3 tips to ensure you’re ready to hit the road safely
July 16, 2017 | 6:28 PM
by Courtesy of Brandpoint
To ensure your tyres will perform safely, it’s crucial to monitor for worn treads.

Temps are higher, the days are longer and road trips are planned. When it comes to getting our cars ready for the road, we habitually adjust our rear-view mirror and double-check fuel levels before putting the car in gear. We sometimes change our engine oil and refill the windshield fluid. Yet we often overlook one of the most important safety features on our vehicles — the tyres. With a little preparation and the right tyre maintenance know-how, major issues on the road can be largely avoided. Follow these simple tips to ensure your rubber is ready to meet the road:

1. Choose the right tyres for the season.

There are many different tyre categories, from ultra-high performance (UHP) tyres designed to ensure performance vehicles handle flawlessly at high speeds to highway tyres built to provide a smooth, comfortable ride and predictable handling. It’s important to work with a professional tyre technician to decide which tyres are best suited for your vehicle and style of driving. “Today’s tyres are available in thousands of fitments providing varying performance, comfort and safety features, making it absolutely necessary to discuss your wants and needs with a knowledgeable tyre sales person to ensure you’re getting the desired results,” says Matti Morri, Nokian Tyres technical customer service manager in the US.

For example, a driver looking for balanced performance on varying surfaces — from hot and dry to cool and wet — would be happy with something like the Nokian zLine A/S UHP, designed to perform safely and precisely in variable conditions.

2. Give your tyres a once-over for correct air pressure.

One of the easiest ways to extend the life of your tyres is to regularly check them for correct air pressure. Low and uneven inflation will cause a number of problems for your vehicle, including poor handling and reduced comfort, increased fuel consumption, and an overall unsafe driving experience. Tyre pressure should be checked once a month and always before longer trips. You should always check tyre pressure before hitting the road because driving causes tyres to heat up and air pressure to increase. Consult the vehicle’s manual for proper inflation pressures.

3. Check your tread depth.

Tyres with inadequate tread are susceptible to poor handling, hydroplaning, reduced gas mileage and more. In fact, tyres are considered legally worn out when they reach 2/32 of an inch. “To ensure your tyres will perform safely, it’s crucial to monitor for worn treads,” Morri says. “Nokian Tyres’ products are equipped with Nokian’s Driving Safety Indicator (DSI), which indicates what percentage of tread depth remains, as well as a water drop stamp that disappears when tread is reduced to the point where the risk of hydroplaning is increased.”

Pro tip: A penny and a match are both easy tools to check your tread depth. Stick a penny, facing you, upside down in the tread on multiple spots around the tyre. If Lincoln’s head is completely visible, your tread is too worn and you should replace your tyres. Similarly, if you stick the head of a match in your tread and the tip is not completely hidden, your tread is too worn. These are both signs of ultimate worn tread, and you may want to consider new tyres before reaching this point.

Before you hit the open road, remember that minor issues can become major roadblocks in the blink of an eye - or turn of the wheel. Take a little extra time to follow these simple tyre tips and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is the wind messing up your hair.

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