TOP TIPS TO GET MORE OUT OF YOUR OFF-ROAD TYRES
As a frugal penny-counter, I am known amongst my friends and family for getting the most out of everything I buy. So, you can imagine I am something of a wizard when it comes to making 4WD components last longer. Replacing a set of tyres is expensive. A full set of six will set you back at least a couple of grand. As you can imagine, I keep a few tricks up my sleeve to make sure I get the most out of my off-road tyres.
Looking after your tyres begins with your driving style. Rapid acceleration and hard braking are a sure-fire way to ruin your tyres in a hurry. I like to go one step further. I avoid hard cornering where possible and slow to a crawl when confronted with rough terrain.
GET THE RIGHT TYRES FOR YOUR SPECIFIC TERRAIN
If you are using your 4WD on motorways, but have mud terrain tyres fitted year-round, you are going to be causing some serious wear and damage to the tyres in a very short period of time. Fit the right tyres for your environment. If you aren’t sure, go for an all-terrain tyre, this is the jack of all trades (although it is also the master of none).
ENSURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TYRE PRESSURE
Driving on bitumen requires a higher tyre pressure than driving on gravel or sand. If you mix the two up, the gravel will take chips out of your tyre, and the low pressures on the bitumen can damage your wheel and ruin your fuel economy. Always make sure you have the right tyre pressure for the right scenarios. You can find information on the correct tyre pressures, including pressures for loading and towing in the owner’s manual.
DON’T BRAKE WHEN GOING OVER OBSTACLES
Braking should be done on the approach to an obstacle. By the time you hit the obstacle itself, you should be going at a slow enough speed to roll over the obstacle without a problem. If you are braking whilst going over a pothole, tree root, or rock, your tyres cannot roll with the impact and it increases the chance of chips and tears.
ROTATE YOUR TYRES
You should rotate your tyres every 4,500 kilometres. Tyres wear differently depending on which corner of the vehicle the tyre is on. If you rotate them every few thousand kilometres, your tyres will not wear so heavily in the same spot and will not need changing quite so often.
NEVER OVERLOAD YOUR VEHICLE
Your vehicle has a maximum weight and whatever you do, do not exceed it. Overloading your vehicle is horrendous for a long list of reasons, but regarding the tyres, it creates more heat inside the tyres which can lead to a blowout. Bear in mind when you replace a tyre, that you need a replacement which has the same load capacity as the others, or you may overload it without realising.
STORE YOUR TYRES PROPERLY WHEN YOU ARE NOT USING THEM
Storing tyres in a moist or wet environment can damage the tyres. As can grease and fuel, and even if you keep your tyres close to an electric motor. Tyres should be stored somewhere out of direct sunlight, in a cool, dry environment to get the most life out of them once you put them on the beast.
Make some serious savings by looking after your tyres and giving them the longest possible life. I have had some tyres put in some serious mileage. I had one set which lasted me more than 65,000km and looked barely half worn. Not bad for a 4WD addict! Unfortunately, on a trip back from Kimberley, the corrugations on the Gibb quickly put all my life-lengthening efforts to waste and all but finished them off. Still, my new set is around 40,000km in and look great. I have high hopes for these to last even longer.
Can you add anything to this? What else is important and what else should we be thinking about when it comes to getting the most out of our tyres?