The care and use of tyres should be of paramount concern to drivers and vehicle owners so as to prolonged usage and ensure safety. Generally, the cost of tyres care is negligible when compared to repair or replacement costs. The level of maintenance and the manner in which tyres are used on vehicles demonstrate care or a lack of it.
For many years, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) has been monitoring new and used tyres under its Product Compliance programme to ensure that they meet the requirements of national standards.
Monitoring is done by Inspectors at ports of entry and at bonds and warehouses. It involves the examination of the commodity to ensure compliance with labeling and quality requirements. However, monitoring by the Bureau is not enough to ensure safe tyres are used on our roadways. Frequent examination and care by users go a far way to guarantee that their tyres take them a far way, safely.
As drivers, simple actions like checking your tyre pressure to make sure that the wheels are properly inflated can make a real difference on how long your tyres last. Under or over-inflated tyres don’t wear evenly and won’t last as long.
For example, a tyre that is constantly 20% underinflated can last 20% less in use. That means, a new tyre that could last approximately 95,000km would be worn out by 75,000 km. In addition, since the front and rare axles and the right and left side of vehicles wear down tyres differently, rotating your tyres regularly between the different positions will ensure they wear evenly and last longer.
A visit to the experts is not necessary to determine the ideal requirements for optimal performance of your tyres. Usually tyres are adequately labelled with the information needed to guide users as to their size, pressure and load requirements, which must be complied with to ensure safety and to avoid the loss of lives due to road accidents. The following are some tips which will help in the care and use of tyres:
a. Check the air pressure of each tyre at least fortnightly. Incorrect tyre pressure can lead to the inside of the tyre being damaged, resulting in tyre problems or even a blowout.
b. Tyres must be inflated to specified pressures. The pressure inside warm tyres is naturally higher and must be reduced, and on cooling, can fall below the minimum tyre pressure. (Driving, especially at high speeds, causes heat build-up in tyres).
c. Incorrect tyre pressure causes premature and uneven tyre wear. Under-inflated tyres have a higher rolling resistance, which means higher fuel consumption.
a. If a tyre is visibly damaged (that is, it has a fracture or a cut that exposes the carcass) or has an unusual wear pattern, the tyre must be taken off and examined as quickly as possible by a tyre specialist.
b. Driving over curb-stones or over potholed roads may cause internal damage to tyres, leading to failure at high speeds.
c. Check tyres regularly for damage as, sharp stones, nails etc. can penetrate the tyre tread. These need to be removed. Check also if there are bulges or cuts on the sidewall.
d. For virtually all vehicles, rotating the tyres from one axle to the other is permitted. In certain cases, changing them crosswise/ diagonally can also be advantageous. This does not apply to directional tyres. It is also advisable to have the alignment checked at 10,000 km intervals.
e. Harsh acceleration, braking with locked wheels and fast steering movements shorten the service life of tyres.
a. Tread damage or cuts that extend to the breaker, belt or beyond must be repaired by the hot vulcanization process. Repairs using cold temporary repair measures, such as plugging, are used as emergency means to take you home and should be rectified immediately without any delay.
Proper care and use will extend the life of tyres and reduce the incidence of accidents due to tyre damage or “blowout”, so drivers are urged to monitor and properly use their tyres to ensure safety on the road.
For further information, kindly contact the GNBS on telephone numbers: 219-0065, 219-0066 or 219-0069 or visit the website: www.gnbsgy.org.
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