After months of being cooped up in the house due to the lockdown, the time finally came for us to start driving again. Luckily, I’m still working from home, but my son is back at school, and there are a lot more cars on the roads. With this in mind, I had to make sure that I take stock of my vehicle to ensure that it is in a roadworthy condition.

Unlucky for me, it wasn’t in a great condition – because of my tyres. I was told that I need to replace all four tyres urgently, but I didn’t understand why. I mean, I’ve only had the car for 15 months.

Turns out there is some tyre maintenance that I didn’t know about, and that was the cause of my problems. So, I thought I should share some knowledge that I received from Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Sumitomo Dunlop), to help people who are as clueless about tyres as I am.

If this applies to you, follow these handy tips to make sure your tyres get you through a good couple of years:

  1. Maintain pressure – check your tyre pressure every time you fill your fuel tank. Follow the owner’s manual or check inside the fuel cap lid for the correct pressure. This will reduce your fuel consumption, ensure even tyre wear and increase the lifespan of your tyres.
  2. Rotate your tyres – check-in at a reputable tyre dealer to have your tyres rotated at least once per year or every 10 000km. This will keep them wearing evenly, make them last longer and give you the best use out of your tyres.
  3. Check your tread – park your vehicle and turn your steering to the far right so that you get a full view of your tread. The treadwear indicator (the little square in the groove of your tyre tread) is set at 1.6mm. Tread worn to below 3mm will increase the distance you need to stop safely, increasing your risk of accidents. Tread below the 1.6mm means that the tyre is illegal and it is time to change it. A tyre that is badly worn, has damaged rubber coverings, exposed fabric or cords, cuts, lumps or bulges is considered a second-hand waste tyre and therefore also illegal. Check this once a month to be sure that you are safe on the roads and within the legal limits. 

One might consider buying second-hand tyres. However, from experience, I wouldn’t recommend it. And Riaz agrees. He says that “Buying second-hand tyres may seem like a cost-saving option, but do you know where those tyres have been and what they have been through? Buying new and choosing a reputable brand will save you money – your tyres will last longer and will wear better, keeping you and your loved ones safe.”

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