tyre loses a substantial degree of flexibility when inflated to excessive pressure.
    The bottom line is - keep checking your tyre pressures - and the tread. Many people only check tyre pressures once or twice a year.
    You need to check them monthly, tyres lose pressure via osmosis (air leaking through the rubber compound) and through valves that fail to seal 100%.
    The advice about checking the tread regularly is important, it's amazing the amount of screws and nails dropped on the road, particularly by builders and tradies.
    Broken glass will not cause much problem to tyres, but pieces of metal, screws and nails are a tyres worst enemy.
    Strummer
    25th Jul 2015
    10:58am
    I was told by an employee of Bob Jane T-marts that parking long-term on concrete (caravans, motorhomes etc.) can significantly reduce tyre life. Best to place carpet tiles, rubber mats or wooden planks under the tyres to protect them from temperature variation.
    Anonymous
    27th Jul 2015
    10:34am
    I would hazard an educated guess that the temperature problem that affects tyres placed on concrete would mostly be the reflected heat from the concrete.
    UV light radiation is the tyre killer, keep a tyre in direct sunlight constantly, and it will harden and deteriorate very rapidly.
    An old farmer I knew when I was much younger, would place all his implements and tractors in fully-enclosed sheds between seeding and harvesting (and vice versa), raise all the wheels off the ground by placing the implements and tractors on blocks, and then fully cover all the tyres with hessian bags.
    These were important and well-learned factors that ensured he never had to replace tyres due to age, or deformation before they were fully worn out.
    PlanB
    3rd Aug 2018
    12:01pm
    I grimace when I see drivers doing full lock when stationary on my bitumen driveway as it is a good way to wear holes in it -- PLUS what it is doing to THEIR tyres too