Earlier we added a media release to the Road Safety Blog. This was titled “Bridgestone SA says motorists are not fully-informed about tyre maintenance”. This media release focuses on several aspects of tyre maintenance, and we would like to refer to specific comments on the tread of the tyre and how this could endanger the lives of road users:
“As the tyres age, the rubber is attacked by UV radiation in sunlight and the ozone in the atmosphere. This causes the rubber of the tyre to become less flexible and start cracking. Even if there is still plenty of tread left on a tyre, if it’s older than seven years or so it will probably show evidence of age-related cracking.
As the rubber hardens, traction is also reduced; meaning deteriorating road holding and braking…Tyres older than five to seven years should be replaced regardless of their tread depth.
The tread surface should be checked for even wear and sufficient tread… All modern tyres are fitted with tread wear indicators. These are raised bumps in the grooves which are exposed when the tyre has worn to 1.6mm… Although a tyre is only illegal when there is less than 1mm of tread left anywhere on its surface, wet-weather road holding starts to deteriorate with less than 3mm of tread left.”
Bridgestone said that proper maintenance of tyres extends their service life and increases safety. The main cause of premature tyre failure is incorrect maintenance according to Bridgestone.
We would also like to refer road users to the Arrive Alive website and the section on “Road Safety and Tyre Safety”. On the Arrive Alive website we find a few basic rules about tyre safety. Always spend time to ensure you have correct, safe tyres on your vehicle:
- Tyres should always be replaced with the same size designation as recommended by the vehicle or tyre manufacturer.
- Tyre brand, size and tread pattern must be the same on each axle.
- All four tyres should be of the same size, speed rating and construction (radial or cross ply).
- Guard against used tyre imports, many of which are beyond retreading but are retreaded and sold illicitly. Similarly watch out for counterfeit tyres – illicit copies of respected brands. The advice is to always look for the SABS stamp of approval.
- When two radial tyres are used with two cross ply, put the radials on the rear axle. In some cases (especially commercial vehicles) the manufacturer might recommend different-sized tyres for the front and rear axles.
- Never assume that the tyres on your vehicle are correct, even if you have newly purchased it. Unless you bought new from an authorised dealer your vehicle may already be fitted with potentially lethal tyres.