Your five-minute tyre check for safe school holiday travels

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Got plans to road trip over the school holiday? Can’t wait to drive out of the city and escape into the bush? You may have already completed a checklist of security measures to keep your home safe, but, before you leave, have you done the necessary checks to make sure your “home in transit” is safe?

Heavy traffic volumes and challenging winter weather conditions are part and parcel of the mid-year school holiday break, so, in the bustle of making arrangements, checking that your car’s tyres are safe for the road ahead should be right up there with wearing seat belts, avoiding fatigue and not speeding.

Lubin Ozoux, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, one of South Africa’s largest tyre manufacturing companies and manufacturer of the Dunlop tyre brand, said: “We know it’s important to recharge and spend time with family, and many of us look forward to going on road trips or holidays at this time of year when our children are likely to be on holiday from school. We’re urging holidaymakers to dedicate time to make sure their tyres are in good condition, not just for this period, but at all times, so that they can safely enjoy their time away. The school holidays also mean there will be an uptick in child pedestrians, many of them unsupervised, so it’s especially important to ensure that your tyres are in the best condition to maximise safety and braking efficiency.”

Why is tyre safety important?

Your tyres are the only part of your vehicle that directly meets the road surface. In an emergency, the tyres need to have sufficient friction to come to a stop.

If your tyres are worn or damaged, this could reduce their grip, resulting in the vehicle failing to stop timeously or in the case of wet weather, the car could aquaplane.

Quick fact: Tread is the rubber on the tyre that touches the road surface. The legal limit for a tyre tread grove shouldn’t be below 1mm across the tread surface at any point. In most cases, tyres are manufactured with tread wear indicators that are built into the grooves of tyres at 1.6 mm. When the tread wear indicators are flush with the level of the tread, then the tyre must be replaced. Any tyre with a tread depth below 1.6 mm lacks grip, and will increase braking distance and compromise vehicle control. These tyres are not safe for driving and must be replaced.

Take this 5-minute tyre check before you get on the road

Before jumping into the car for your mid-year holiday, take 5 minutes to walk around the vehicle.

Do this a few days before you leave so that you have enough time to spare to make any changes to your tyres.

Check for:

  1. Shoulder wear – When the outer edges of the tyres start to wear excessively. This is caused either by under inflation, improper wheel alignment, or hard driving.

You will need to either inflate tyres to manufacturer recommendations, or check and adjust wheel alignment and rotate or replace tyres.

  • Crown wear – When the centre of the tyre starts to wear excessively. You will need to deflate the tyres to the car manufacturer’s recommendations, rotate or replace tyres.
  • Irregular wear – When your tyres wear in an uneven pattern across and around the tread region, this is normally caused by improper alignment, overinflation, underinflation or a worn-out suspension. You will need to check and adjust wheel alignment, inspect for mechanical damage and possibly repair, or replace the tyres.
  • Sidewall damage – When there is unusual damage to the sidewalls of the tyres often caused by impact due to driving over potholes or hitting a kerb, or possibly a flat tyre. Inspect the tyre for damage, seek a professional tyre expert’s assistance to inspect the insides of the tyre’s sidewall for damage, and replace if necessary.
  • Spare tyre – Make sure to check for all the above on the spare tyre in your boot. Ensure that you have a triangle for road-side emergencies as well.

Handy tips

  • Make tyre safety checks a monthly habit so that you can get on top of issues before they worsen.
  • Check your tyre pressure regularly – find your vehicle’s optimal tyre pressure in your car manual, or the information label on the side of the driver’s door.
  • Check air pressure when your tyres are cold, preferably in the mornings.
  • Have your tyres rotated at least every 8 000km or at least once a year.
  • Do not overload your tyres – check the carrying capacity on the sidewall of each tyre.
  • Do not speed, so that you have enough reaction time to steer clear of people, potholes or other hazards.
  • To help ease the cost of replacing irreparable damaged tyres, take out tyre cover such as Dunlop Sure, which includes a complimentary package of services providing peace of mind when purchasing tyres from Dunlop’s own network of stores (Dunlop Zone, Dunlop Commercial, Dunlop Express and Dunlop Container).
  • Check brakes, windscreen wipers, lights and indicator functionality regularly.

If you are unsure about your tyre health and want to stay #SaferThanSafe, pop into a tyre expert retailer such as your local Dunlop store to help you assess your tyres before embarking on any winter holiday trips.

Need a new set of tyres before you head out on that mid-year holiday break? Be sure to check out Dunlop’s Winter Promo running until 31 July 2022, where the first 1500 consumers to purchase two or more selected Dunlop tyres will qualify for a R1000 universal e-commerce voucher that can be used online at any retailer in South Africa.