Tyre maintenance is a must for every car owner.
Our vehicles’ performance is influenced by the tyres. Acceleration, braking and cornering would be impossible without tyres that are in good condition.
If you recall, the average tyre’s contact patch – the part always in contact with the road – is about the size of an adult’s palm. This is why tyre maintenance is so critical.
Now, with most of us working from home and our cars sitting idle in the carpark, tyre maintenance may be overlooked.
Here are a few handy tyre maintenance tips for car owners.
IF YOUR CAR IS HARDLY DRIVEN, WILL THE TYRES GET FLAT SPOTS?
This is unlikely, according to Ms Chew Zi Tong, senior marketing executive at Bridgestone Tyre Sales Singapore.
“However, if your car is overloaded and the weight limit exceeds the load index of your tyres, it could happen.”
“Leaving your car idle for long periods with under-inflated tyres could also lead to flat-spotting.”
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY TYRES HAVE FLAT SPOTS?
Drive your car forward a few inches and check the tyre tread for flat spots.
If you don’t see any flat spots, the symptoms might appear while you’re driving. Watch out for unusual vibrations or shimmying from the steering wheel.
In case these symptoms occur, don’t worry just yet. “Flat spots can be temporary. When the tyre has warmed up after a few kilometres, it will go back to its original shape,” says Ms Chew.
That said, if you have left your car idle for months (or even years), the lack of air pressure in the tyres can create flat spots.
In cases like these, you need to have the tyres checked by a professional mechanic. It may be possible to “round out” the tyres.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CHECK YOUR TYRE PRESSURES?
Good tyre maintenance means checking the pressures monthly or during every fill-up. It doesn’t matter if you’re only driving the car once a week.
Check the pressures when the tyres are cold. If you have a portable electric pump, inflate the tyres then. If not, drive to the nearest petrol kiosk and top-up there.
According to Ms Chew, tyres lose about one to three PSI per month due to osmosis.
REMEMBER THE VISUAL INSPECTION!
Keeping your tyres correctly inflated is great. But good tyre maintenance also means giving your tyres a once-over before you drive.
Check your sidewalls for any cracks, splits or bulges. These could have resulted from hazards such as sharp objects.
“Bumps and blisters could be signs of damage that could lead to tyre failure,” says Ms Chew. “If you see these, it’s best to replace your tyres as soon as possible,” she added.