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  Safety Measures - tyre talk

If your car is acting funny, it could all be because of minor issue with the tyres. Here are a few common tyre related problems and effective solutions for them. Check them out.

1. The steering wheel vibrates at speeds usually between 50 and 70 kms per hour.
This usually happens when a front wheel is out of balance. If you feel the vibration only in your seat, it's probably a rear wheel. In either case it pays to have all four wheels balanced at the same time. You will be surprised at the difference it will make in the way the car will move.

2. The car drifts to the left or to the right when I let go of the steering wheel on a straight and level road.
First, check the air pressure in all your tyres. Make sure both front tyres are of the same size, type and brand. If not, take both front tyres and switch them side to side. If the car now drifts in the opposite direction, you've found your problem.

3. When I drive down a straight road, the spokes of my steering wheel are not centered.
This is also a wheel alignment problem and can be easily sorted by doing a wheel alignment. However, make sure the mechanic checks for worn or damaged parts. If the problem appeared suddenly, possibly after you hit a pot-hole or curb or something like that, then you've most likely sustained some damage which should be checked as soon as possible to avoid serious tyre wear.

4. There is a humming noise coming from my tyres on a smooth road.
If you have a front wheel drive car and you haven't rotated your tyres in a while, check the rear tyres. Run your hand around the edge of the tread, first in one direction, then the other (Note: be careful not to injure yourself on debris or exposed steel belts on the tyre). You are looking for a "saw-tooth" wear pattern between the tread blocks. If the tread is smooth in one direction but jagged in the other direction, you may have found some of the noise. Try rotating the tyres using the car manufacturers recommended procedure. Make sure that the rear tyres are crossed over to the other side of the car and placed on the front. This wear pattern is common on front wheel drive cars with tyres that are designed with grooves on the edges of the tread.

5. When I drive over a speed bump or a dip in the road, my car bounces 2 or more times before settling down.
This condition is usually caused by worn or broken shocks. This condition happens gradually over the life of the shocks and it is hard to notice the change, but when they are replaced you should notice a big difference in the ride and stability of your car.


Proper tyre care and good driving habits will extend the life of your tyres by about one third, saving you money and protecting the environment as well. Here are a couple of ground rules to check for your tyre's optimum performance.

Check inflation: You can save on fuel, help prevent accidents and ensure that your tyres last longer when they are properly inflated. Under-inflation reduces tread life, increases fuel consumption and can lead to sudden tire failure.

Check tyre pressure: Check the pressure of your tyres at least once a month using a good quality tyre pressure gauge. Do this when the tyres are cold, before driving your car. Don't forget to check the spare.

Rotate your tyres: Rotate your tyres at least every 10,000 km. Check your owner's manual to find out how tyres should be rotated and how often. Keep a record of your tyre maintenance.
Re-tread worn tyres: Tyre re-treading can significantly extend the life of a tyre. Re-treading also conserves energy. Re-treaded tyres can give the same mileage as comparable new tyres, at a lower cost.


A puncture on the move, or a blowout, can be scary. The first rule to remember if you suffer a blowout is not to panic when you hear the loud bang of the tyre bursting. You should be secure in the knowledge that modern cars possess what is known as negative scrub radius steering geometry. What this simply means is that even if it is the front tyre that’s punctured, your car will tend to continue in a straight line. What can happen, though, is that in a state of panic you may be prone to snatch the steering wheel violently to the near side. That could prove disastrous. If the front tyre bursts, the vehicle will tend to pull towards the side of the punctured tyre. Steering will become heavy. And when the rear tyre bursts the vehicle will vibrate.

What to do

• Do not use brakes.
• Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and foremost, try to steer straight ahead.
• Make sure that you do not over steer to correct the pull.
• Close throttle.
• Hold the handlebar firmly and maintain balance as the vehicle slows down gradually, then pull over your vehicle to the side of the road.


Getting a flat tyre with no mechanic in site is a driver’s nightmare. The 8 steps will help you handle the situation better if ever you were to get a flat tyre.

1) Steady the car: Apply the hand brake and use a block of wood behind the wheel diagonally opposite the one you are going to change. This ensures your car doesn’t roll off while you try to change the wheel.
2) Spare Wheel and Jack: Take out the spare wheel and jack. Consult you car manual for their locations. They are usually located under a cover in the trunk.
3) Removing the bad tyre: Now using the right spanner, loosen the bolts on the tyre without completely removing it. Loosen each bolt to approximately the same extent.
4) Positioning the jack: Slide the jack into position next to the affected wheel and raise it till it is sufficiently off the ground. Use your judgement here. If you feel you can slide out the wheel without any effort, you have raised it enough.
5) Placing the spare: Now loosen the bolts completely and remove the bad wheel. Slide in the spare wheel and start tightening the bolts.
6) Tightening the bolts: Tighten one bolt and then the bolt diagonally opposite it. In this way tighten all four bolts.
7) Replacing the tools: Remove the jack and replace the jack and the affected wheel in the car. You will need them if you get another flat.
8) Repair the wheel: Get the affected wheel repaired immediately, or you won’t have a spare wheel you can use the next time you get a flat tyre!

These simple steps can help you change a flat tyre without anyone’s help.
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