Well summers are fast approaching. The month of March has been one of the hottest for the last many years. One can safely say that this trend of high temperatures is going to remain for the next 5-6 months. Many areas of the country are going to see 50 Celsius during the summers; some might see even more than that. One thing that often gets overlooked by car owners is the tyres of their vehicle. This goes for both the car owners as well as the bike riders. We will be focusing more on car tyres in this blog but some things are universal for both car and motorcycle tyres so keep reading even if you do not own a car.
Life of tyre
First thing to know is that your car tyres have a life. It has a road usage life as well as a shelf life. Although the life of a car tyre depends on a lot of things, but it is safe to say that under normal usage, the car tyres last from 4 to 5 years. Of course there are exceptions, but this is what a safe limit is mostly, but only if you haven’t abused your tyres.
So how to know how old your car tyres are? Well, for most imported tyres, it is easy to see the manufacturing date on the sidewall of the tyre. You will see 4 digits there. The first two digits represent the week of manufacturing, and the last two digits are the year of manufacturing.
But for local tyres it is a bit tricky. Local tyre manufacturers do not bother with the manufacturing date and there are other things you need to watch out for.
Cracks in rubber
If the tyres are old and passing their use by date, small cracks start to appear on the sidewalls of the tyre. It is also known as dry rot in some cases. The thing is that people think that just because they are not using their cars routinely, their car tyres are not getting used. But that is not the case. Once the tyre gets exposed to the sun, the rubber of the tyre starts to age. It is called ozone cracking. The UV starts to react with the rubber and it starts to dry up and become brittle and hard. This leads to cracks starting to appear on the sidewall and the surface of the tyre.
So even if you are not using your car, but the tyres are exposed to the sunlight, they are ageing and losing usable life. So thoroughly check the condition of the tyres especially if your car tyres are 3 or more years old.
But how to prevent that? Well make sure you either park your car in a garage where there is no direct sunlight, or if you are going to park your car for a long period of time, just make sure the tyres are wrapped properly so they are not exposed to the elements.
Air pressure in tyres
This is really important and something often gets neglected. The air expands when the tyre is under stress of high speed travelling combined with the heat of the road and summers. That can lead to the tyre blowing up. The tyre blow out is pretty common in Pakistan during summers especially on the motorways where speeds are high. The chances of the blow out multiplies when the tyre is old. Basically the structure of the tyre loses its integrity with the passage of time and under pressure it just gives up. And your car losing control at 120 km/h is not something you want on your trip to your susral. People who travel frequently on motorways often see carcasses of blown out and torn rubber pieces of shredded tyres on the tarmac.
Tyres should neither be underinflated nor overinflated. The best way to deal with the confusion is to check the car’s owners manual and only use the recommended tyre pressure as recommended by the manufacturer. Some cars also have tyre inflation guide stickers in the car’s doorsill. Properly inflated tyres mean that they will provide best possible grip on the road and will wear uniformly over time.
Make sure the air valve is also in good condition and won’t leak air under pressure.
You can accelerate the tyre blow out with overloading. This is especially important for public transportation as well as the commercial haulers. Tyres have load ratings. Exceeding those ratings under normal conditions is bad. Add Pakistani summer heat and poor road conditions to the mix and you’ve got a disaster at your hand. By overloading your heavy vehicle, you are not only risking getting stranded in a middle or nowhere, but overloading also damages the roads and infrastructure. People who often travel on roads like GT Road have seen and experienced the massive ripples and humps and grooves in the middle of the roads. Those cause by overloading vehicles.
Give your car some rest
It is increasingly becoming normal for people to travel from Karachi to Islamabad or vice versa in one stretch thanks to better motorways. And that means a lot of high speed travelling. And that takes a toll on not only the passengers and the driver but also on the vehicle. So chill a bit and take a break. Give your car some rest.
So sum it all up, change old tyres on time, avoid overspeeding and overloading, keep the tyre pressure in check, and keep an eye on the general condition of the tyres. Until next time, happy motoring.