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When Your tyres Talk..Do You Understand What they are Saying

Communication is pivotal to success. It is true and I am sure you must have attended at least one training program on this topic. Communicate with your spouse and remain happily married, therapists say. Communicate with your children and mould them into good human beings, parenting experts say. Communicate with your boss and move up the corporate ladder, management consultants say.

Communication is a lot of things and most importantly it is NOT only making your point heard, but understanding the point made by the other person.

Do you Communicate with your Tyres?

So when your tyres talk, do you understand what they are saying? Yes, I said tyres. After all, your relationship with your tyres is important. They ferry you from place to place and have the primary responsibility of your safety and that of your loved ones. And as with any other relationship, to get the best out of this one, you have to (no prizes for guessing) COMMUNICATE.Before getting to what tyres say, let us understand the concept of tyre noise.

Tyre Noise

You know the saying- “One man’s food is another man’s poison” or more practically “one man’s music is his neighbour’s noise”. And tyre noise is definitely no music to ears. Some amount of noise is naturally associated with tyres. This is because when your tyres are rolling on the road surface, air gets trapped in the tyre tread pattern. Release of the trapped air creates tyre noise. Manufacturers are making efforts to minimise tyre noise by optimising tread patterns and using other innovative technologies. For instance, Continental has recently introduced the ContiSilent technology in its tyres to reduce tyre noise. Another example is Michelin’s Silent Rib technology as seen in the Michelin Primacy tyres.

External tyre noise is an important parameter in tyre labelling as per the latest EU tyre labelling legislation.

So yes, efforts are being made to keep tyre noise minimal and enhance your ride comfort and enjoyment. And yet if your tyres are making noise or sounds, obviously they are trying to tell you something. Let’s find out what it could be.

So What are Your Tyres Saying?... And What does it Mean?

1. When Your Tyres Squeal

You may have observed a squealing sound, especially as you manoeuvre the car into tight parking spots. Does it appear to come from the front tyres? This probably means that the tyres are underinflated. Don’t be fooled by visual inspection. Several normal looking tyres are actually found to be severely under-inflated on checking the tyre pressure.

2. When Your Tyres Squeak

You know the squeak of delight the ‘significant other’ utters every so often. While that may put you in a good mood (it probably means no nagging when you watch the game, at least for that day), when your tyres squeak, it is no time to relax. A possible cause for squeaking tyres is uneven tread wear of the front tyres. If this is cause, you may also experience that the car is pulling to one side or wandering while driving.

3. When Your tyres Squeak and Rattle

When the squeak is accompanied by a rattle, it is most likely due to a loose wheel cover. As the tyre rolls, the loose wheel cover moves about, resulting in a squeak and sometimes there is an accompanying rattle.

4. When There is a Metallic Grinding Sound While Braking

Does that sound scary? It should because it is. This sound most likely comes from worn brake drums or callipers. Get your car checked at once. I don’t need to tell you why. Many cars are equipped with a brake pad wear indicator. When the brake pad wears below a certain limit, the indicator creates a high pitched squeak (a warning actually) that seems to emanate from the front tyres.

5. When Your Tyres Rumble and Vibrate

A low rumbling sound along with a coarse vibration effect, which gives you the feeling you are driving on marbles, means that a wheel bearing is worn. Have< your car inspected by an appropriate ‘car-doctor’. This noise like others increases when your speed increases.

6. When Your Tyres Screech

Screeching occurs when you have slammed on the brakes and brought your car to a complete standstill from high speed. Also when turning corners at high speeds, tyres screech because of the friction between the rubber and the road. But if your tyres are screeching at normal driving speeds, it could be because of reduced tread depth.

7. Other Noises

Sometimes you just know that your tyres are not sounding the way they usually do. You may observe this perhaps after driving over a particularly bad stretch or if you hit a pothole or kerb. This could be the result of an alignment problem. Sometimes you may observe a ‘not usual’ noise in your tyres. If you cannot think of any specific incident that may have caused it, it is most likely due to either of these reasons – under-inflated tyres or low tread depth or of course a combination.

Do your tyres talk? Now with this guide, you can understand what they are saying.

10 Nov 2016

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