With December here, South Africans are eagerly preparing for the summer holidays. Booking holidays and preparing travel itineraries have become high priorities for so many. However, for those planning to travel long distances by car, tyre safety should take the top spot on your holiday checklists. According to Arrive Alive statistics, tyre bursts and poor maintenance account for almost 64% of road accidents
Luc Fayolle, Marketing Manager at Michelin South Africa says, “When it comes to your safety and driving pleasure, your tyres are critical. To get the most out of your tyres in terms of maximum mileage and safety you’ll need to maintain them properly. Something else to keep in mind is that insurance companies will not pay out any claims if tyres are deemed unroadworthy, regardless if the accident were as a result of the tyres or not.”
Your tyre safety depends on you, the driver. Fayolle offers the below advice for safe and pleasurable driving for your summer holidays:
Pack for safety – Before departing on your journey check that you have a spare tyre in your boot ensuring this tyre is pumped to the correct air pressure and is not punctured. Keep in mind that most spare tyres were not made to go more than 80 kilometres per hour and not further than a 100 kilometres. Double check that you have the correct tools to change a tyre if needed such as a jack and a lug wrench. Depending on your vehicle make and tyres you may also need a wheel lock, extension bars for lowering the spare tyre and alignment studs.
Tyre pressure – Tyres have been known to lose up to 0.06 BAR (the unit metric used to determine pressure) every month, so check all tyres, including your spare, once a month or before a long trip. Tyre pressures should be checked when the tyres are “cold”, this should be done before you’ve driven, or driven a maximum of 3km or at least 3 hours after you’ve driven. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct air pressure of your tyres, and remember these pressures might differ when pulling or carrying a load.
Tyre rotation – Regular rotation helps extend the life of your tyres and improve performance. Tyres should be rotated every six months or 8,000 to 10 000 kilometres. Visit your local tyre fitment centre and rotate your tyres as part of your holiday preparation to ensure your tyres are safe for the journey ahead.
Replacing tyres – Tyres should be replaced every five to seven years, depending on how much you drive. Special care needs to be taken to replace caravan and trailer tyres regularly as well, even if they are only used once or twice a year and whether they appear to be damaged or not. When replacing your tyres, ensure your new tyres are the same size and type as your current tyres. New tyres will provide better wet grip than worn tyres.
Visual Inspection – The depth of tread on your tyres is very important for the safety of your vehicle. Driving with a low tread depth increases the potential for tyre failure while a tyre with a higher tread depth provides optimum grip on the road. The legal minimum tread depth in South Africa is 1.6mm. Check the remaining depth in several places across and around the tyre. Tyres also have tread wear indicators moulded into the base of the main grooves. When the tread surface is worn to the same level as these indicators, the tyre is at the legal limit and should be replaced to ensure safe diving. If you are unsure about the tread on your tyres and feel they might be unsafe for driving long distances, get them checked by a tyre specialist.
Fayolle says, “By doing a visual inspection of your tyres before planning long road trips or destination holidays, you could ensure the safety of you and your family. When planning your holiday, plan for safety on the road, responsible, easy driving and lots of fun.” Be sure to visit Michelin’s website for more information and tips for proper tyre maintenance.