Your vehicle’s tyres are one of it’s most important components. Without it, your vehicle may not move. Improper care of your tyres could lead to an auto crash that can even claim lives. Similarly, poor maintenance of the tires can aggravate the severity of any crash. tire maintenance shops and vulcanizers are the two entities responsible for the maintenance of your vehicle’s tires. However, you need to put things in check. here are some of the most important reasons why you must monitor your vulcanizers.
For the records, tires and tyres are referring to the same thing which is the outer rubber part of a vehicle wheel, Te only difference between the two is that In Britain and many other Commonwealth nations, the word is spelt tyre. For example, a bicycle tyre, or a car tyre. While In the USA the word tyre is spelt tire.
I mostly get my inspiration to write from my immediate environment. However, my theories usually have a general application. This article shall be as insightful as it is an eye-opener. I will discuss the proper maintenance schedule for tires, things the vehicle owner must do, proper supervision of tyres maintenance personnel, the dangerous effect of poorly maintained tyres and so on. The two major actors are the vulcanizers and the car owners. We have to answer the following questions: What is optimal tire inflation? what is over inflation of tires? what is underinflation of tires, what am I supposed to be aware of about my tires as a car owner? finally, what should I avoid doing with my tires as a driver.
Tyres/Tires Proper Maintenance Guide for Car Owners
Obviously, your life is priceless. Basic maintenance can save you from deformity or even death during an auto crash. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case when you do the opposite. In this section, I would give some all-encompassing tips for all types of vehicle tyres regardless of the vehicle brand. First off, your reference point must be your vehicle’s user manual at all times. Le not be deceived, no person(s) knows what’s best for your car better than the original manufactures.
Get All the needed Information About your Tires/tyres from Your Manual
First and foremost, you need to read up your manual and know the tire types specified for your vehicle. If you don’t have a physical copy anymore, please download a copy online.
know the lifespan of a tire before purchasing it
Tires have a lifespan of between 6 to 10 years depending on the quality. Start applying caution immediately your tires clocks 6 years from the year of production. In fact, if you ride your vehicle very often and on all kinds of roads, 4 to 5 years is enough for your tires to expire.
Most tire’s threads will wear off before it reaches its expiration day for commercial drivers. In addition, If you are buying a used tire, do not buy a tire that was produced about 6 to 10 years ago. Please do not risk your life and that of your passengers. To check the production date of tires, refer to the image below(the tire in my pic below was produced in the 16th week in the year 2014 meaning if you buy it in 2019 used or unused, 5 years is already off its age/lifespan). You can get this information on the sidewall of every non-Chinese tires
Always buy the Correct Tire/Tyre type: Don’t use a Winter tire in the Summer
Selecting the correct tire types is also very important. Generally, it is recommended that you use an all-season tire. However, if you live in a place where there is extreme cold or snow, get a winter tire. Generally, buying all-season tires is the best for normal temperature setting. There are basically 4 types of tires; the winter tires, an all-seaosn tire and a summer tire and a performance tires(used in racing cars).
in Nigeria for example, we have no reason to use a winter tire in ay vehicle. Unfortunately, car dealers to sell this to customers and our vulcanizer don’t even have the knowledge to reject the same.I have some pictures before that can help you to differentiate a winter tire from the all-season one.
The disadvantages of using a winter tire in summer/dry season
Using a winter tire in summer is tantamount to shortchanging oneself and getting a reduced performance at the same time. These are the reasons:
-A Winter tire will wear faster on warm, dry pavement – the tread rubber of winter tires is considerably more flexible than that of all season and summer tires. That same pliable tread rubber that adds traction in winter will wear down quickly in warm temperatures. Summer and all-season tires are built to withstand warm temperatures.
-It can explode faster than an all-season when it’s under extreme pressure.
-Decreased performance – In warm weather, winter tires won’t provide the same handling capabilities as summer or all-season tires. Imagine if you needed to make a quick manoeuvre and your tires were soft and squishy.
Use Only the Tires Size Specified for Your Vehicle
There is this misconception by some people that tyre type is the same as tyre size. Well, this is wrong as tyre types or categories and sizes are two different things. For clarification, tyre types have to do with the performance of the tires across all weather while, tire size is related to the measurement of the tires.
Sadly, many vehicle owners ignorantly change the tires that come with their vehicle to a bigger one. It is not as if this in itself is a direct security risk, just that you shouldn’t go too big. Please if your tire version is (P205/55/16R) do not change it to 215(width) 65(height) and 17r(rim). If you must change it at all due to the huge dilapidated conditions of the roads in your country, you can go higher one step but avoid going wider. I will personally advise you against changing the version of your tires as its disadvantages outweigh its advantages. It can affect the handling and turning of the car.
