Whether you’re traveling for a friend’s destination wedding, seeing relatives in the country, a long weekend camping off the grid or simply packing your bags and heading to the nearest wine region, a quick road trip can be just what the doctor ordered.
But when it comes to guaranteed road trip success, how many of us take our tyres for granted?
We’ve got our top four tips for road trip tyre health, and the best thing is, three out of the four steps only take minutes to perform and won’t cost you a cent!
Monitor Your Tyre Pressures
Tyre pressure is one of the easiest ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your tyres. For compact vehicles, sedans or SUVs using the same sized tyres that the vehicle came from the factory with, it’s a simple case of locating your tye placard (typically in the glovebox or inside the door jamb of the front two doors), or finding the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure settings in the Vehicle Manual or Handbook.
The tyre placard is a good reference for tyre pressures, but a quick call to the tyre manufacturer can sometimes provide an alternative better suited to your needs. Your local service station is likely to have a self-serve inflation machine, and a good rule of thumb is to check your tyre pressures every fourth time you fill up with fuel.
If you’re not confident checking pressures yourself then your local Toyo Tires Dealer will have a Technician that can do this for you.
Visual Health Check
The good news is that you don’t need any mechanical knowledge to be able to perform a quick visual assessment of your own tyres!
The first thing you should check is for any damage to the tyre - any cuts or chips to the tread or sidewall will warrant closer inspection from a professional, but you’ll also want to look for anything sticking out of the tread face of the tyre that could indicate a puncture - don’t be too concerned about small rocks as the tread will usually eject them when the car is in motion, but foreign objects like nails or other debris should be attended to immediately.
Depending on the position of the foreign object, the damage it’s done to the tyre and the life of the tyres, your local Tyre Technician may be able to repair the damage with a combination
patch/plug, or may suggest replacing the tyre if the damage is irreparable.
Another good visual health check is to monitor your tyre wear using your tyre’s inbuilt Tread Wear Indicators (TWI). Your TWI are cast into the tread face of the tyre, and appear as little bridges in between the tread blocks that show the legal minimum tread depth. If your tyres are at the TWI on any part of the tread, then it’s time to consult your local retailer to organise new tyres before your trip.
Rotation, Balance and Alignment
Most motorists only think about their tyre rotation, wheel balance and alignment twice - once when they’re getting new tyres fitted and the charge appears on the invoice, and the second time whenever there’s a vibration in the steering wheel, or the vehicle pulls gently in one direction!
As part of a comprehensive Tyre Maintenance Program, the average tyre should have several rotations and balances over the course of its life to ensure the tyres are wearing evenly. Most
vehicle manufacturers recommend tyre rotation at every service.
Tyre wear can be accelerated from front to rear and side to side depending on the vehicle’s drive orientation (that is, front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or all wheel drive) and based on vehicle weight distribution.
The rotating mass (wheel and tyre) can also become unbalanced as the tyre wears or due to trauma suffered whilst in service, like hitting a pothole.
A rotation, balance check and wheel alignment should be on your list of things to do before you hit the road, especially if you can’t remember the last time it was done. If you’re already heading to your local tyre professional for their advice on pressures or foreign objects in your tyre, ask them to double check your vehicle’s set up while you’re there.
Worth The Weight?
One factor that accelerates tyre wear and can lead to in-service tyre failure is excessive vehicle weight. It’s important to think about how much you’re packing for your trip away, and in turn, what extra stress this is putting on your tyres.
Vehicular weight isn’t just the domain of modified 4x4s, either - overloading a sedan, hatchback or SUV can dramatically increase the strain on your vehicle’s tyres, and exacerbate existing damage putting an abrupt end to your adventures.
Not only does extra weight increase your risk of an undesirable event whilst in transit, carrying around unnecessary weight is also going to negatively affect your fuel consumption, so consider packing with your head instead of your heart, and pack light on your next road trip.
Marginal increases in the load your vehicle is carrying might be able to be offset with a slight increase in tyre pressures - for advice on your Toyo tyres you can contact our Technical Team for advice regarding tyre pressures for increased loads.