Now, one thing we need to understand and take seriously are the implications of driving on “expired” tyres. Even though they may look intact (like the unused but expired tyres called ‘Touching Ground’ in Nigeria), they are unstable at a molecular level.
Rubber is an organic material that deteriorates with age and use. Even when the tyre sits idly on a shelf it will still go bad. Picking an expired tyre off of the shelf and driving around with it is a gamble, a really big one, probably with your loved ones in the car.
Ok, while we let that lesson about size, type and expiry slowly sink in, let’s look at other things to keep an eye out for when purchasing a new tyre, after all the decision making and you go out shopping.
Altered dates on tyres to make them appear new. Some fraudulent people tend to adjust the dates on already expired tyres so they can sell them off, at the detriment of road users. They achieve this by imprinting new dates over the old one with a hot piece of metal.
One easy way to spot this is by close inspection to the date of manufacture on the tyre.
If the numbers are raised then it is the actual date, if the numbers are sunk in then there’s a 95% chance the dates have been altered.
You should also check for cuts, cracks, bulges, thread-wear and cover-ups.
Now we have learnt how to get safe tyres when we go hunting, the next part to understand is maintenance.
One very important aspect to consider while maintaining a vehicle’s tyre is the tyre pressure.
Most people do not pay attention to this simple life saving bit.
Excessive pressures could lead to a tyre blow out, and low pressure could lead to imbalance, thread-wear and deterioration of the walls of the tyre.
The specified pressure for your tyres are written in your vehicle manual or on the information plate in your car.
Another tip to enhance durability, tyre lifespan and driving comfort is to always ensure your tyres are all properly aligned and balanced. It would eliminate vibrations and thread-wear during use.
Another part of the maintenance of tyres is carrying out visual inspection to ensure there are no missing nuts on the rims, punctures in the tyres or flat tyres.
After learning all of this, I think it’d great if we all understood what the inscriptions on our tyres mean. Example: 215/60R15 95V 215 is the width of the tyre in millimetres. 60 is the aspect ratio or tyre profile. R means it is radial construction. 15 is the diameter of the wheel rim in inches.
95V is a symbol indicating the maximum load capacity and speed at which the tyre can be safely operated, subject to the tyre being in sound condition, correctly fitted, and with recommended inflation pressures (95 represents a maximum load of 690kg per tyre; V represents a maximum speed of 240km/h)
I hope we all learnt something new about tyres and we’d look at them with more importance than just four black rubbery thingys on which the car rides.
Wish you a lovely day folks.