It is essential that you know how to check your tyres as they are the only part of your car that makes contact with the road surface and they play a critical role in the steering, braking and general safety of your car.
You need to ensure that your tyres are inflated at the correct pressure. There are cars out there that have two recommended air pressure ratings, one for light loads and one for heavy loads. You will find the information on the tyre pressure requirements for your vehicle in your owner’s manual or on a sticker in the door jammer or in a petrol filler cap.. There is a number on the tyre’s side that indicates the maximum pressure the tyre can withstand, not the recommended amount. There are possible consequences for inflating your tyres too much (high pressure) as well as if you inflate it to little (low pressure) because both could cause blow outs. Low pressure can cause extra heat buildup that can lead to a blowout at high speeds. Low tyre pressure has been connected to a lot of problems from accidents to premature wear, and even low petrol mileage. Your car will not handle or respond the way it is designed to if the tyres are under-inflated.
You also need to check on your tyre tread. Take note that the minimum legal tread depth limit in South Africa is 1mm. You should ensure that you change your tyres before the legal limit is reached. It is advisable that you check your tyre tread at least once a month; rather be safe than sorry. Secure and accurate tyre tread is essential when traveling on a long road trip and on highways. Tyres heat up on long trips which can cause blowouts on worn out tyres. If the tyres are showing any tread wear, replace the tyres. If the tyres have uneven tread wear, check the alignment too. Ensure there are no defects in the sidewall of the tyres or bulges and bald spots on your tyres. It is critical for steering and braking to have good, well maintained tyres.
In case you have identified a need to change the tyre you will need to be prepared by insuring that the spare is inflated and that your jack is in good condition. If you are changing a tyre on the road side then you must turn on your hazard lights. You need to ensure that there is no one in the car while you are changing the tyre. You need to pull up the handbrake and take the car out of gear. The wheels on the side that is not being lifted must be blocked. The nuts on the wheels should be loosened while the vehicle is on the ground. The jack needs to be placed on firm ground that is as flat as possible. You need to slowly raise the car and then you can now remove the nuts and the wheel. Replace the wheel with the spare and replace the wheel nuts and make sure they are secured. When you lower the car you should tighten them properly; if you over- tighten the nuts you can damage the brake components and if you do not tighten them enough that is very dangerous so you have to be extra careful.
You should get that changed tyre checked at the nearest service station to ensure that all is done right and ensure your safety on the road.