Today’s car are packed with so many features that the software running the infotainment system alone has more lines of codes than an entire car from two decades earlier. We now have cars that pre-emptively brake and apply corrective steering if the driver is not reacting fast enough - all of which mean nothing if the driver doesn’t do the basics: wear their seat belts and maintain their tyres.
It doesn’t matter how good or how poor a car is because the only contact between the car and the road is via the four patches of rubber, each patch only slightly bigger than the palm of your hands, which is also why changing to the right tyres is so important.
In the days leading up to Hari Raya, the North-South Highway alone could see traffic volumes increasing by at least 50 percent, and with greater car density comes an increased risk of accidents. Apart from watching your speed and distance with other vehicles, the ability to brake and steer properly is extremely crucial – the last two are a function of your car’s tyres.
The most basic of all tyre maintenance is of course tyre pressure. Apart from poor driving habits, the most common cause of high fuel consumption is under inflated tyres.
Incorrectly inflated tyres not only wear out your tyres faster, but also affects a vehicle's steering response.
Check for the correct tyre pressure rating for your car. It’s typically found on the driver’s side door sill or on the fuel tank door.
Next is to inspect for uneven wear. Start by parking your car on level ground with good natural lighting, and turn the steering wheel to full lock on either side. On a correctly maintained tyre, the tread depth will wear evenly.
Unevenly worn tyres are a sign of incorrect tyre inflation pressure, or damage to a car's suspension.
A new tyre for passenger cars typically has around 7 to 8 mm of tread depth. Traffic regulations say that the minimum allowable limit is 1.6 mm, the point that all tyres’ tread depth indicators point to, but know that braking performance in the wet – crucial for our climate – drops considerably once a tyre’s tread depth goes below 50 percent.
There are exceptions to the rule however. Michelin’s Primacy 4 tyres with its proprietary EverGrip technology features intelligently designed grooves that delivers wet braking performance superior to new tyres of other brands even when the tread depth is down to just a barely legal 2 mm. However this is an exception rather than the norm. For everyone else, the advice to change their tyres well before they are visibly worn still applies.
You can use a gauge to check a tyre’s tread depth but a simple visual inspection works just as well. On most tyres, the tread depth indicator is identifiable by a small triangle. Michelin tyres, however, have a tiny Michelin Man figure pointing to it. When the indicator bar is close to or is level with the tyre’s surface, it’s time to change the tyre.
Also, don’t forget to rotate your tyres, which depending on vehicle type, should be done at around every 10,000 to 15,000 km. As the front and rear tyres don’t wear out evenly due to the nature of a car’s weight distribution and steering, swapping the front tyres with the rear ones at regular intervals prolongs the service life of your tyres.
To learn more about tyre safety and have your tyres inspected for free, pay a visit to Michelin’s Safe on The Road Truck that will be touring major cities on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Details and location can be found here.
Also, drivers will receive car service voucher with free Petron card worth RM50 when they spend in a Michelin Expert Centre during this Raya season.
This public service announcement is brought to you by Michelin Malaysia.