Upholding proper tyre pressure, complying with the subscribed tyre and vehicle load limits, and inspecting tyres for any damage including cuts, air bubbles, and other irregularities are crucial to avoid tyre failure to protect all road users from avoidable breakdowns and accidents.
Tyre failure could lead to tread separation, tyre blowouts and flat tyres that could cause fatal accidents, thousands of Rands of damage or leave the driver in a compromising situation, should tyres fail while traveling along dangerous or secluded road.
Most road users underestimate the importance of good tyres and regular maintenance. “Tyres are the only contact between you and the road and each tyre only touches the road surface on an area that is approximately the size of a postcard,” says Dr Etienne Human, Chief Executive Officer of the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC).
Proper and regular tyre maintenance could also have the added benefit of improving vehicle handling, improving fuel economy and increasing the life of your tyres.
However, safe tyres does not solely depend on regularly checking your tyres for any warning signs, it starts with the point of purchase. In this market you get what you pay for and oftentimes low cost and second-hand tyres do not constitute safety or quality.
“It is estimated that the majority of all tyre blow-outs can be attributed to defective second-hand tyres fitted or tyres improperly repaired,” says Human.
One of the most important safety features any vehicle can have is a good set of tyres, as tyres carry the full weight of your vehicle, while at the same time providing all of the grip for acceleration, steering and braking.
“Some very low priced imported tyres do not hold to the same performance levels than those of our members*, which can greatly compromise safety, results in a shorter lifespan of your tyres and lead to poor road performance,” Human continues. “Locally manufactured tyres are specifically designed for the South African road and climate conditions, which make them safer and more durable.”
Well maintained tyres will hold your vehicle securely on the road, allowing it to stop, start and manoeuvre safely, while worn-out, incorrectly inflated or unsuitable tyres could put the lives of all road users at risk.
This Tyre Safety Month, the SATMC is encouraging all South Africans to ensure that their tyres are in good condition, properly maintained and appropriate for the vehicle it is fitted on.
*The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference members are Apollo (formally Dunlop), Bridgestone, Continental, Sumitomo and Goodyear.