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Tyre tips from Michelin


Autodealer was recently invited to the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit for the launch of the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyre range.

Not being the sort of publication that offers a free plug without it benefitting our readers, we decided to attend the event and get some useful information in terms of tyre maintenance from a Michelin expert.

We sat down with Quentin Du Plessis who works in the Customer Engineering Services department of Michelin South Africa, and fired off a few questions about tyres and tyre maintenance. We were also curious to find out how one can maximise the lifespan of their tyres.

Making your tyres last

“The most important aspects of tyre maintenance and those that will ensure the longevity of your tyres, includes having your wheels balanced, your tyres checked and your wheel alignment done every 10 000-15 000km at a reputable tyre fitment and repair centre,” Du Plessis said.

“Remember that tyre pressure is very important when it comes to tyre performance and lifespan, so ensure your tyres are pumped to the correct pressure, depending on manufacturer specification and load requirements” he added.

Tyre wear

We then asked him about tyre wear and how one knows when their tyres need replacing.”Every modern tyre has Tread Wear Indicators (TWI) which are small, raised sections placed in different areas around the circumference of the tyre,” du Plessis explained.

“Manufacturers use different symbols, but the principle is the same. When the tread is in-line with the TWI, the tyre needs to be replaced. If you’re unsure about the wear on your tyres, regular checks by a tyre fitment centre will give you peace of mind”.

Tyres in the rain

This is something that piqued our interest at the launch, as Michelin provided an infographic displaying the benefits of having a tyre that can cope in wet conditions.

“Using our Pilot Sport 4 as an example, we can see that the use of wide and deep longitudinal grooves in the tread pattern allows for the tyre to disperse water, which gives the driver more control in slippery conditions.” Du Plessis added. From what we gathered, the reason why people tend to lose control in wet weather is due to worn-out tyres, inferior quality tyres and in some cases, a lack of experience.

The key with tyres in the rain is the product’s ability to remove water from between the tyre on the road, and maintaining the all-important contact patch between the tyre and the black stuff. Without contact with the road, the tyre can’t perform its primary function, leaving the driver

The benefit of manufacturer approved tyres

Most vehicles will come with a range of manufacturer- approved tyres that meet the demands and development targets of the vehicle in question. Now if you’re like us and fi nd the cost of many premium tyres scary and have questions regarding why this is so, Du Plessis offered an explanation.

“A manufacturer like Michelin spends a large amount of money on research and development, making tyres that perform well in key areas consistently,” he concluded.

There are quite a few premium tyre makers on the market and an even larger number of cheaper brands. Our advice, as always, would be to do your research before changing your tyres, see which rubber is recommended for your vehicle, compare the brands and measure the cost versus performance, longevity and most importantly, safety.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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