Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tyre Damage And How To Deal With It

Worn out tyres are a disaster waiting to happen. Granted, modern tyres don't burst to cause cars to careen out of control (like the movies) but if you're not careful, that small scuff mark on the sidewall could expand and lead to an accident.

Tyre wear and tear is a natural occurrence but identifying the damage and taking steps to repair it will prolong its life. As it is, tyres are expensive and even if they can last up to 20,000 miles, weather conditions or a sharp object can severely cut short their life.

Tread damage: The tread is the pattern on tyres. But it isn't merely something that makes tyres look good. Tread is what keeps cars from skidding by gripping the road surface. All vehicles have treads on their tyres barring racing cars which are smooth to enable high speed.

Damage to tread isn't always cause for concern if it's caused by regular wear and tear. However, abnormal wear that's one-sided indicates that the wheels are inclined to the direction of motion. It also results from excessive cornering at high speed.

The solution is to perform a wheel and axle alignment. If the damage is one-sided on the shoulder, the same solution is applied. Incidentally, the cause for one-sided shoulder damage is usually attributed to uneven load distribution and high center of gravity.

Tread damage can also result from a poor braking mechanism and driving over rough terrain. In this case, purchasing off-road tyres and repairing the brakes will help.

Sidewall damage: The sidewall is the area below the tread, the portion that's smooth, so to speak. Despite being as tough as the rest of the tyre, sharp objects, under inflation, chemicals and excessive moisture can cause premature wear. Cracks are a sure indication something's wrong.

If pressure is the problem, keeping tyres adequately inflated is the solution. If it's the terrain, purchasing a new set of off-road tyres or driving slowly will help. Some sidewall damages are caused by chemicals used to clean tyres so if this is suspected, car washes can be requested to stick to water. High pressure hoses used in cleaning are another culprit though not as common.

Bead damage: The bead is the lowermost portion of a tyre, the part that connects itself to the rim of a wheel. It's an important component as it holds the entire tyre in place. Rubber reinforced with steel cables gives it stability and durability but like treads and sidewalls, it can occasionally sustain damage.

Issues with beads usually occur in off-road vehicles and when rock crawling. Drivers may reduce tyre pressure to increase contact patch and if this is the case, the bead can slip. Beadlocks can be used to hold the tyre in place despite a drop in pressure. If, however, the cause of damage is due to sharp objects in rough terrain, frequent tyre changes are usually necessary.

It's important to remember that the chances of being sold defective tyres are very slim. All tyres, even lesser brands, are built to high standards so whatever damage is sustained is mainly due to environmental factors. Conducting regular checks can greatly help cut costs as replacement tyres are always expensive. DIY options don't last long and shouldn't be relied on to fix serious damage. Professional repair and/or replacement are the best solutions.

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