The significance of changing your original tyre or wheel size
It doesn’t matter if you change to a bigger rim/wheel(the practice of changing the wheels to a larger one is known as Plus sizing). or a bigger tired. Changing the wheels when done properly may not affect the accuracy of your speedometer. The followings are how your vehicle will respond to a change in tire size:
- Larger tires improve handling and cornering, due to wider tread faces and stiffer sidewalls.
- Wider tires may decrease braking distances on dry pavement.
- Wider tires may also increase acceleration, especially in very powerful vehicles such as muscle cars.
- Larger wheels with lower profile tires are sometimes aesthetically desirable.
- Increasing your tire size can also wear your drivetrain & transmission faster.
- Larger wheels typically cost more. Wider tires tend to be more expensive because they are less common.
- Performance improvements beyond what is achieved in a Plus One sizing are often minimal.
- Lower profile tires tend to have stiffer sidewalls, which might decrease riding comfort.
- Low profile tires are likely to sustain more damage to tires and wheel rims when encountering road debris and potholes.
- Larger and wider wheels decrease fuel efficiency and increase consumption. A test done on Volkswagen Golf 2.5 saw a 10% decrease in fuel efficiency from 23.3 mpg to 21.1 mpg in a Plus Four sizing.
- It affects the speed: Tire width has no effect on vehicle speed, but tire height does. In order to cover the same amount of ground, a small tire must rotate more times than a larger tire.
- Changing a vehicle’s tire size affects its speedometer and odometer displays, as these gauges calculate speed and distance based on the vehicle’s RPM coupled with its original tire size. When equipped with tires taller than its standard tires, a vehicle’s speedometer displays a lower-than-actual speed and its odometer shows less distance than has actually been travelled.
- A larger tire-footprint can increase the time taken for “return to center” (steering) after taking a sharp turn.
Check your Tire Pressure once every month
A test has shown that a tire will naturally lose at least 1PSI every 30 days. Therefore, ensure you gauge your tire monthly even if it appears gauged in your eyes. This includes a total inspection of the tires
Test if Your Vehicle’s tire is still in Allignment
Tires alignment check is easy to perform by the vehicle owner. All you need to do is to be on an even road and let go of your steering wheel while driving straight. If your vehicle pulls to the right or left, your wheel needs an alignment. In cute cases, your tires might be having uneven wear due to the fact that it has been out of alignment for too long. A car that is well alignment will still drive straight even at over 100k/ph
Perform a routine check of your wheels balance Check
Let me teach you a trick that you can use to check if your wheels are balanced or not. Take your vehicle for a ride on the “HIGHWAY”. I mean, go to a road where there is no traffic. Then race your car up to or more than 60K/PH. If you start notice vibrations when you rev your car up to between 60 to 100k/ph, then one or all of your wheels need balancing
Make sure your spare tire is adequately inflated
Most vehicle owners don’t check their spare tires. It is recommended that you do this ahead of when you might need to use it. Make sure it is inflated to factory spec otherwise, this can affect the handling when installed.
All Vehicle Owners should own their own Tyre Inflator and Guage
I can’t remember the last time i visited a vulcanizer to inflate my tires. You should also buy your own tire pressure gauge. I got a dc-powered tire inflator + gauge combo for myself. You need your gauge to be able to challenge your vulcanizer whenever he is trying to over-inflate your tires. Below is an image of a typical tire inflator and gauge. The product below can gauge and inflate the tires up to 100psi
Don’t Arbitrarily go about changing your tire Dealer vulcanizers
Unless in an emergency situation, please stick with your most trusted vulcanizer. Don’t allow people to because of greed, experiment with your tires
Stick to the PSI Specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer
Now, this is a tricky condition in Nigeria, especially for cars. if you are driving a truck or an SUV, please do not go above or below the psi in your manual. In some cars, you will be told to use 35psi for the front tires and 30psi for the back. Considering the condition of the roads in Nigeria, I can say it is still saved to add a maximum of 5psi for the front and 3psi for the rear tires. However, when you are travelling go back to factory specs immediately.
furthermore, don’t go above manufacturer’s specs even if the tire manufacturer specified a different maximum load. Alternative means of checking your tire psi apart from consulting your manuals is by checking it at the door jam of the driver’s side. If you do not know your cars psi maybe because your car is too old, please go at least 5% below what the tire producers say you should put in it.
