TYRE CARE SAFETY
1. CORRECT TYRE PRESSURE
Maintaining the recommended level of air pressure in your tyres will extend their life and ensure optimal handling, braking and fuel economy.
All tyres will lose air, typically at a rate of around 0.69 bar or 1 pound per square inch (psi) per month. This can be accelerated by frequent long-distance driving, uneven road surfaces and heavy loads, while air loss also increases in warmer temperatures. Check your pressure on a monthly basis, and consider checking your treads at the same time. You should check your tyres when they are cool – driving warms up the tyres, expanding the air inside and increasing the risk of an inaccurate reading.
The recommended pressure for your tyres can be found in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the sidewall of your tyre.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR PRESSURE
Use the pressure gauge on the air compressor at your garage, or buy one from an auto supplies store.
Locate your tyre’s valve and unscrew the cap.
Press down on the valve with the gauge – you will hear a brief hiss and the gauge’s indicator should show a reading.
Compare the pressure on the gauge with your tyre’s recommended bar or psi.
Inflate or deflate as necessary.
Re-check and adjust again until the pressure is at the recommended level.
Replace the valve caps.
Repeat for all four tyres.
If you notice an excessive or unusual drop in pressure it may indicate a leak. Consult a professional.
2. TYRE ROTATION
TYRE ROTATION EXPLAINED
Rotating your tyres helps achieve uniform wear across the full set. Even wear can help extend the life of your tyres and obtain balanced handling and traction. Regular tyre rotation can help keep your vehicle handling smoothly. It’s a good idea to rotate them at every second oil change.
Why should you rotate your tyres? The tyres at the front of your vehicle commonly wear out faster than those at the rear. If you change their positions frequently, it helps them wear more evenly and reach maximum tread life. It is worth to remember that tyre rotation can’t correct wear problems due to incorrect inflation pressures.
How often do they need rotation? Every second time you get an oil change (roughly every 10,000 to 12,000 km) it’s a good idea to rotate your tyres. If you regularly drive at high speeds, carry heavy loads, or drive long distances, the extra strain might mean slightly more frequent rotations. You should rotate them as soon as possible if you notice any uneven wear. If they emit a humming sound when you’re driving on a smooth road, it might be time to look into rotation.
Can I do a tyre rotation myself? Because it’s important to get your tyres fitted just right, we recommend that you go to your dealer or a garage to have a professional do it. But it’s easy enough to do yourself, and it’s a good idea to understand how it works, even if you leave it to a pro. You don’t need any specialist tools, just some space and a few hours.
Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for any recommendations by your vehicle manufacturer.
It’s suggested that your tyre rotation follow the patterns shown below.
You should rotate tyres front-to-back only if the tyres are all the same size (patterns A-D).
Some vehicles are equipped with different sized tyres and wheels on the front versus the rear axle. In that case, pattern E is suggested (if non-directional tyres are mounted).
When rotating tyres with a directional tread pattern, always observe the arrows molded on the sidewall. These arrows indicate the turning direction of the tyre which must be carefully respected. In case of same size directional tyres, pattern A could be followed.
Vehicles that use different sized directional tyres or wheels with different front and rear offsets with directional tyres will require dismounting, mounting and rebalancing in order to correctly rotate tyres - Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for any recommendations by your vehicle manufacturer.
3. READING YOUR TYRE TREADS
TREAD HEALTH CHECKS
Your tyre treads can tell you a lot about the health of your vehicle and alert you to potential problems. We advise regular checks of your treads in order to spot problems that may need a professional solution. Make the habit of checking your treads on a monthly basis as well as before and after long trips.
What to watch for:Tread wear indicators: Tread wear indicators are hard bars of rubber that only become visible when the tyre’s tread has worn below a certain level. The legal minimum depth for a tyre’s tread is 1.6mm, while for winter tyres we recommend a tread depth of no less than 4mm. Visible tread wear bars are a sign that it is time to replace your tyres. The letters TWI on the sidewall will tell you where they are located.
Tread depth: You can also use a tread depth gauge to ensure that you are in compliance with the law. A simple gauge can be purchased from your local auto supplies store. When using the gauge be sure to measure the tread depth on the inside and outside of your tyres.
Items stuck in tread grooves: Small objects can often become lodged in the tread. Remove any stones or chips as part of your periodic inspection, being careful not to damage the tyre. If an object cannot be easily removed, or if you believe an item such as a nail has pierced the tyre, consult a professional. Removal could cause your tyre to deflate.
Excessive wear on the outside of the tread: tyres that are under-inflated can often wear quickly at the edges. Check your tyre pressure against manufacturer recommendations, or if you find that the tyre is losing air quickly, have a specialist check for leaks. Driving on under-inflated tyres shortens the life of the tyres, increases fuel consumption and may put you at greater risk of accidents. If you find evidence of excessive wear on the front tyres only, it may indicate that you are taking corners too quickly. Consider changing your driving habits.
Excessive wear in the center of the tread: Tyres that are over-inflated can often wear quickly in the center of the tread. Too much air pressure can increase the risk of a tyre blowout, so ensure at all times that your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure only.
Uneven wear on all tyres: Tyres mounted on the front axle have more work to do than those on the rear, as most of the time they bear the weight of the engine and are subject to more steering and braking forces. However if your front tyres are wearing at a faster rate than you would expect, it could indicate that your shocks are worn. Faster wear on one side of the vehicle means that it may be time to have your wheels aligned.
Uneven wear on a single tyre: Uneven patches of wear on a single tyre can be a sign that your wheels need balancing or aligning. Bald spots may also indicate that you need to have your suspension checked. Consult a tyre specialist to determine the cause.
Sawtoothed pattern on tyre edges: A sawtoothed or feathered appearance around the tyre edges is most likely caused by erratic rubbing against the road. Talk to a professional about wheel alignment.
4. SHOULD I REPLACE MY TYRE
SHOULD I REPLACE MY TYRES?
The lifespan of any tyre will depend on multiple factors, including weather conditions, driving habits, road surfaces and tyre maintenance.
Tyre treads are made of soft rubber and will wear down over time, even if you are diligent about tyre maintenance. The minimum legal tread depth in the EU is 1.6mm, while for dedicated winter tyres we recommend a tread of not less than 4mm depth.
To know when your treads are worn, look for the Tread Wear Indicators on your tyre. These are hard bars of rubber that only become visible once your tread has worn below the limit for safe driving. Look on the tyre sidewall for the letters TWI, which indicate their position. You should make a habit of regularly checking your treads as uneven wear patterns can be a sign of other problems with your tyres or your vehicle.
Visible damage on the tread, shoulder or sidewall is a sign that a tyre needs replacing. Small cracks on the sidewall – referred to as “crazing” – as well as bubbles, blisters, cuts or other cracks could all potentially lead to tyre failure. Damage of this type indicates that new tyres are needed, even if the current set still has some life left in the treads.
For optimal performance and to promote even wear, at Dunlop we recommend that all four tyres be replaced at the same time. However if you only wish to replace two worn tyres, ensure they match the old ones. For better traction and stability, we advise mounting two new tyres on the rear axle rather than the front.