Tyre Information: Pressure, Valves and Balancing
Why is tyre inflation so important?
It is very important to keep your tyres at the correct pressure.
Wrongly inflated tyres will greatly shorten your tyres’ life, and could make your car dangerous to drive. This is irrespective of premium tyres, budget tyres or cheap tyres.
Check every two weeks - including the spare - and only check when the tyres are cold, as the pressures increase after the car has been run due to the air inside warming up.
If you have a heavy load - for example before going on holiday - check your handbook and increase tyre pressures as per manufacturers’ recommendations.
Remember to reduce the pressures after removing the heavy load.
What is wheel balancing?
To ensure your tyre tread remains in constant contact with the road, the wheel and tyre have to be correctly balanced.
Imagine your vehicle is raised off the ground and the wheel spun by hand, an unbalanced wheel would always stop at the same point - with the heavier imbalance being at the bottom of the wheel.
On the road, wheel imbalance can lift the tyre from contact with the road creating vibration through the steering wheel and causing problems with steering and braking. Damage to the suspension, wheel bearings and steering components can occur if the imbalance is left unattended.
Incorrect wheel balance is easily corrected by using a computerised electronic wheel balancer to measure the imbalance, and then by adding small metal weights to even things up.
What is wheel alignment or ‘tracking’?
Every car has a specific steering track setting for its front wheels. If the setting becomes upset, by striking a kerb or hitting a pothole or simply by wear and tear - tyre wear can become rapid.
Incorrect wheel alignment becomes obvious when either the inner or the outer edge of the tyres becomes unevenly worn or a “feathering” effect becomes noticeable.
If you suspect your alignment has been disturbed – ask to have it checked by your Tyre Shopper technician. In any case, have it checked every 6,000 miles or when tyres or steering components have been changed.
Why should the valve be replaced?
The tyre valve is the most neglected and overlooked component within the wheel and tyre assembly, yet an efficient valve is crucial to the safe operation of the tyre.
Wear on the valve seal; damaged screw threads, dirt and grit in the valve itself can all lead to a dangerous failure of the tyre at speed.
Even a poorly sealed valve can cause constant under-inflation of the tyre, which will reduce the life of your tyre by 25%.