Poorly maintained car tyres could put thousands of Australian mums and their families at risk when they take to the roads these summer holidays, according to a Brisbane tyre dealer and mother of two.
Annette Chapman, who runs the Morningside Tyrepower outlet in Brisbane’s central suburbs with husband Ian, said that families embarking on summer road trips need tyres that can cope with the intense heat, torrential rain and heavy traffic typical of the school holiday period.
“If you venture out on the road on poorly maintained tyres you’re not only jeopardising yourself and your family, but other road users as well,” Mrs Chapman said.
“Underinflated tyres generate excess heat and, with road surfaces hitting 60 and 70 degrees in summer, they can overheat and fail, with catastrophic results.”
With wild weather recently lashing Australia’s east coast, Mrs Chapman believes her message to fellow mothers is particularly timely.
“We sometimes forget that we get huge storms over the summer, which can dump hundreds of millimetres of water in a single day.
“This can leave a lot of standing water on the road surface, which could lead to hydroplaning if your tyres are not in good condition.
“Unless you’ve experienced hydroplaning, it’s hard to describe how completely you lose control of your vehicle – you can’t turn or brake; you’re just a passenger at the mercy of physics.”
The Toyo Tire retailer warned against attempting to save money by purchasing cheap tyres.
“Well-known and trusted tyre companies such as Toyo spend millions of dollars every year developing rubber compounds that deliver greater safety in all conditions,” she said.
“The safety, grip and stability offered by respected tyre brands will help you stay on the road in slippery conditions, stop in shorter distances and remain in control of your vehicle.
“On the other hand, there’s a good chance that manufacturers of lower-priced tyres use older, simpler rubber compounds that sacrifice grip and stability for better tyre wear, but you’re risking a lot to save a few dollars.”
Mrs Chapman said that to save money on tyres, Australian families should follow simple tyre maintenance checks – a practice that could also save their lives.
“Poorly maintained tyres will need to be replaced more often, so it pays to look after them,” she said.
“Also, correct inflation is the simplest and most cost-effective way to improve fuel economy, even beyond what you can achieve with low rolling resistance tyres.
“So you’re saving money while ensuring your family’s safety – what could be better?”
Mrs Chapman said a simple five-minute check could prove the difference between an uneventful journey and a horrific accident.
“A lot of people are really busy, and tyre maintenance doesn’t even pop up on their radar,” she said.
“We really need a shift in our thinking – every time we fill up the petrol tank, we should be checking the condition of our tyres – it really doesn’t take very long.”
Annette Chapman’s tyre checklist before hitting the road these summer holidays
- Read the tyre placard in the driver’s door sill and make sure tyre pressure meets the manufacturer’s recommended level at a minimum – slightly higher pressure yields better heat dissipation, stability and fuel economy.
- Check the tread across the entire surface of the tyre – uneven wear is a symptom of improper inflation or poor alignment, both of which are easily fixed.
- Look for nails or screws embedded in the tyre; it’s better than getting a flat tyre in the rain, miles from anywhere.
- Inspect the sidewalls for cuts, gouges or bulges – these require immediate attention from an expert tyre technician, as they could be a sign of imminent tyre failure