The mid-year school holidays are upon us and with that comes the excitement of road trips, whether for a holiday away, day trips to the beach or an off-road adventure. Being prepared to take the road should also involve vehicle preparation, with a safety check of your vehicle’s tyres of critical importance.
“Planning a vacation, or even a stay-cation with day trips, is such an exciting part of any holiday,” says Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA). “Part of that planning should be to check out every aspect of your vehicle’s safe running. As your tyres are the only part of the vehicle that touch the road, it is essential to check these thoroughly and make sure they are ready for whatever terrain you will encounter on your journey.”
As the manufacturer of the iconic Dunlop brand which was voted the #1 Tyre Brand yet again by consumers for 2017/2018, as well as the Sumitomo and Falken Tyre brands, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa offers road users a few tips to help ensure a safe and comfortable road experience this holiday season.
- Check your tyres for wear and tear.
As well as checking the tyre tread depth, it is important to inspect the sidewall and tread of your tyres for damage, punctures or foreign bodies that may have become embedded in the tyre. All Dunlop tyres have a built-in tread wear indicator at 1.6mm to warn you of the need to replace your worn tyre. In fact, all well-known tyre brands have ensured that tread wear indicators and visual indicators of 1.6mm can be easily identified by motorists.
“Worn or smooth tyres represent a risk to the safety of your vehicle on the road,” Haffejee says. “Reduced tread depth prevents effective grip on the road surface, especially in wet conditions when this is of utmost importance. This will lead to reduced traction and could result in aquaplaning, increasing the risk of loss of control of your vehicle.”
- Avoid replacing a worn tyre with an unsafe & unregulated second-hand tyre.
While second-hand passenger car tyres can seem like a more cost-effective alternative to purchasing brand new tyres, these are unregulated and expose road users to a major hazard. Haffejee says that there is a dangerous and illegal practice called ‘re-grooving’ where unscrupulous operators buy worn, used tyres and carve out the rubber of the tyre to make the tread depth appear deeper than it is. “The cost of buying second-hand or part-worn tyres runs deeper than the cost of a new tyre, with the potential loss of vehicle control, and it’s devastating consequences – injury or loss of life – being a very real concern.”
- Follow vehicle manufacturer recommendations with regard to tyre fitment and size.
Consult your vehicle owner’s manual to check that it is fitted with the correct type and size of tyre. Incorrect tyre sizing affects vehicle performance. A reputable tyre fitment centre, such as a Dunlop Zone, Dunlop Express will be able to advise you on this vital safety aspect.
- Check that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.
“This is often something that road users neglect to check, but is incredibly important,” says Haffejee. “Under-inflated tyres have a higher risk of blow-outs and will increase fuel consumption. Over-inflation will result in uneven wear that impacts road grip.”
Your vehicle should have a sticker showing what tyre pressure is recommended. Many filling stations are fitted with electronic pressure gauges that you can use – or have the attendant use – to accurately check and inflate your tyres.
- Make sure you have an inflated spare and wheel changing equipment
Make sure to add the following to your pre-trip checklist: always check that you have a correctly inflated spare tyre, a working jack, a wheel spanner and safety triangle in your vehicle in the unfortunate event of a puncture.
“Safety is part of our DNA – and our passion – at SRSA,” Haffejee says. “We highly recommend stopping in at an accredited Dunlop tyre fitment centre to have your tyres inspected before hitting the road.”
For more tyre safety tips, watch the Dunlop Safety Tips videos or visit: www.srigroup.co.za.
Being prepared to take the road should also involve vehicle preparation, with a safety check of your vehicle’s tyres of critical importance advises SRSA CEO Riaz Haffejee.