As the festive season approaches and travel plans take centre stage, there is one crucial element that should not be overlooked – the condition of your vehicle’s tyres. Tyres are the sole connection between your vehicle and Ghana’s roads; the safety of you or your loved ones may depend on their condition.
The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) estimates that about 10 per cent of road crashes in Ghana can be attributed to tyre failures. It is therefore recommended that you check for signs of ageing such as sidewall cracking, bulges, or uneven wear patterns. Importantly, if your tyres have been used for a long time, you may have to consider changing them, irrespective of their appearance.
Do tyres expire?
Yes, tyres expire, and when they do, the internal components used to manufacture them become weak, rendering them less reliable and safe, regardless of their apparent tread depth or visible condition. The consensus among tyre manufacturers and safety groups, including the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization is that vehicle owners should replace their tyres roughly every 5-6 years from the date of manufacture.
How do you spot an expired tyre?
Tyres may not come with a clear “use by” label, they are equipped with a series of numbers known as the DOT Code or Tyre Identification Number (TIN), often located on the sidewall. The last four digits of this number reveal the week and year of manufacture. For instance, “2519″ translates to the 25th week of 2019. Now check the tyres under your vehicle and do the calculation yourself. If your tyres are over six years expired, it’s advisable to treat them as expired, even if they appear visually good. If in doubt, contact a certified vulcanizer for assistance.
Dangers of using expired tyres: Limited Traction:
As tyres age, their ability to effectively grip the road diminishes. This translates to longer stopping distances, a critical factor leading to collisions. This becomes especially pronounced during adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain or harmattan. Keep in mind that tyres with inadequate tread are more prone to skidding, increasing the risk of accidents.
Expired tyres are prone to punctures, bulges and blowouts. A tyre burst, especially at high speeds, can lead to loss of control and serious accidents. New quality tyres like Goodyear tyres provide the strength and resilience needed to withstand the rigours of the road, reducing the likelihood of tyre-related incidents.
Decreased Fuel Efficiency:
When tyres expire, the rolling resistance increases, requiring more fuel to propel the vehicle. By investing in new and properly maintained tyres, not only do you enhance your safety but also improve fuel economy.
Expired tyres can affect the overall stability of your vehicle. Uneven tyre wear, common in aged tyres, can lead to imbalances, affecting the alignment and suspension systems. This, in turn, compromises the vehicle’s stability and handling.
New tyres offer improved handling and stability. They respond better to steering inputs, providing a smoother and more controlled driving experience.
Don’t be part of the tyre failure statistics this festive season, make changing expired tyres a priority on your checklist. Choose safety, drive responsibly. Ghana needs you alive!
By Attah-Effah Badu.