Buyers' advice, Motoring News, road safety

Choose the right tyres – and get the most out of them

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – Tyres. Four patches the size of an adult human hand, all that there is, essentially, between you and a permanent parking place.

The lack thereof is one of the major causes of high-speed crashes – indeed, a recent taxi check caught a people-carrier with four bald tyres.

Bald? Yep, it means totally devoid of tread. Smooth. Add a small amount of water on the highway under such a vehicle and, for sure, people – even children, perhaps – are going to die.

‘DO YOUR HOMEWORK’

“Despite this,” says Chantel Baxter, product manager at Bridgestone SA. ”many people just go for the cheapest tyres, or blindly follow the retailer’s recommendation.

“Doing some homework before buying replacement rubber will help to ensure that correct tyres for the vehicle, and your driving style, are mounted.

”Armed with the right information, choosing the right tyre should not be stressful.”

Bridgestone’s media release on the subject included suggesting tyres that fast drivers might require. We’re skipping them – fit tyres that match the specification of you car, bakkie, van – of even 20-ton truck or 50-seater bus.

CHECK YOUR CAR’S WARRANTY

You can, however, match the tyre to where you are likely to drive. Long distance? Commuting? Gravel roads? Off-road? Your vehicle’s handbook should have the listings.

Fitting low-profile tyres, for instance – would be fine for a Beemer but not a good idea for a bakkie or van.

Baxter points out that if your car is still under a manufacturer’s warrantee it would be wise to see if changing to non-spec tyres might negatively affect that warranty.

‘IT’S WORTH THE TROUBLE…’

Reputable manufacturers make a range of tyres designed for varying use and budgets.

She added: ”Choosing the right tyres will improve the performance and safety of your vehicle. It’s worth taking trouble to do it right.”

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