New brackets for Bridgestone Tyre Check
Over 13% of tyres surveyed in the latest Bridgestone Tyre Check event were incorrectly inflated. This was the feedback from the tyre maker’s team of tyre specialists which conducted the survey in the car park of Northern Pretoria’s Kolonnade Retail Park. The Tyre Check surveys aim to monitor tyre condition as well as educate the public on tyre safety.
“The results from the latest surveys show that numerous motorists are still not checking their tyre pressures frequently enough,” said Bridgestone’s PR Manager, Desirée van Niekerk.
The Tyre Check surveys are conducted countrywide in partnership with Pick ‘n’ Pay. In the Kolonnade survey, 1964 tyres on 491 vehicles were surveyed for inflation pressure, damage and tread wear. All vehicles are checked with the driver’s permission and the results are recorded on a pamphlet which is left on the windscreen for the driver’s information.
The most recent survey also saw Bridgestone introduce more detailed inflation brackets to give greater insight into the state of tyre pressures on South African vehicles. Tyre pressures of between 180kPa and 290kPa have been reported as ‘fine’ in previous surveys, and this benchmark is retained. However, the ‘extremely dangerous’ category falls away, and is replaced by these new categories: over 290kPa (‘over-inflated’), accounting for 3.8% of tyres the Kolonnade survey) and below 130kPa (‘dangerously low’), with 0.3% of the tyres surveyed at Kolonnade falling into this bracket.
In between these extremes, pressures between 160 and 180kPa are recorded as ‘low’ and pressures of 130 to 160kPa as ‘very low’ (hazardous). “These new brackets will give better insight into the exact tyre pressures recorded by our Tyre Check specialists,” said Bridgestone’s van Niekerk. In the most recent survey, 7.2% of tyres were classified as ‘low’, with 2.2% of tyres showing ‘very low’ pressures. Severely under-inflated tyres are more likely to fall victim to blowouts because excessive heat builds up in the tyre and damages its construction.
Another concern was the 12% of tyres which featured mixed tread patterns on the vehicle (i.e. different tread tyre brands fitted across same axle). While it is not unusual for the Tyre Check team to see this level of tread pattern mixing, Bridgestone’s van Niekerk warned that these vehicles were a potential risk to their occupants and other road users. “Vehicles with mixed tread patterns are more likely to experience unbalanced road holding and braking,” she said. “Motorists should take care to replace tyres in pairs on an axle to reduce the risk of loss of control under cornering and braking. Ideally, all four tyres should be of the same make, size (in case the vehicles carry the same size on front and rear) and tread pattern,” she commented.
There was a sliver of good news though: the number of tyres which had damage like cuts or bruises, or were worn to the legal limit and beyond, was only 2.2%. This is lower than the average for the 2013 Tyre Check season of 4.8%
“The results from the Kolonnade Retail Park survey seem to indicate that motorists are replacing damaged tyres but are not monitoring their tyre pressures regularly enough,” van Niekerk explained.
“Always use a good quality pressure gauge to check your tyres, and always check the pressures when cold,” she advised. “Check your pressures about every two weeks and remember to inspect each tyre for damage while you check it. And don’t forget the spare tyre, if your vehicle has one,” she added.
Van Niekerk said that one of the main causes of tyre failure is incorrect inflation pressure, especially under-inflation. The under-inflated tyre may create excessive heat generation, and lead to tyre failures as mentioned earlier. “By checking your tyres regularly, you’re not only getting maximum tyre life, you’re keeping yourself and your passengers’ safe,” she concluded.