Nokian Tyres has come up with tips to help drivers double the life of their tires with regular checks and careful driving. Many drivers regularly service their cars and replace all its component parts like filters and oils, but they fail to pay the same attention to their tires.
The three main things to be taken into consideration are the tread depth, tire pressure and the use of the correct tires. The condition of the tire also has a tremendous impact on the safety of the motorists. Though the minimum legal tread depth for summer tires in many European countries is 1.6 millimeters, tires are no longer safe at this depth. Most manufacturers recommend a minimum of four millimeters and the risk increases sharply after the depth falls below this level.
Many motorists in Europe continue to use winter tires in summer. This is also highly risky as the tires that are specifically designed for use during the winter have a softer rubber compound and come with a tread that is meant for winter weather. These tires offer a braking distance that is about 20% longer than that of summer tires even on wet roads. Due to the use of the softer compound, they are also less stable than summer tires and when heavily loaded, this can make a vehicle sway during a sudden swerve.
The third factor to be considered is the tire pressure. Drivers should make at least monthly checks, especially in the summer. If the car is fully loaded, the tire pressure should be 10-15% more than the recommended level. These checks should be made when the tires are cold and the vehicle has not been driven for a while.
Motorists can easily extend tire life by driving in a careful manner. Though automotive technology has changed over the years so that even small cars have plenty of power, drivers are still stuck with the habits they had a decade ago, using traction control systems and the like to cause even more strain on the tires, according to Matti Morri, Nokian Tyres’ Technical Customer Service Manager.
Drivers should also make it a habit to regularly rotate the tires from the front to the rear axle. Generally, the tires on the front experience twice as much wear as those on the rear. Manufacturers generally advise motorists to rotate the tires every 8.000 kilometers.
When it comes to tire pressure, the figure recommended by manufacturers is based on the requirement for driving comfort. According to Morri, however, increasing this figure can make the tire harder and less flexible, thus reducing the heat its structure generates. Lower heat generation allows the tire to last longer. He recommends increasing the pressure by about 0.2 bars, as it would not have any negative effects while giving several benefits like extending the life of the tire, improving stability and reducing the rolling resistance, thus helping to minimize fuel consumption. Driving comfort may be a little less, but the benefits far outweigh this.
Drivers need to keep tabs on rolling resistance and wet grip. While wet grip can increase safety, premium tires with low resistance can significantly cut fuel consumption, to the tune of half a liter of fuel per one hundred kilometers.
Here are the key recommendations from Nokian Tyres for drivers:
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