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Tyre Care & Safety

TAKE CARE OF YOUR TIRES EVERY DAY!

If you keep in mind a few rules, make regular checks and carry out simple measures, your tire will remain in good condition for a long time.
This particularly involves keeping an eye on the pressure, checking for wear and storing tires properly.
Also bear in mind that it is always better to fit new tires (or the least worn) on the rear wheels.

KEEP AN EYE ON THE PRESSURE

Importance of tyre pressure

Having your tyres correctly inflated not only optimizes performance, but also leads to increased safety.
You should therefore check the pressure of your tyres (not forgetting the spare tyre) at least once a month and before long journeys.

What should my tyre pressure be?

The first step is knowing what your tyre pressure should be. You can find out what your vehicle’s tyre pressure should be by looking in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the little sticker on the inside of your driver’s side car door for the recommended PSI.

How to check tyre pressure?

1) Purchase a certified air pressure gauge or take your vehicle to a nearby service center (or gas station) for a check-up.
2) Tyres must be checked in a “cold” state (at least three hours after driving). 
3) Insert the gauge into the valve.
4) Compare the measured air pressure level with the level listed on the car door.
- in case of higher pressure than a recommendation, deflate your tire to the recommended pressure.
- in case of lower pressure than a recommendation, inflate your tire up to the recommended pressure.

CHECK FOR WEAR

Tyres become worn over time

But this period depends on a variety of factors including driver behavior, the roughness of the road surface, the mechanical condition of the vehicle and tyre pressure. The major risk is the loss of adhesion on wet ground, if the remaining tread can no longer evacuate water in the contact with the road.

But how do you check tread levels?

Tread wear indicators, built into the main tread grooves, show the tread depth.  A tyre must be changed as soon as it wears down to these indications. Tread depth remaining is then 1.6 mm, which corresponds to the legal minimum.
Checking tyres for wear also involves getting them checked regularly, both inside and outside, by a tyre specialist.

KEEP A CHECK ON TYRES NOT IN USE

Tyres age even when they're not being used. Surface cracks appear in the rubber and the carcass can distort. Proper storage increases the life expectancy and performance of tyres. A few basic rules need to be followed.

Tires should always be stored:

● in a well-ventilated, cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight and adverse weather conditions.
● away from any chemicals, solvents or fuels that may affect the rubber.
● away from any object capable of penetrating the rubber (pointed metal or wood)
● away from any sources of heat or flames and any substance that could cause sparks or an electrical discharge.
● away from any source of ozone (home ozone generators, electrical appliances and air pollution). Powerful oxidant causes premature corrosion of the elastomers, which then crack.

Storage guidelines vary, depending on whether your tyres are mounted on rims or not (see the diagram below)

 

Before removing your tyres, note their position on your car.

You can then swap your front tyres to the rear the following year to balance their wear. Clean your wheels and tyres with water and dry well to limit any corrosion. Remove any stones or debris that have been trapped in the tyres grooves.

Take special care with vehicles parked for a long period!

In this case, the weight of the vehicle (caravan, trailer, etc.) needs to be taken off the tyres, by jacking it up or removing the tyres. Failure to do this may cause irreversible damage. Don't forget to check the pressure before using the tires again.

TYRE ROTATION

Irregular Tyre Wear

Due to their circular design, tyres should have even wear on contact areas. However, in reality, irregular tyre wear is common. Uneven wear shortens tread life and can cause abnormal shaking in the vehicle. Causes of irregular wear include driving style, poorly serviced vehicle, incorrect air pressure and lax tyre rotation among others.

Tyre Rotation

Even wear on all tyres eliminates the need for tyre rotation. However, when irregular wear is detected, tyres must immediately be rotated. To prevent such uneven wear in advance, switching the location of tyres is recommended every 7,500miles. In the case of snow tyres which use spike pins, care must be taken not to change the rotational direction of the tyres as the failure to do so may result in the loss of spikes.

 

Benefits of Tyre Rotation

● Prevents irregular wear and extends tyre life

● Allows easy detection of irregular wear due to vehicle misalignment

● Enables easy repair of flat tyres

 

TYRE REPLACEMENT

Tread wear indicator

Tyres have built-in tread wear indicators which mark the minimum allowable tread depth. The indicators are 4~6 small raised bars which run across the grooves of the tyre tread and are 1.6mm in height. Made to be clearly visible to consumers, the mark in the shoulder area also helps to pinpoint the location of the indicators. When measuring tread depth, one should avoid the area with the indicators.
Tyres with worn out treads lack the ability to channel water, creating extremely dangerous situations such as slipping or hydroplaning on wet roads. Tyre blow outs also increase in frequency.

 

WHY HAVE WINTER TYRES FITTED

For tyres, winter begins at 7°C.

Below this temperature, the rubber of a summer tyre hardens and becomes less effective. In winter, weather conditions are radically different and braking distances can be multiplied by 8 depending on the type of road. A winter tyre offers better grip, traction and safety by reducing braking distances.

