There are more and more people I keep hearing about who now embark on long road trips all around Pakistan, from Karachi to Islamabad and from Islamabad to Northern Areas or Azad Kashmir. Just last year, couple of my friends decided to come to Islamabad all the way from Karachi just to eat at Monal (Pir Sohawa). Of course Monal was just an excuse, it was the thrill and excitement of a road trip that made them driver in their friend’s decade old Toyota Corolla SE Saloon.
Since the road network is improving with the passage of time, traveling is relatively safer than before. Now a days are cars are much more reliable and we have cellular services almost everywhere. It is a great thing, actually, that people are trying to explore their country and also the fact that they like taking their own cars on long trips, an opportunity for families to spend time together on an adventure they are all excited about.
But before leaving on such an adventure, there are a lot of things you need to keep your eyes. And one of those important things is your car’s tires. In this article, we will share some simple tire tips regarding your car before your road trip.
The first thing you must do before leaving for a road trip, is to check air pressure in your car tires, and this include spare tire as well. People often forget the condition their spare tire. Driving on tires with improper inflation pressure is dangerous and can cause tire damage as well as affect the vehicle’s ride, handling and fuel economy. Make sure you check the air pressure when the tires are at normal temperature. The air temperature starts to rise in the tire when the car is driving with the passage of time. So make sure you do not overfill the tires with air. Tires will blow out if they are weak and get hot under heat and driving pressure. So maintain the air pressure accordingly. Throughout the trip, keep on checking the tire pressure in all 5 tires. One general rule of thumb is to keep the air pressure slightly less than what your manufacturer has recommended. Since the driving for 2-3 hours at high speed will generate heat that is going to expand the air in the tire, leave a space for the expanded air to accommodate in the tire and not bring it to the brink of a blow out. Proper tire pressure will not only ensure your safety but will also improve your fuel economy.
Make sure you have safe amount of rubber left on the tire. An average new tire has tread depth of something like 8 millimetres. The legal limit for minimum tread depth on your tires, in Europe and UK, is 1.6 mm, across the central ¾ (75%) of the tread around the complete circumference of the tire. Many vehicle makers recommend swapping your tires when their tread is at 3 mm. At 1.6 mm on wet roads, it takes an extra two car lengths (around 8 metres or approx. 26 feet) to stop at 80 km/h than if your tread was 3 mm. So if you are traveling from area of Pakistan where it doesn’t rain as often, you might need to be careful about the rainfall you might face when you are passing through regions that see rains a lot of times throughout the year. So make sure your car tires have enough tread to handle the unknown driving conditions of the area you are traveling to.
Tires wear out unevenly. So it is a good idea to have your vehicle’s tires rotated, before leaving for a road trip. Purpose of tire rotation is to help them wear out, so if you have already driven your car like for 8 or 10 thousand kilometers, it is advisable to rotate your tires, and if you are leaving for a road trip, that is going to end up being a couple of thousand kilometers, or even if its less than that, you should rotate them before leaving. This will help the tires to perform the way they were designed for.
Get on your knees and closely inspect the physical condition of the tires, no other way to go about it. Look for cracks and deep cuts. Check for flat spots. Make sure the side walls look nice and beefy. Also make sure your tires do not have excessive number of puncture repairs. If your tires are prone to punctures, change your tires immediately before leaving for a road trip. You do not want to be stranded again and again. Make sure you do not find any sort of bulges on your tires. Those could be dangerous, and can end up in a tire blow out. Besides, don’t pack unnecessary things, meaning don’t over load your car. You don’t want additional weight on long trips.
Get your wheels balanced and car aligned before leaving for the trip. It will ensure you have a smooth and trouble free ride. Tire balancing will help you remove any sort of unnecessary wheel wobbling that will become a headache after half an hour of driving. You don’t want your insides to shake like a salt shaker. Unbalanced tires will make your high speed drive annoying and disturbing. Since you are getting your tires off for balancing, you should get them rotated as well. And wheel alignment is required to get even tire wear. Long drives can become tiresome. And you don’t want an additional hassle of correcting your car’s steering continuously throughout your trip. Have your car properly balanced and aligned and enjoy your long trip.
These are few of the tire tips you should follow to ensure you have a safe and pleasurable tip. Have a safe road trip and enjoy your beautiful Pakistan.