- When you have a flat tire or a tire with low pressure: Please ply the smoothest road available until you get to a tire shop/vulcanizer for repair. Also, make sure you avoid falling into potholes and bumps while you have a tire that is low in air.
- How your driving behaviors can improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency
- 5 non-mechanical indicators that cause your car’s fuel consumption to rise
What is Vulcanization?
First off, A tire or tyre is a ring-shaped component that surrounds a wheel’s rim to transfer a vehicle’s load from the axle through the wheel to the ground and to provide traction on the surface travelled over.
Vulcanization, on the other hand, is a chemical process, used to harden rubber. Vulcanization traditionally referred to the treatment of natural rubber with sulfur. In Nigeria, those who help us patch our leaking tires, or inflate our tires when they need more air are known as vulcanizers.
About Vulcanizing/Vulcanizers in Nigeria
A vulcanizer or vorcah/Vorgah as being sometimes called simply refers to any individual that does repair/maintenance work on vehicle tires. this business is common and thriving as it requires very little start-up capital
Functions of Vulcanizers in Nigeria
- Their primary function is patching/repairing of punctured/leaked tires
- In addition, they help inflate low tires inflating low tires for a fee.
- Checking tire pressure
- replacing tire tubes
- They give advice on buying of used tires.
- Some vulcanizers in Nigeria sell used tires
- Mobility: due to the small scale nature of their business, they can be at your beck and call when you are stranded with a bad tire.
Differences Between tire shops & a Vulcanizer’s workshop
Gladly, we now have many tires shop in Nigeria. A tires shop is an entity in business that is set up to provide a total repair and maintenance for everything that affects the wheels & tires. Unlike the vulcanizer, tire shops work beyond just the tires. A vulcanizer cannot automatically perform all the functions of a tire shop because a vulcanizer lacks the skill and capital(to buy the tools). On the contrary, A tire shop can do everything a vulcanizer does and more.
A Vulcanizer stand is very easy and quite inexpensive to set up. Your typical stall consists of a pumping machine, a spanner toolset and a stool/shade for the vulcanizer to sit on. As a result, they’re widespread and easily accessible for users.
Most tire sellers/dealer run a tire shop. Some of the features of these shops are listed below:
- Wheel Alignment
- Balancing of the wheels
- Patching/mending a leaking or punctured tire
- Inflating/deflating a tire
- Sales of tires
- Rotation of tires: that is they take the rear tires to the front to shap things up and improve traction
- Inspection of tires
- Consultation services on types and sizes of tires.
- Recycling of tyres(not applicable in all countries)
Why you must Monitor your Vulcanizers during tire repair work or Maintenance
No doubt about it, vulcanizers are lifesavers. However, for the safety of the vehicle driver, some of their excessive needs to be put in check by none other but the car owners. This supervision also applies to car shops. The reasons below explain Why you must monitor your vulcanizers or tire shops operators when you take your tire to them for repair/inspection.
- The Vulcanizer’s Greed: Many vulcanizers, even those who are informed will still inflate an already adequately inflated tire just to collect money. They have forgotten that by so doing, they are endangering the lives of the vehicle’s occupant(s). Over-inflation of tires has huge disadvantages as you will soon learn
- Similarly, when there are multiple leaks on your tire, a good vulcanizer ought to recommend replacement. Unfortunately, most of them will still suggest that you patch it up. This happens to owners who entirely trust their judgements.
- Many Vulcanizers don’t know about directional tires: Directional tires have to stay on the same side of the car. proper installation of new tires: I am sorry to say but since most of them are illiterate, they can’t interpret the letters or signs. See the image below for explanation.
- however, if you later sense that your tires are over-inflated, please do not over speed. speed in itself kills while speeding with an abnormal tire put you are a lesser chance of surviving an auto crash. life has no duplicate.
- Also, avoid the habit of allowing your vulcanizer to gauge your tires. Even when he does, reconfirm this with your own gauge. Some of them use a non-functional gauge for your tires. It will give an inaccurate reading.
- For commercial transports operators, make sure you have an official vulcanizer who must well be monitored so as not to endanger the lives of the passengers due to his greed or negligence
- Also, if you must give your vulcanizer your car to go and fix, always check the gauge before you start driving them after the fix.
- Don’t allow a vulcanizer to talk you into buying a bigger tire. Make sure you really want it. In addition, go up one size at a times. Don’t jump from P205/55 r16 to P205/65 r16. You can at most do, P205/60/16 or 205/50/r17. Note: The first three-digit number in the tire size refers to the tire width. For instance, in a size P205/55 R16 tire, the width is 205 millimeters. For example, in a size P205/55 R15 tire, the 55 means that the height is equal to 65% of the tire’s width. The last two digits is for the Rim size.
