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Overview of tyre damages and what to look out for

18th October 2019

When did you last check your tyres? Have you ever done so? Many UK drivers don’t, have no intention of doing so, and give little or no consideration to their tyres. Which is a problem, since being the only thing connecting you and your vehicle to the road they’re pretty important, right?

As a result of this neglect, we don’t always know when our tyres have been impaired. Damage to the compounds surrounding our wheels results in some of the most dangerous situations that motorists can encounter. Any harm they’ve incurred can lead to serious problems.

Tyre cuts

Cuts in or on our tyres are dangerous. This kind of damage takes place when things like exposed bodywork, accident debris, or even poor road surfaces slice against our tyres, resulting in a rip or tear to the compound. At their worst, cuts, tears and rips can cause immediate tyre failure, though thankfully this is not too common. Typically, most damage like this takes place on the tyre sidewalls, rather than the treads. If you find an incision anywhere on your tyre, or a chunk of rubber – no matter how small – missing from your tyre, you should get it examined by your nearest Merityre professional immediately.

Tyre bulges

Any bulges that you find on your tyres are typically the result of sustaining a heavy impact –usually unavoidable. Examples of this kind of contact include having to swerve suddenly and striking a kerb, as well as driving over a very deep pothole. A bulge on the tyre sidewall indicates destroyed cords inside the carcass. While not necessarily immediately dangerous, the bulge increases the chance of the tyre later failing. While the tyre may have absorbed the impact and survived, the bulge is the visible part of a weak spot that is prone to give out at any moment. If this takes place at high speed, you risk a tyre blowout. Again, Merityre recommended that you get it checked as soon as possible.

Irregular tyre wear

Tyre wear is a natural occurrence. The speed of wear is subject to your driving style and how often you drive your vehicle. Ultimately, all tyres will wear down, and soon be at their road-legal minimum of 1.6mm. At this point, they’ll need replacing – by law. If you’re smart and value your safety, you’ll change their tyres at 3mm of tread depth remaining. Why? Because it’s at this point that tyre tread starts to rapidly deteriorate, with optimum grip becoming ever harder to achieve.

Problems arise with tyre wear if they do so irregularly. Ideally, wear should take place evenly across the full width of the tyre. Irregular wear occurs at the outer edges, or only at the tyre centre. There are various reasons why this occurs, including misaligned suspension geometry. This circumstance results in additional force and loads being put on to the side of the tyre that is affected. If your wheels are misaligned, book your car in at your nearest Merityre location for a check.

More commonly, irregular wear takes place due to incorrect tyre pressures. The way your tyres are inflated will directly affect tyre wear. If over-inflated, pressure is forced to the centre of the tyre, 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 (the place where you need it the most) but the tyre contact patch is significantly reduced – further limiting achievable grip.

In the case of under-inflation, the outer edges of the tyre make so much contact with the road surface that your tyres incur unnecessary wear. This also makes the tyre harder to turn, requiring more fuel to achieve – and costing you more money at the petrol station. Learn more about tyre pressures.

Punctures

Think you know everything about punctures? Maybe, but perhaps not. Sure, they’re the most familiar kind of tyre damage, and yes, they happen as a result of sharp objects breaching the surface of the tyre deep enough to cause the air to leak out. Most drivers believe that that’s all there is to know on the subject, since there’s nothing to be done once you’ve sustained a puncture, right? Not true. In fact you can negate the effects of a puncture by fitting Continental’s Contiseal™ and SSR Self-Supporting Runflat tyre technology to your car or van.

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

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