Car Tyres – Frequently Asked Questions
As tyre specialists we have the knowledge and expertise to carry out tyre fitting and balancing for all makes and models of cars. We use the latest tyre services equipment to fit and balance tyres and also to carry out wheel alignment. We are often asked questions about car tyres and hope that the following information all about tyres will be of use to you.
Does it matter if car tyres are not inflated to the correct pressure?
Yes, it definitely does matter because if you maintain your car tyres at the right tyre pressure it may help to prolong the lifespan of your tyres so they need replacing less frequently. If your tyres are persistently under or over-inflated it will affect the tread wear causing it to wear unevenly. Driving your vehicle with the correct tyre pressure also increases the vehicle’s safety as the optimum amount of tyre is in contact with the road and it also helps to save fuel.
How do I find out what the correct pressure rating is for my car tyres?
The pressure rating for your vehicle can normally be found in the car manual, printed on the inside ledge of the driver’s door or inside the petrol cap. The correct pressure rating is determined by the manufacturer of your car and may be different for each car make and model. You also need to take into account the loading of the vehicle when deciding on the pressure rating needed for your tyres. For example, when you are travelling alone the pressure should be different from when your vehicle is fully loaded with extra passengers, luggage etc. If you are having difficulty establishing the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle contact tyre specialists such as HallmarkVOLVO (Volvo independent specialists) for help.
What is Wheel Balancing & Why is it Important?
Tyres need to be ‘balanced’ as they are by no means completely evenly weighted and most tend to have ‘heavy’ spots. When the tyres go round, these ‘heavy’ spots can cause vibration through the steering wheel, which can make the car uncomfortable to drive. As well as this, unbalanced wheels will cause preventable wear to the tyres, suspension and steering. Fortunately tyre specialists can balance your wheels using a machine which finds the ‘heavy’ spot. A weight can then be added to counteract the imbalance. Tyre fitting and balancing should be done together and wheels should always be balanced when tyres are replaced.
What is Wheel Alignment (Wheel Tracking) and how does it affect the tyres?
Tracking refers to the direction the wheels face in relation to each other and they should obviously run parallel. Tyre specialists know that poorly aligned wheels can cause a car to pull to one side and can cause premature tyre wear. Driving over pot-holes or hitting a wheel on the kerb can cause the tracking to become misaligned. To prolong the life of your tyres, not to mention the suspension and steering, you should have your wheel alignment checked every 10,000 miles.
What are winter tyres?
‘Winter tyres’ are designed to contend with cold, wet, icy and snowy conditions and can be fitted by tyre specialists. They can greatly improve braking distances on wet or icy roads as soon as the temperature drops under 7°C which is normally between the months of October and March in most parts of the UK. However they are not just useful when it is snowing or icy so think again if you think you don’t need them in the UK!
Winter tyres have more natural rubber in their composition and this is less affected by cold temperatures and gives better flexibility and grip in colder weather. In snowy conditions, because of the extra grooves in winter tyres, more snow sticks to the tyre which actually helps to improve grip as snow sticks to snow. Winter tyres also have a higher number channels or slots (sipes) which create lots of biting edges that lock into icy and snowy roads, which in turn helps your car to brake and accelerate.
From the answers to all of these questions I think you will agree that tyre care and maintenance is important for your safety when driving and should not be neglected.
Get your local tyre specialists who carry out tyre fitting and balancing to advise if you have any queries about or problems with tyres.