The complete guide to owning tyres
The top 10 tyre tech things most car owners don’t know about grippy goodness (and their $800 investment in safety ‘down there’), but should
This is a pretty long, detailed video - but you can skip ahead to any point using the timecode below:
I get a lot of enquiry about tyre, believe it or not. Here’s a couple of recent ones. Rachael says:
“The manufacturer recommends 33psi all around for the standard 225/40R tyres on my car, but when I took delivery, the dealer recommended 35 to 36 psi. As you can imagine, I am now left somewhat confused as to what the safe operating pressure for these tyres actually is.
“It would appear that the information regarding tyre pressures has been conflicting to say the least and has led me to a state of total “I don’t know what the f**k to put in the tyres”. Your opinion, especially given that you conducted tyre tests with Wheels magazine, would be greatly appreciated.” - Rachael
Julian - a regular correspondent, via the Twitters - is also kind of in this ballpark:
“Why does the tyre shop anyways recommend a significantly higher inflation pressure than the placard? (in my case, 38 vs 32). is it because I’ll be back sooner to buy a new set?” - Julian
No - that’s probably not why. But I can confirm that this and all other things about tyres are quite confusing to the non-tyre aficionado. And for my sins in a previous life I did hang out with all those tyre engineer geeks while doing years of Wheels magazine tyre tests, all those years ago.
The top 10 points
1. Pressure - most people just don’t check. So if you’re one of those, use the vehicle’s tyreplacard.
2. Underinflation versus overinflation, determining the ‘Goldilocks’ pressure for your tyres. Using tyre wear as a differential diagnosis, and why you should buy a tyre gauge.
3. Inflate more for hard cornering or heavily laden highway use (note max. pressure on sidewall)
4. Cold inflation Vs practicality & how to offset this when inflating the tyres hot
5. What tread is, and how it works
6. Reduced tyre life and the tradeoff with grip (ie - safety) and longevity.
7. What the numbers mean - how to crack the code on the sidewall
8. New tyres and key traps to avoid - mould release compound coating and the ‘vent pips’.
9. When are tyres worn out? Tread depth versus calendar age, and how to tell how old any tyre really is. (Here’s an excellent article on tyre age >>)
10. Remote travel tips: Carry a plug kit and a compressor. For really remote areas carry an additional spare. If towing, investigate the possibility of fitting the trailer with the same wheels and tyres as the vehicle.