Stay safer on the road with our overview of tyre damages

Stay safer on the road with our overview of tyre damages

25 Oct

By Gwyn Fennell

Modern life can be distracting, including while we’re driving. When we’re focused on rushing from A to B, we also need to keep an eye on our fellow motorists. And once we get to our destination, there’s always something else demanding our attention. As such, it’s little wonder then that many of us aren’t even aware that we could be driving on damaged tyres, until it’s too late.

Unfortunately, UK drivers don’t tend to spend a lot of time thinking about their tyres. They don’t always know when their tyres have been impaired. Damage to the compounds surrounding the wheels can result in some of the most dangerous situations that motorists can encounter. When we all drive, our tyres are the only things that are in contact with the ground. As such, any harm they incurred can lead to serious problems. In our latest tyre safety article, we examine the kind of damage you need to look out for.
 

Tyre cuts

Cuts found in or on your tyres are dangerous. At their very worst, cuts can cause immediate tyre failure, though thankfully this is not common. Typically, most cuts appear on the tyre sidewalls. If you find an incision on your tyre, or a chunk of rubber – no matter how small – missing from your tyre, you should get it examined by your nearest Protyre professional as soon as possible.
 

Tyre bulges

The bugles found on tyres are generally caused following heavy impacts, such as when having to swerve suddenly and striking a kerb. The car gets over the kerb just fine, but later you might notice that your tyre is bulging at the point of impact. A bulge on the sidewall indicates destroyed cords inside the carcass. While not usually immediately dangerous, the bulge increases the chance of the tyre subsequently failing. While the tyre may have absorbed the impact and survived, thebulge respresents a weak spot that can give way at any time. We recommended that you get it checked as soon as possible at your nearest Protyre garage.



Irregular tyre wear

Tyre wear occurs naturally through normal driving activities. The speed of this wear is down to your driving style, as well as how often you drive. At the end of the day, all tyres will naturally wear down to the road-legal minimum of 1.6mm and need replacing – by law. Smart drivers in the know change their tyres at 3mm since it’s at this point that tyre tread starts to deteriorate at such a rate that grip becomes increasingly harder to achieve in wet weather conditions.

Problems arise, however, if your tyres start to wear down irregularly. Ideally, wear should take place evenly across the entire width of the tyre. Irregular wear can occur at just the outer edges, or only at the tyre centre, rather than evenly across both. Reasons for this uneven wear include misaligned suspension geometry, which leads to additional force and load being put on to the side of the tyre that is affected. If you suspect this is the case for you, book your car in at your nearest Protyre for a check.

A much more common reason for irregular wear is incorrect tyre pressures. The way that tyres are inflated directly affect tyre wear. If over-inflated, pressure is forced to the centre, consequently lifting the tyre edges away from the road surface. As a result, not only does unnecessary wear occur at the centre of the tyre (just where you need it most) but the tyre’s contact patch is substantially reduced, reducing grip.

If tyres are under-inflated, the outer edges make too much contact with the road surface, incurring unnecessary wear, and making the tyre harder to turn. This means more fuel is needed – and that’s an expense that no one needs, right? Learn more about tyre pressures.
 

Punctures

Punctures are undoubtedly the most familiar kind of tyre damage and take place when sharp objects on the road's surface – such as nails, screws, broken glass, and pieces of metal – breach the surface of the tyre deep enough to cause air to leak out.

A characteristic and obvious sign of a puncture is a deflated tyre, but if relatively recent you may even be able to hear air coming out. There’s nothing you can do once you’ve sustained a puncture, right? Wrong! You can negate the effects of a puncture by fitting Continental’s Contiseal™ and SSR Self-Supporting Runflat tyre technology to your vehicle.


ContiSeal™ technology

With ContiSeal™ an internal resin immediately seals puncture holes up to 5mm wide, retaining the air inside the tyre and providing you with extended mobility and unaltered mileage. There’s no immediate need to stop for a roadside tyre change, allowing you to calmly and safely get to a garage for a replacement tyre.

Continental SSR technology is just as impressive. With reinforced sidewalls, SSR tyres are self-supporting and stay vertically rigid. This negates the need for an immediate roadside stop to change tyres, and provide drivers with the opportunity to safely travel for up to 50 more miles (at a maximum speed of 50mph) to a garage for a replacement. SSR tyres are designed to be compatible with all conventional wheel rims.


SSR Self-Supporting Runflat technology


Need a new set of Continental tyres? Buy online at Protyre and save £££s!

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Author

Gwyn Fennell
Gwyn has been in the motor industry for over 35 years with experience in vehicle design, electrics, engine management, geometry and of course tyres. Continental has been Gwyn’s home for the past 15 years, where he has become a qualified trainer and examiner to both IMI and NTDA standards and now working towards the IQA qualification. Gwyn’s job has evolved and expanded in recent times and a more accurate but less pleasing to read title would be Technical Customer Service & ContiAcademy Training Centre Manager. It’s no surprise that Gwyn has excellent knowledge from the tyres up so when any technical questions come his way you know he’ll be providing the best advice possible.
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