Tyre pressures, valves and wheel balancing
For your vehicle to drive efficiently at any speed, there are certain factors regarding your tyres that need to be regularly maintained.
Why is having the correct tyre pressure important?
It is critical to keep your tyres at the correct pressure.
Having over or under-inflated tyres can make a huge difference to the way your vehicle handles, making it dangerous to drive.
Whether you have the cheapest tyres or top-of-the range ones from manufacturers like Continental, if they’re wrongly-inflated, their lives will be shortened.
Check tyre pressure
Every two-three weeks, you should check your vehicle’s tyre pressures. This is particularly important before going on a long journey, as you may have a heavy load to account for.
You should only measure when the tyres are cold, as pressures will appear higher if a vehicle has been running, due to the air inside warming up.
If you’re not sure what the correct tyre pressure should be, you should consult your manufacturer’s handbook.
Why is wheel balancing important?
For your tyre tread to remain in constant contact with the road, the wheel and tyre have to be correctly balanced.
If you drive on the road with unbalanced tyres, this creates vibration through the steering wheel, which can result in problems with braking and the way it handles. You may also notice a dramatic increase in fuel consumption.
Unbalanced tyres will also result an increase in wear. This is due to the added stress on the tyres as the vehicle starts to compensate by wearing the tyres from the edges, meaning that grip is lessened. Correctly balanced tyres wear from the middle.
An imbalance left unnoticed or ignored can cause further problems with the suspension, wheel bearings and steering.
What do I do about incorrect wheel balancing?
If you do notice an imbalance of your tyres or shaky steering, we advise you to visit one of our Tyre Shopper technicians, to avoid putting yourself and your passengers at risk.
They will use a computerised electronic wheel balancer. This can measure the imbalance and add small weights to correct the imbalance and rebalance your wheels.
What is wheel alignment or ‘tracking’?
If you hit a kerb when parking or drive over a pothole, the thud can cause more damage than you think.
Every car has a specific steering track setting for the front wheels, so if this is disrupted, tyre wear can happen quickly.
Incorrect wheel alignment is obvious when the inner or outer edges become unevenly worn and the wear is noticeable.
We recommend that you check your wheel alignment every 6,000 miles or when steering feels different.
What is the tyre valve and when should it be replaced?
The tyre valve is crucial to ensure a tyre is safe for the road. The tyre valve is often the most neglected and overlooked component within the wheel assembly, as it holds the pressure inside.
The tyre valve cap is also vital as it can prevent dirt or grit getting into the valve, which could otherwise result in a dangerous failure of the tyre at speed.
A poorly-sealed valve can cause constant under-inflation of the tyre, which reduces its life by 25%.
Here to help
All of our tyres come with free tyre fitting by one of our time-served technicians. Fitting includes the tyre, a new valve, wheel balancing and a small fee to dispose of your old tyre.
If you need more information, contact our experts today.