If somebody were to ask you how you serviced your car on a regular basis, you would probably tell them that you make sure the levels are checked, brake pads replaced and timing belts tensioned. You probably wouldn't even think about your tyres, but these items are equally important when it comes to regular maintenance and car servicing. When was the last time that you had a look at the tyres — a really, close look? Why is it important for you to include these covers and not consider them an afterthought?
Why Is This So Critical?
In the final analysis, tyres are the most critical component on the vehicle as they are the only part of the car that physically comes into contact with the road. When you consider just how much junk can be found on a typical Australian roadway, it's amazing that they don't fail more often. You should ensure that you regularly inspect these tyres to see if any glass, stones or nails have become embedded within them, which could cause a serious problem in the future. Never drive off in the morning without having a look around the car at each tyre first.
Because the roads are so uneven, your tyres can quite literally take a pounding. This means that the air within them is gradually squeezed out over time. If you're like many motorists, you do not carefully check the pressure as often as you should. Get a pressure gauge and do this each morning (when the tyres are still cold) before you go to work. Have a look at the driver's manual and commit to memory the correct pressure settings so that you can do this each day without too much time lost. Never inflate tyres to the maximum allowed, thinking that this can somehow make them last a bit longer. Only inflate them to the recommended or optimum level.
At least twice a year it's a good idea to fully inspect the tyres to look for damage to the sidewall, both outside and inside, as well as signs that they are wearing irregularly. Remember that if you don't drive on a regular basis, your tyres can still be exposed to heat and environmental toxins, and they are not designed to last forever.
What to Do When Replacing
Some people like to swap tyres from front to back or side to side as time goes by, thinking that they will get more value for their money. Instead, it's best to change all four tyres at the same time for new ones. While you are at it, ensure that they are balanced properly and aligned so that they roll in a straight line, without uneven wear on the sides. Remember also that alignment and balance can change over the weeks and months as you use your car. This should also be checked as part of your overall tyre servicing routine.