Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Did you know that badly maintained tyres and rims are one of the leading causes of car accidents? In fact, according to, this accounts for about 10- 12% of all car accidents among other causes like drunken driving, speeding and poor weather conditions.

Statistics from Arrive Alive show that the failure to attend to tyre safety is a vital factor in thousands of road accidents every year. Research by the CSIR indicates that nearly 20% of accidents involving minibuses have tyre failure as a contributing factor. According to a 2013 report on, when it comes to motor vehicle factors in accidents, the main causes are tyres bursting, faulty brakes and faulty steering wheels.

Budget Insurance spokesperson Martin Janse van Rensburg says, “South African roads are deteriorating and are notorious for potholes. This greatly affects the wear and tear of your tyres. Tyres gradually lose pressure over time. A slow puncture, a leaky valve or poor roads can accelerate this process.

“The importance of looking after your tyres cannot be over-emphasised. We highly recommend that motorists get into the habit of regular tyre and rim maintenance. A proper check will really only take five minutes or so there’s really no excuse not to do it.”

Van Rensburg also suggests investing in Budget’s Tyre & Rim Guard. He explains, “It’s a cost- effective solution which allows you to claim for accidental damage to your vehicle’s tyres and rims. You’ll also benefit from Fines Protect, a value-added service which will check, verify and pursue any action to get your fines reduced!”

Van Rensburg gives some tips for making sure that your tyres and rims are in tiptop condition:

  • When you fill up with petrol, check the inflation pressure in all your tyres with a reliable pressure gauge.
  • Be aware of any unusual trends. For instance, if a tyre seems to be losing pressure faster than the others, it could be a slow puncture which can lead to a blowout.
  • Only check tyre pressure when the tyres are cold. If you deflate a hot tyre to the recommended pressure, it may become under-inflated, leading to a heat build up and increase the risk of a blowout.
  • Before checking the tyre’s pressure, ensure that the valve cap is still present.  This cap prevents dust getting into the valve and making it leak.
  • Inflate tyres to the recommended pressure in your owner's manual or the tyre inflation guide decal in the glove box or door pillar.
  • The wheel itself must be checked for things like grease or oil leaking which could indicate a problem with the wheel bearing. Large amounts of grease on the side of the wheel rim facing the vehicle could mean that a constant velocity joint might have torn.
  • Carefully check the wheel nuts or bolts to see if they are loose.
  • Are there any cuts, bulges or bruises on the tyre itself? If so, this is very dangerous – a bulge is caused by internal damage and you are at risk of a blowout
  • Assess the wear of the tyre – if it's wearing more in the middle than on the shoulders, it's probably over-inflated. If it's wearing more on the shoulders, then it's likely to be under-inflated.
  • Make sure to have the wheel alignment checked. Misaligned wheels could cause anything from an increase in fuel consumption, to uneven tyre wear and blowouts.
  • Replace tyres if they’re worn down to the wear bars on the tread. If they’re more than six years old, they should also be replaced.
  • Once all your tyres have been checked, remember to replace the valve caps.
  • Set a reminder on your phone to do your next tyre check in two weeks.


Van Rensburg concludes, “If all motorists carried out these essential tyre checks, many fatalities on South Africa's roads could be prevented.”

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