Winter tyres differ from summer tyres through the chemical composition of their rubber, which has a formula that enables them to remain flexible at low temperatures for better grip on slippery surfaces (rain, snow and ice).

The tread design also differs in that they have a greater number of sipes and a chunky tread pattern. Snow and ice traction is improved and there is a reduced risk of hydroplaning.

2 or 4 winter tyres?

For optimal safety, you are strongly advised to fit 4 winter tyres. If you only fit 2 on the drive wheels, traction on start-up is fine, but grip is not balanced between the front and rear axle. With the winter tyres fitted on the front axle of a front-wheel drive, the vehicle may spin or skid in bends. With the tyres fitted on the rear axle of a rear-wheel drive, the vehicle may fail to turn and go off the road in curves.

Important!

Specific legislation exists in different countries as regards to winter tyres.

IF YOU ONLY CHANGE TWO TYRES

You are recommended to fit the new tyres (or the least worn) on the rear axle of your vehicle, whether it is a front or rear, 2 or 4 wheel drive.

This ensures better control and handling in situations of emergency braking or on tight bends, particularly on wet surfaces.
The loss of rear wheel grip is not easy to be controlled by the driver.
On a bend, this means that the car oversteers and the rear of the vehicle starts to skid. Drivers are tempted to brake and turn the wheel too hard… and they end up going into a spin! Only an experienced driver would have the reflex to do the opposite, namely countersteer and accelerate.
Loss of front wheel grip (understeering) is easier to correct with the steering wheel, whilst taking your foot off the accelerator.
Fitting the best tyres at the rear, the driver enjoys a substantial gain in safety.

TYRE BALANCE

Tyre Balance

Tyre balancing compensates for the weight of the tyre and wheel assembly after the tyre is mounted. A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest. The result of bouncing or wobbling, which can decrease treadwear, increase vibration and cause stress on your vehicle. The balance correction weights are added to counterbalance the tyres.

 

When to Balance

A tyre is replaced
A balance weight is moved or removed
You purchase new tyres

How Wheels are Balanced

To balance a wheel, your mechanic uses a balancing machine to determine where the heavy spots are. Weights are then attached to the exterior or interior of the wheel to counteract centrifugal forces acting on the heavy areas when the wheel is turning. This will eliminate vertical bouncing and side-to-side wobble.

MORE ADVICE

Fitting tyres is a job for professionals

This delicate operation consists of assembling a unit comprising a wheel, a tyre and a valve, not forgetting the air for inflation. Any operation achieved to a professional guarantees scrupulous compliance with the instructions specified by tire manufacturers, vehicule manufacturers and legislation.
He will be able to detect any anomalies liable to affect your safety.

Proper wheel alignment is vital to your safety!

It's difficult to tell if your wheels and axles are correctly aligned while driving. But if your vehicle's suspension geometry is incorrect, its handling may be altered and your safety compromised. If your tyre has come into contact with a solid object, such as a kerb or pothole, or you have noticed uneven wear on your tyres, please go to a tyre specialist to have it thoroughly inspected. It's important to ensure correct alignment to get the best road handling, to protect your tyres from irregular and/or rapid wear and to save fuel.

Maintain balance!

A well balanced tyre, with an even distribution of weight, rotates on its axle without causing any vibrations. For perfect balancing, weights are placed at certain points around the rim. This can only be carried out by specialists, as it requires specific measuring equipment. Well-balanced tyres make for more comfortable driving, longer tyre life and less premature mechanical wear.

Perfect sealing

To ensure tyre sealing, the rim must not be distorted or rusted. When fitting, the beads must be properly positioned on the rim. The valve and its cap must be changed every time it is fitted.

Puncture

Whether a small perforation or a large puncture resulting in a significant loss in pressure, your tyre must be inspected by a qualified tyre expert. Only a professional will be able to ascertain whether the inner casing has been damaged, making the tyre impossible to repair.

Safety guidelines in the event of a puncture.

Always consider your safety and that of your passengers. If you can, stop your vehicle in a safe place, away from the traffic.
Apply your handbrake.
Switch off the engine and put the car into gear.
Switch on your warning lights.
Put on your reflective safety vest.
Place your warning triangle at the required distance behind your car.

Start changing the wheel:
● Wedge one of the wheels.
● Place the jack in the planned position, near to the punctured tyre.
● Loosen the nuts, but do not remove them.
● Raise the car until the wheel clears the ground.
● Remove the nuts and put them in a clean place.
● Remove the punctured wheel.
● Place the spare wheel on the hub.
● Tighten the nuts slightly.
● Lower the car and remove the jack.
● Tighten the nuts with the wrench.
● Put the tools and punctured tyre in the trunk.

Take care when rejoining the flow of traffic. Remember to switch off your warning lights. Stop at the first service station to check the air pressure of the spare tyre. Tighten the nuts as much as you can. Insufficiently tightened nuts can damage the brake discs or distort the balance of the wheels.