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

Communication is pivotal to success, they say. Do it with your partner and remain happily married, do it with your kids and mould them into good human beings…

But when your tyres are trying to tell you something, do you listen? Probably not as well as you should.

Here, we detail some of the weird and wonderful noises that your tyres could be making and why you should listen up!

Natural tyre noises

Tyre noise is definitely not music to the ears. There is however, a natural noise associated with your tyres when they roll on the surface and air gets trapped in the tread pattern. When it’s released, it creates tyre noise.

Manufacturers are making efforts to minimise tyre noise by optimising tread patterns and using other innovative technologies.

For instance, Continental has introduced ContiSilent technology in its tyres to reduce noise. Another example is Michelin’s Silent Rib technology as seen in the brand’s Primacy tyres.

External tyre sounds are an important parameter in tyre labelling as per the latest EU tyre labelling legislation.

Odd tyre noises – and what they mean

  • Squealing - 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 a visual inspection. Tyres that look ‘normal’ are often found to be severely under-inflated on doing a tyre pressure check. You should carry this test out between every 2-3 weeks and before long car journeys.
  • Squeaking sound - When your tyres make a squeaking sound, it’s 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.
  • Squeak, rattle and roll - When the squeak is accompanied by a rattle, it’s most likely due to a loose wheel cover. As the tyre rolls, the loose wheel cover moves about, resulting in a squeak, sometimes with an accompanying rattle.
  • Metallic grinding on the brakes - 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. It’s obvious 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 warning from the front tyres.
  • Rumbling or vibrating tyres - 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 has worn down. You should visit a garage as soon as possible. This is a noise that increases as you speed up.
  • Car screeching - Screeching occurs when you have slammed on the brakes and brought your car to a complete standstill from high speed. In addition, when turning corners at high speeds, tyres screech because of the friction between the rubber and the road. But if your car is screeching at normal driving speeds, it could be because of reduced tread depth. The best way to check tread is via the 20p test.

Sometimes, it’s simply that your tyres just don’t sound right. You might discover this driving over a particularly bad stretch or if you hit a pothole. This could an alignment problem.

If you can’t think of any specific incident that may have caused it, it’s possibly due to under-inflated tyres, low tread depth or a combination of these factors.

If your tyres talk, now you can understand exactly what they’re saying. It’s a good idea to do check your tyre pressure regularly but if you feel you need help to select new car tyres online, contact our experts today as we’re happy to help.

10 Nov 2016

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