One of the most important safety features of a vehicle is its tyres. They provide grip and disperse water from the road surface during downpours, so it is important to have a good tread. Worn tyres provide less traction during cornering and braking and can lead to accidents if not replaced soon.

It’s good to know what to look for when assessing your wheels. Shallow tread depth, signs of blistering, uneven wear on the surface and exposed metal wires are signs that your tyres need to be replaced immediately. Don’t think that they can last just a little bit longer – accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and at any time.

What the law says about worn tyres

Leaving your worn tyres on your car for too long can also lead you to a traffic fine. The National Road Traffic Act (Regulation 212 (e)) states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle with worn treads. The regulation stipulates that the minimum tread depth should be at least 1mm; any less than this can land the driver of the vehicle with a R500 fine.

In addition, having worn tyres can nullify any insurance claim in the case of a traffic collision. If your treads are badly worn, insurance companies can withhold payment because your vehicle would have been unroadworthy before the accident took place. A new set of tyres costs around R2000; don’t let that be the cause for not getting a R50 000+ insurance payout after an accident.

What to look for on your tyres

When assessing your tyres, keep an eye out for any signs of wear and damage. The first thing to check is the tread depth. If your tread is less than 1mm deep, replace them immediately – however, you should replace them before the tread gets this shallow.

Look for bubbles on the tyre surface or the side walls of the tyre. These are called blisters and can lead to a blowout when travelling on a road. Replace tyres with any blisters as soon as possible. If there are exposed metal wires on your tread, this means that the tyre is irreversibly damaged and needs to be replaced immediately.

Keep an eye on uneven wear on the tread. Sometimes tyres wear out on one half of the surface only. This is an indication that your wheel alignment needs correcting. Replace the tyres and ask the fitment centre to adjust your wheel alignment at the same time. Uneven wear can affect road performance and even fuel efficiency.

Check your tyres regularly

Make a habit of checking your tyre surface and tread at least once a month. Every time you visit a petrol station, ask them to check your pressure – it costs nothing and can save your life if the attendants find that your pressure is low. If you’re not certain what to look for on your tyres, pop into a local fitment centre and ask them to help you with an inspection. Perform tyre checks before and after any long journeys to make sure that they are in good driving condition.

Car tyres are often forgotten about but they are a vital component when it comes to road safety. They are what keeps your car on the road and manageable during the rain. Don’t overlook your tyres and never push their limits. A new set may be quite expensive but the cost is worth the safety of you and your passengers.

Formex Industries is a metal forming and assembly company that supplies a variety of complex products to the local automotive industry and export market. The company is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole, South Africa’s foremost region for automotive manufacturing and export.

Formex specialises in producing components for the catalytic converter industry, as well as metal components and assemblies for the various vehicles. Formex aims to become one of the foremost suppliers for the South African automotive industry by 2035, aligning itself with the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) which takes effect in 2020.

Formex is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with over 80% black ownership, of which more than 40% are black women. The company is owned by Deneb Investments Limited – a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI) – one of South Africa’s biggest true B-BBEE companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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