1. Intro. Well to many amongst us, this is something that is in everyday use or has been used at some point or the other in our lives. I guess the only time a thought goes at it is when we are going to some place and a weird thought comes in the head that the vehicle is wobbling and then we peer down to look and try to make out from the bulge of the tyre if its condition is ok or not . After peering intently for a few moments we make our decision and move on, well I thought let me write a bit about tyres then… a part and parcel of our daily lives these are..
  1. Experience. I hardly have any worthwhile experience when it comes to talking about this topic but will speak statistics. In the four wheeler that I drive , my last puncher was in the 2011 I think or maybe early 2012 , it’s a bit tough to recollect as I was not noting down the date back then and I have driven 67000 kms till then over just about every kind of road barring snow and heavy muddy terrain. So basically have covered city terrain, highways, kucchha tracks, village tracks, rocky paths, sandy terrain etc.
  1. Now what worked in my favour: Good luck is definitely one but the other is selecting the right kind of tyre that one wishes to use in addition to certain considerations while driving. So it’s worthwhile to enumerate on the above.
  1. Theory. On the sidewall of the tyre one can see a lot of symbols and lettering , I will touch on the important and required ones                                                                                                        pic 1

180/70R 14 :

185 : outer width of tyre in mm

70 :  height of the tyre wall in mm in respect of width

R : Radial construction

14 : the inner diameter of tyre in inches

88H : This code implies that the tyre is rated to carry a maximum weight of 560 kg at a            maximum speed of 210 kmh

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  • Treadwear rating: This is from 100 to 700, softer tyres have lower rating compared to all season tyres. It is preferable to have in region of 450 for general purpose use and long lasting utility in different conditions.
  • Traction. Four codes; AA –A-B-C. AA is the best for traction on wet road. This rating is arrived considering wet roads only and not dry roads.
  • Temperature. Three codes; A-B-C. A represents best resistance to heat build-up while C represents least. These can also be related to permissible heats that build up as tyres accelerate.  A represents speeds above 115 mph while C represents 85-100 mph.
  1. Types of terrain. Various types of terrain determine the kind of tyres that need to be used. These include snow terrain, mud terrain and country/forested tracks. Hence either All Terrain or Mud Terrain tyres need to be used as per application. For city/highway travel generally prefer All Terrain or summer usage tyres which have no such specific classification.
  1. What do I use. Well I have been using Michelin Tyres since 2011 . Earlier I used the Michelin Energy XM 1 series and then later on upgraded to the Michelin Energy XM2 series. The performance of these have been excellent and they have stood by me in all the situations till date. The main advantages of these are :
  • Extensively tested on Indian Roads.
  • Great Road holding capability.
  • No back slide and aqua planning observed.
  • Very less noise at high speeds.
  • Great braking performance.
  • These are expensive though and a full change of 04 numbers for a sedan in 2014 costed me Rs 20,000.

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  1. Few notes on tyre maintenance.
  • Proper recommended tyre pressures at all times.
  • Fill up pressure only from trusted sources.
  • Do not fill pressure while travelling, from unknown sources until it’s a priority.
  • I fill pressure every three weeks.
  • Rotate tyres at authorised station every 6000 Kms as front tyres wear more than rear tyres in conventional two wheel drive.
  • Do not turn tyres on the spot while vehicle is stationary as the rubber is wearing out due to friction.
  • Never drive in such manner that the sidewall of the tyre is rubbing against a footpath or pavement as the sidewall is the weakest section of a tyre.
  • Do not unnecessarily accelerate and brake, it only wears the tyre faster in addition to questioning your judgement in anticipating obstacles while driving.
  • If your tyres are more than 04 years old , recommend change them ASAP as the rubber has lost its quality by now and is a potential safety hazard.
  • Replace worn out tyres the moment you see the marking beads fitted by the manufacturer come in line with the surface of the tyre indicating that the rubber has worn out

Hope this short write up helps the next time you think of changing your vehicle tyres …

Would love a feedback and your thoughts on what you just browsed :)