Bridgestone South Africa

Concerning slide in PE tyre safety - Bridgestone

Aug 25, 2014

Tyre safety in Port Elizabeth has slipped alarmingly since 2013. This is the word from Bridgestone's Tyre Check team after collating the results of their most recent survey of tyre pressure and condition in the city. The survey, which was conducted in late-July in the car park of Pick n Pay's Moffat Park store in Port Elizabeth, showed that the percentage of tyres which were safely inflated had dropped from 89 percent in 2013 to just 82.5 percent.

"We're extremely concerned about this drop, because it means that motorists are not checking their tyre pressures regularly enough," said Bridgestone PR Manager, Desirée van Niekerk. "The Port Elizabeth survey also showed that other areas of tyre safety have slipped compared to last year," she added.

1200 tyres on 300 vehicles were surveyed at Moffat Park. Each tyre was checked for pressure, condition and mixed tread patterns on the vehicle, where tyres of different tread patterns are fitted. The results are recorded on a survey leaflet which is left under the vehicle's windscreen wiper for the driver.

Some of the key figures to come out of the Port Elizabeth survey are that only 0.67 percent of tyres that are dangerously under-inflated (below 130kPa). However, this is still significant, because it means that possibly as many as one in 37 vehicles on Port Elizabeth's roads has at least one tyre fitted which is so badly under-inflated that it is at great risk of overheating and sudden tyre failure.

4.17 percent of tyres were in the hazardous bracket, with inflation pressures between 130kPa and 160kPa. Drivers of these cars are at a heightened risk of suffering an inflation-related tyre failure. In addition, 9.67 percent of the tyres surveyed were between 160kPa and 180kPa. These tyres will show faster tyre wear, especially on the shoulders. Roadholding and braking will also be affected, and the extra heat generated by under-inflated tyres comes at the cost of increased fuel consumption. The 2.92% of tyres which were severely over-inflated (in excess of 290kPa) will also show excessive wear, as well as reduced roadholding.

The number of tyres which showed cuts, bruises, bulges or tread worn to the legal limit held steady – the 2014 survey showed that 7.17 percent of tyres fell into this category, a small change from 2013's seven percent.

However, a whopping 14.33 percent of tyres contributes to "mixed tread patterns" on the vehicle, a considerable jump over the four percent of 2013. "Mixed tread patterns frequently arises when a motorist has a puncture or one tyre wears out before the others," explained van Niekerk. "Over time, this can lead to a car having four entirely different makes and tread patterns fitted. It is usually possible to replace a tyre with one of the same make and tread pattern, and we strongly advise motorists to do this."

Van Niekerk also said that it was common for tyres on the drive axle to wear out before the other tyres and that these should be replaced in axle pairs with identical tyres. "Vehicle roadholding characteristics are designed for identical tyres on all four wheels," she said. "Mixed tread patterns front-to-rear usually results in a predictable change in the vehicle's characteristics, but mixed tyre tread patterns left to right can affect safety through unbalanced roadholding," she said.

She was also concerned about the almost 20 percent of Port Elizabeth motorists whose tyres were not correctly inflated. "Incorrect tyre inflation is the leading cause of excessive tyre wear, and under-inflation is one of the main contributors to tyre failure," she said. "Tyre pressure and condition should be checked at least every two weeks to ensure safety," she concluded.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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