SET ASIDE TIME REGULARLY TO CHECK YOUR PRESSURE AND TREAD
Good vehicle maintenance doesn’t necessarily mean just checking items under the bonnet. Looking after your tyres is a huge part of the maintenance of your car but it’s often overlooked.
Finding the right tyre pressure for your car is easy. You can find this information in the handbook or it can often be found on a sticker inside the fuel filler flap or the driver’s door. These points of information will generally show two figures — one for normal use and a higher figure for full loading.
If you regularly carry heavier loads in your vehicle, you may need to increase the pressure.
If you can’t find the tyre pressure details, it’s best to contact the vehicle manufacturer, or try searching for your pressures using your registration number on the EECA Energywise New Zealand website.
Regularly checking tyres to ensure correct pressure is important for several reasons:
■Tyre life. If a tyre is flat, it will scrub the road surface and wear prematurely. Over-inflated tyres will cause one part of the tyre to contact the road more, potentially causing faster wear.
■Fuel economy. A flat tyre doesn’t roll as efficiently, therefore increasing fuel consumption.
■ Safety. Optimum pressure will give the best tyre grip and safe braking threshold.
■ Under inflation can cause steering-wheel wobble, increased steering effort and unstable cornering.
We recommend you check the pressure of your tyres every couple of weeks. If possible, make the checks when the tyres are cold and always use a reliable and accurate tyre-pressure gauge. And check the spare if you have one.
While checking the pressures, also look at the tyre for any signs of wear on the tread and depth, as well as any cuts or bulges on the sidewalls. Any cuts should always be checked out by a specialist, and if you spot any bulges there could be damage within the internal structure of the tyre which must be replaced.
The minimum warrantable depth for tyres is 1.5mm. To make sure that your tyres remain legal between warrants, we’ve got a handy tip. Using a 20c piece, insert it into the tread of the tyre at multiple points with the 20 facing towards you. The base of the number 20 is approximately 2mm from the edge of the coin, so if you can still see the whole number, it’s likely your tyres need replacing.
Vehicles with no spare tyres
It’s now common for vehicles to have no spare wheel provided. Sometimes this is because the vehicle is fitted with runflats — tyres that are designed to stay intact in the event of a puncture which do not require roadside repairs. In turn, they offer minimal driving disruption if you happen to get a puncture and they allow you to safely get to a workshop for repair or replacement.
For vehicles without runflat tyres fitted, a method of inflating and temporarily sealing the punctured tyre in order to get you to the nearest practical place for repair is sometimes offered instead.
Tyre sealant is a product that is still relatively unknown but, as with run flats, it’s designed to offer a temporary repair to allow you to get to a place where the tyre can be taken in for a more permanent repair or a replacement.
However, unlike runflats, it does require some roadside repairs as the sealant will need to be placed inside the damaged tyre before you can set off again.
This is done by inserting the sealant through the valve of the tyre which then seals the hole while also pumping air back into the tyre at the same time.
Once this is done, and before you set off again, wait a few minutes and listen for hissing noises from the repaired area and make sure the tyre is holding pressure.