As the title suggest, I want this article to be helpful not only for the folks who have just bought their first vehicle but also for the seasoned experts which can treat it as a refresher and can also provide their comments to make this article better.
Tyres for our vehicle are what shoes are for us. A well-maintained shoe does a better job and needs a replacement when it has worn out. Similar is the case with tyres. In the below points, I have noted a few “To-Do” points for dummies in terms tyre maintenance.
Air Pressure : The is the simplest yet effective maintenance tip. Maintaining the required amount of Air Pressure in tyres all the time addresses half of the worries. You should strictly maintain the prescribed Air Pressure values that are provided by the manufacturer for your bike. The details should available on a sticker on your bike, scooter or in the car. Too much Air in the tyres will make your vehicle bounce on every small pothole with the tyre highly susceptible for bursting. Too less Air will make your vehicle sluggish resulting in burning more fuel. In the both the cases, the life of the tyre is considerably reduced.
Get an Air pressure gauge for yourself : Buying an Air Pressure Gauge is an excellent investment. You can check the Air Pressure in the tyres by yourself and decide if you really need to visit the Air filling station. You can buy one from here. I have used this for over a year and it still working great.
Fill the Air a from only one Tyre or Puncture shop: Air is freely available on most of the Petrol pumps but strictly avoid them. After the initial installation, the gauges are never re-calibrated or maintained. Also, the person in-charge is least bothered to fill the prescribed amount of Air. Instead look for a good Tyre or a Puncture shop close to your residence. Use your personal Air Pressure Gauge to confirm that his gauge is correctly calibrated. Having the puncture shop close to your residence makes sense because punctures come as a surprise for all of us in the morning when all the air has escaped the tyre over the night. Having his phone number can save you the trouble of pushing the bike all the way till his shop.
Be careful when the punctured tyre is being worked upon. Puncture guys often fill up the tyre with excessive Air causing the minor cracks to break open that lead to multiple punctures. This is the most common trick used by them to overcharge us. So be utterly cautious when the discovery of punctures is being made.
When to change the tyres ? There is no generalised answer here as there are many factors involved. What type of tyres your vehicle has, how old they are, how many km your vehicle has done etc. Moreover, all of us use our vehicles differently for a different duration and on different road conditions. Hence there is no One formula that will work for All. Yet there are few clear pointers that indicate your vehicle needs tyre replacement. Some I have mentioned below.
- The tyres of have developed cracks
- The tyres frequently suffer punctures or require frequent Air top-up
- Tyres are skidding and the vehicle is not gripping as it use to do before
- The grooves on tyre have become shallow. See the image below that describes the Indian – One Rupee Coin Test
- If the Rupaiya written in Hindi is not visible then your tyre still has life left. Read the complete article at CarDekho.com here
Wheel maintenance for Cars: For you car, it is important that you get the wheel alignment, wheel balancing and wheel rotation done at regular intervals. These regular intervals can be the servicing dates. Don’t forget to explicitly mention all above 3 items to the mechanic or the customer representative. Also, make sure that the service centre has executed them and not just charged you for it.
Nitrogen: My car has tubeless tyres and last year I replaced the Air within them with Nitrogen. The top-up intervals that use to be once or twice a month when I used to fill Air have now reduced to one in 2 months with Nitrogen. Moreover, the tyres seem to get less hot with Nitrogen inside. Though the initial investment of replacing the air with Nitrogen is a bit expensive but in the long run, it does save time and energy. If you have tubeless tyres on your 2 wheels, it is a good idea to choose Nitrogen over Air.
Emergency Tyre Inflator: One of our worst fear when on a Bike Trip to remote areas is encountering punctures. The scenario gets even scarier if you are riding alone. I recently bought the Grand Pitstop’s Universal Tyre Air Inflator Tool Kit from Amazon here.
I have ordered it from Amazon as the deal was cheaper that ordering it from their website. I am not eager to get into a situation to use it but at the same time, I feel at peace knowing that I have a backup with which I can at least make it up to the nearest possible puncture shop. A good idea for the folks who have Tubeless tyres on their bikes is to also carry the puncture repair kit. Please learn to use it if you are still unaware about it.
Hope this article has helped you to gain some insight regarding the tyre maintainece. If you have any suggestions or points to add here, please let me know in the comments section below. Also help your family and friends by sharing it with them !