Tyres and even wheels might not have a similar glam quotient as the engine or a swoopy front end, but they matter as much as anything under the hood or over it. Wheels and tyres, in fact, play a significant role in the way a car handles or drives, and a lot depends on their maintenance. So, how does one go about keeping them in fine fettle? Let’s take a look.
Pay close attention
Or, in other words, regularly – and thoroughly – inspect your vehicle’s tyres. Check the contact surface and the tyre walls for irregularities, if any. If you do spot something that needs immediate attention, replace it with the spare tyre. Take a close look at the wheel rim as well. If it is the victim of a large crack, it might need to be replaced.
The thing about treads
You could always use a one-rupee coin to check for tread-wear, the way it has been done for decades, but nearly every tyre that is produced has a tread wear indicator marked by an arrow on the outer wall. If the surface of your tyre is worn down to the level of the indicator, it means it is time to get a replacement. It would also be a good idea to invest in a tread-depth measuring device. If the device shows a read of less than 2mm of tread depth, you should call up your tyre dealer immediately.
Keep a tread-depth gauge handy.
We recommend checking tyre pressure each time you prepare to head out for a long drive (The recommended tyre pressure, by the way, can be found on the inside of the driver’s side door-sill) but that, in itself, is not enough. Even if your car is mostly confined within city limits, it makes sense to check the tyre pressure every couple of weeks. That’s because improper inflation could lead to uneven wear and, worse, a tyre-burst. Also, for longer journeys, bumping up the pressure an extra pound is advisable.
Check tyre pressure once in two weeks
Rotating tyres is an important aspect of car maintenance. Doing so regularly helps tyres last longer because it evens out the wear on tyres. Ideally, tyres should be rotated every 10,000km, but that figure would vary, depending on whether you have a front-, rear-or all-wheel-drive car.
Wheel alignment and balancing
You’ve probably encountered it before. You are driving peacefully back home, and you realise that your car is drifting towards one side of the road. Now, in most cases, it could be a puncture, or maybe you need to fill some air into the tyres. On the other hand, it could also be a sign that your wheels need realignment. So, the wise thing to do is to pop into a wheel-alignment centre and take stock. What you should also keep in mind is that most manufacturers advice getting your wheel alignment checked every 40,000km. Most carmakers also recommend that wheel balancing be done every 5,000km. If you don’t, chances are that your machine will send out signals, like vibrations in the steering wheel, while driving at certain speeds. Don’t ignore them, and consult a workshop as soon as possible. Periodic checks, with regards to wheel alignment and balancing, will help avoid uneven wear on tyres and poor fuel economy, among other issues.