Published on: Wednesday, 31st January 2018 | Author: Kevin Thorpe
Given that tyres play such a crucial role in keeping us safe on the roads, itís surprising that there are so many misconceptions about them. If you want to separate fact from fiction when it comes to these important pieces of equipment, keep reading. Here, we take a look at the truth behind four of the most common tyre myths.
1. Tyre pressure monitoring systems automatically inflate tyres
All new cars manufactured since 2014 are required to have a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). These useful electronic systems are designed to monitor the pressure inside pneumatic tyres and they can help to prevent accidents caused by excessively low pressure. They can also help drivers to ensure their cars perform predictably, reduce fuel usage, lower emissions and minimise tyre wear.
The systems are connected to carsí central computers and when they detect that the pressure in a tyre has dropped to an unsafe level, they make drivers aware by providing a visual alert. However, contrary to what many people think, this equipment does not automatically inflate tyres when low pressure is detected. It simply ensures that drivers know there is an issue with low tyre pressure. Itís then up to motorists to inflate the tyres to the correct level themselves.
So, whether your vehicle has a TPMS or not, youíll need to inflate your tyres manually. Itís recommended that you check the pressure using an accurate gauge every couple of weeks, and this should be done when your tyres are cold (meaning your car has been stationary for a couple of hours or more).
2. New tyres should always go on the front
If you are only replacing two tyres on your car, you might have heard that itís best to put the new ones at the front. However, this is usually not advisable. Unless your vehicle handbook provides specific advice to the contrary, itís better to put the highest quality/newest tyres at the back. This is true whether your car is front or rear wheel drive.
Putting the new tyres at the back tends to favour Ďundersteeringí, meaning that in certain conditions (such as ice or heavy rain) your car may continue in a straight line even though you are turning the wheel. On the other hand, if your new tyres are on the front, you are more likely to Ďoversteerí, meaning the back end of your vehicle may break free, causing you to spin.
Also, itís better to have newer tyres that are less likely to suffer punctures and other damage caused by wear and tear at the back than the front because itís harder to control vehicles with damaged rear tyres than damaged front tyres.
If youíre buying new tyres and youíre not sure where they should be fitted on your car, you can get expert advice from trained technicians.
3. Exceeding the 'max press' number on tyres will cause them to burst
You might have seen a Ďmax pressí number on the sidewall of your tyres. Often, itís assumed that this number represents the maximum pressure a tyre can reach before it bursts. In fact, this isnít the case. The max press figure indicates the pressure that the tyre should be when the car is fully loaded - in other words the pressure at which the tyre will carry the maximum weight.
This means you donít have to worry about accidentally bursting the tyre if you exceed this number when you are inflating it. New tyres are built to be highly robust and they will not explode at pressures even well above this max press number. That said, itís important to be careful when you are inflating your car tyres. Inflating them excessively can cause damage, increased wear to the central tread, and if your tyres have too much air in them, thereís an increased risk that they will fail if you hit a pothole.
The important thing when youíre checking and adjusting tyre pressures is to know the correct readings for your car and to stick to these as closely as possible at all times (bearing in mind that they will vary depending on whether your car is fully loaded or not).
4. Unused tyres don't degrade
Itís true that damage to tyres is often mainly caused by wear and tear due to usage on the roads. The most obvious sign of this is the fact that as you rack up the miles behind the wheel, the tread on your tyres begins to wear down. However, this doesnít mean that if you donít use your car, the tyres will remain in pristine condition. A range of other factors also affect the condition of the rubber, including the conditions tyres are stored in. For example, if they are exposed to heat, cold, sunlight, water and ice, they will begin to age.
There are steps you can take to help protect your tyres when theyíre not in use. For example, if you can, store them indoors in a cool, dry environment like a garage. However, if your vehicle has been sitting idle for a long time, you may find you need to replace the tyres rather than just refill them. You should check them carefully for any signs of damage, such as cracks or bulges.
If youíre not sure whether your tyres are still safe, get them examined by an expert - ideally before using them and certainly before taking a long journey.
By making sure youíre in the know when it comes to your tyres, you can help to keep yourself safe on the roads - and youíll be able to enjoy a smoother driving experience. If youíre searching for new tyres, we can help. Check out the range available on our website and, once youíve found the ones you want, simply arrange a fitting.
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