Damaged tyres raise your risk of tyre failure and possible loss of control, Bridgestone South Africa has warned. Romano Daniels, General Manager of Group Communications and Marketing, said that many South Africans drive on tyres which have been damaged.
“The law is extremely strict on damaged tyres,” he said. “It forbids the use of a tyre with a cut longer than 25mm or 10 per cent of the tyre width. Using a tyre on which the fabric or cord is exposed is also unlawful,” he explained.
Daniels said that these kinds of defects often lead to sudden tyre failure and could not be rectified. “The only solution in these cases is to replace the tyre. The law also prohibits driving on a tyre has been incorrectly fitted to the rim,” he added.
He cautioned motorists that it’s illegal to use any tyre which could be a danger to other road users, such as one with sidewall damage from being driven flat after a puncture. “A common defect our tyre specialists see is when a tyre’s sidewall has a bulge in it. This is caused by an internal cut which sometimes happens when a pothole is struck. The air leaks through the cut into the sidewall, causing a bulge,” he explained. “If the bulge bursts, the tyre will fail catastrophically. Again, the only solution is to replace the tyre.”
Daniels urged motorists to check their tyres at least once a week for cuts, bulges and bruises. “If you’re not sure about the safety of a tyre, consult a fitment specialist for advice,” he said. “Also check for nails or other articles which have penetrated the tread. Have the tyre repaired if possible before this kind of damage leads to a puncture.”
He also recommended that tyres be replaced once they were five to seven years old, regardless of their remaining tread depth. “Tyres are attacked by ozone in the air, as well as ultraviolet rays from sunlight, and oil and grease on the road. Over time, these factors cause the tyre to harden and develop cracks. These cracks not only render the tyre illegal, but might cause a sudden blow-out,” he concluded.
[Issued by Bridgestone South Africa on 29th October 2009]