- For those who travel a lot with their cars, please do not allow more than two patches in your tires before you replace them.
- When you are given money to your vulcanizer to shop for a new tire for you, don’t let him cajole you into buying cheap Chinese tires except that is what you can afford. Make sure yo get the best your money can buy.
- Finally, when your vulcanizer is helping you to buy a used tire, make sure it is the type(e.g all-season) for your car. Sadly, many vulcanizers(and some car dealers) are ignorant of the difference between a winter tyre and an all-season one. Unfortunately, the car owner bears the brunt of quick wear and tire failure.
Why Do Some Vulcanizer Over-Inflate Tires/Tyres
1. This practice is due to ignorance and greed. Ignorance in the sense that they believe an over-inflated tire is better on the bad road.
2. We all already know how a man’s greed can overshadow is conscience and tempt him to do that which is wrong.
Dangers Inherent in over-inflated Tires/Tyres
The purpose of this article is to sensitise you and to warn you to always Why you must monitor your vulcanizers. The question now is that, why do you need to monitor your vulcanizer or supervise what he has done?. I will answer b saying that failure to that that can pose a threat not only to your vehicle performance but also to your life.
In no particular order, I have itemised the dangers in over-inflating your tires:
- First off, your car will ride rougher because it cannot compress and spread the impact over its entire surface. The tire cannot cushion the weight of the car as well.
- Secondly, the vehicle will be twitchier/jumpy
- Thirdly, the roll resistance of your tire will decrease significantly during winter/rainy season and this can wear out the threads faster. This is because its footprint in contact with the road is reduced
- Moreover, if a vehicle’s tires are overinflated by 6-psi, they could be damaged more easily when running over potholes or debris in the road.
- Over-inflating your tires as little as 6psi can lead to excessive damage when driving over uneven sections of road and/or potholes.
- Are you also aware that, overinflation will also cause the tire to bulge out along the centre of the treads? That is, the tire develops a bubble on the sidewall.
- When tires are overinflated, they will wear unevenly. This will cause more stress on the tire itself, which can lead to leaks and blowouts
Surprisingly, both over inflation and underinflation are inimical to your tires health and your safety. That’s is the reason why you must monitor your vulcanizers when they repair your tires.
- While 6psi doesn’t seem excessively low, remember, it usually represents about 20% of the tire’s recommended pressure.
- If a vehicle’s tires are underinflated by only 6psi it could lead to tire failure on the road.
- Additionally, the tire’s tread life could be reduced by as much as 25%
- Underinflated pressure will allow the tire to deflect (bend) more as it rolls. This can, in turn, bend the wheels.
- An underinflated tire will build up internal heat, increase rolling resistance and cause a reduction in fuel economy of up to 5%
- Also, when riding on an under-inflated tire, you will experience a significant loss of steering precision and cornering stability
- Finally, Increase in friction can cause the tires to overheat, which can lead to premature wear, tread separation and blowouts.
Benefits of Tires/tyres That are Properly Inflated
What are the benefits of monitoring your vulcanizers?. I mean, what can you gain when you use your tires according to manufacturer’s specs?. Well, you tend to enjoy every goody the car maker promises. These includes:
1. Fuel Economy
Saving fuel saves money for the driver, but it also cuts down national dependence on foreign oil and reduces the need for costly and harmful oil drilling. Having properly inflated tires gives a vehicle better gas mileage, allowing you to go further with less fill-ups.
2. Less Wear on Tires
Another gain of proper tires pressure is that tires won’t wear out as quickly. Along with other tire tips like tire rotation, alignment and balancing, keeping tire pressure accurate will decrease the issue of “bad wear patterns,” where some parts of the tire can get worn down quickly. Avoid return visits to the tire shop by keeping the right amount of air in each tire.
3. Avoiding Accidents
Good tire pressure also provides better handling in a vehicle. When tire pressure is low, on the other hand, the risk of some kinds of accidents can increase. When the vehicle is not as able to maintain traction on the road, driving gets generally more dangerous.
This is another prime reason why drivers who know about the best car maintenance procedures always make sure that their tires are holding the correct amount of air pressure.
We have come to the end of this post. I believe you have learnt a thing or two. Being economical is not worth your life. Secondly, create time to confirm the jobs done on your tire before you ride it. Remember, you are the one that will drive the car not the vulcanizer.
Finally, If you need help acquiring an affordable tire inflator + gauge combo, you can write to me at info @ lemmymorgan.com. Have a great week and drive safe.