good motoring
Pay attention to tyres
H. Kishie Singh

there were two news items in all the newspapers on the same day. Four youngsters had died in an accident in Chandigarh. The second accident claimed two lives near Sirsa, Haryana. The reason for both accidents was the same. The tyres had burst. A tyre burst is deadly. It is an explosion. The air in the tyre is under pressure and escapes in micro-seconds. This is what causes the tyre to explode and get shredded into bits. The force of the explosion will lift the vehicle into the air.

An eye-witness account of the accident by the driver of the car behind is, “The rear tyre of the vehicle burst with a loud sound. After the tyre burst, the Scorpio overturned, took several summersaults and then hit a tree!” As a result, two persons were killed and two injured.

Just imagine, a tyre burst had enough explosive force to overturn a Scorpio, an S.U.V that weights almost two tonnes and flip it over a couple of times. Most compact cars, like the Alto, Wagon R and Santro weigh around 850 kg. Sedans like the Toyota Corolla, Honda City and Mitshubishi Lancer are around 1,100 to 1,200 kg. A 15-inch tyre burst could put these cars into orbit.

Yet a very common sight on our roads are worn-out tyres. They undermine the safety of the car passengers, the pedestrians. In fact, at risk is the safety of every road user. Such irresponsible behaviour should invite Section 304 A of the I.P.C. “Causing death due to negligence.”

It is a simple matter to attend to your tyres. Anyone who sells tyres has enough knowledge to look after your tyres. You should make regular stops to have tyre inflation checked. It is one factor that promises good fuel average, a smooth ride and longer tyre life.

It is essential to have your tyres balanced regularly. The advice to do so “every 5,000 km”is misleading. If you had your tyres balanced on a Friday and went to your farm for the week-end , you could drive over rough and potholed roads and by the time you got back, the tyre has had a bashing and could be “out of round”.

In 500 km or less of driving you will need to get the tyres re-balanced. If you wait for the 5,000-km deadline, for sure you will have uneven wear on your tyres.

There is another advantage of regular wheel balancing. The wheel has to be removed from the car to be balanced. This means you can inspect the inside wall of the tyre for cuts, bruises and bulges. If there are stones wedged in the tyre tread, they have to be removed. Hard stones embedded in the tread will damage the tyre. Tyres are the most important fitments on your car. Pay careful attention to them.

In days goneby when you changed tyres, it was strongly recommended to put in a new tube. Today, we have a tubeless tyres so it's a simple matter to change tyres. No tube is required. What about the nozzle? It could be three to four years old and for sure the material has deteriorated. This will cause a leak.

When you change tubeless tyres, make sure you replace the nozzle. It costs less than Rs 100. Some cars have tube-type tyres mounted on expensive mag rims. Tube-type tyres, in case of a puncture, deflate almost instantly. If this happens, the car will run on the expensive rim and damage it. Tubeless tyres deflate slowly, if at all, and will save the expensive rim. Mag rims demand tubeless tyres.