Tyre maker Bridgestone South Africa has published data obtained during its Tyre Safety Survey for 2010 which shows that standards of tyre maintenance in South Africa have improved since 2009.
Retailer Pick n Pay assisted Bridgestone by permitting the annual survey to be conducted in the parking lots of its stores. Armed with a pressure gauge, tread depth meter and a tyre data collection sheet, Bridgestone tyre experts sampled parked cars at random and recorded the results. A survey data sheet was left on the windscreen of all the cars surveyed, showing the tyre pressures and condition of the tyres.
In 2010, a total of 3318 tyres fitted to 829 vehicles were surveyed. Any tyre worn to under 1.6mm was flagged as being unsafe, as were tyres which were outside the target pressure range of 1.8 to 2.9 kPa. A tyre at a pressure of more than 2.9 kPa is dangerously over-inflated and causes reduced roadholding, as well as being less able to resist penetration by sharp objects lying on the road surface.
A tyre at a pressure of below 1.8 kPa is under-inflated, meaning reduced roadholding and faster tyre wear. As with tyres over 2.9 kPa, tyres under 1.5 kPa were recorded as being extremely dangerous. At this low pressure, the tyre builds up excessive heat during driving and may disintegrate, resulting in a blowout.
Bridgestone Public Relations Manager, Mandy Lovell, said that 7% of the tyres sampled fell into the “extremely dangerous” category, with another 7% in the “dangerous” bracket.
“This means that 86% of the tyres sampled were in good condition and correctly inflated, which is a slight improvement over the 2009 survey which found that 85% of the tyres sampled were in good condition,” she added.
In the tread depth test, 4% of tyres sampled had less than 1.6mm of tread remaining, a considerable drop from the 2009 figure of 10%.
Regular tyre checks were one of the easiest ways motorists could improve their safety on the roads. It is recommended that motorists check tyre pressures at least once every two weeks and inspect the tyres for wear and damage at the same time. Incorrect inflation and tyre damage can result in increased running costs and even a tyre blowout, which could be fatal. Regular tyre pressure and condition checks should be part of every driver’s car care habits.