A Beginner’s Guide to Tyres, Brakes, & Suspension
It’s impossible to take the health of your car’s tyres too seriously. They’re the only part of the car that will be in regular contact with the road, after all. With a bad set of tyres you won’t get very far at all, and if you don’t know how to take care of your tyres you’ll find yourself replacing them far more often than you need to.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about the basics of tyre health, so that you can start squeezing more mileage from every set of tyres you purchase.
Basically speaking, wheel alignment is the process of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they’re a) parallel to each other, and also b) perpendicular to the ground. The goal behind making these adjustments is to ensure as long and healthy a life for your tyres as possible, as well as ensuring that you can trust your car to drive straight whenever it’s on the road.
It’s a great way to get the most out of your tyres, although it shouldn’t get in the way of other best-practice techniques — such as tyre rotation (which involves swapping the positions of your around every 5,000 miles or so) as well as buying new tyres when they’re needed.
Be careful not to confuse wheel alignment with wheel balancing. Wheel balancing issues will typically result in large amounts of vibration at higher speeds that can be felt in the steering wheel or even the driver’s seat itself. Wheel alignment trouble, by contrast, will manifest itself in difficulties with steering (such as excessive understeering or oversteering) as well as tyres that wear out far quicker than they should.
We all know that brakes are responsible for helping cars to stop. But you might be surprised at just how few people have a working understanding of how brakes actually carry out their duties. To get a decent overview of the role brakes play in your car, it’s important to understand that they’re actually an entire system, which consists of brake pads / discs, callipers, fluids, and more.
The most common issue automobile owners face is brake pads and discs wearing out. This comes about as a result of repeated exposure to high temperature friction, and is a sure sign that some tyre maintenance servicing is in order. A couple warning sounds to look out for include a pulsing or vibrating brake pedal, strange clicking sounds coming from the brakes themselves, or even a grinding / screeching noise when applying the brakes.
If you notice any of those red flags, you should probably get yourself to a garage and consult with an expert about tyre maintenance servicing as soon as possible. After all, there’s not much point in driving around a car that you’re not sure you can safely stop if and when you need to.
Suspension / Shock Absorbers
Even though you may not hear discussion about a car’s suspension system as regularly. As you hear talk about brakes or oil changes, it’s a crucial aspect of any vehicle’s mechanical makeup. Suspension helps you to feel comfortable in the car, by making micro-adjustments to account for small irregularities in the road, but it also helps to ensure that your car handles and brakes consistently and reliably.
As your suspension system begins to give in to wear and tear, you may notice a marked decrease in ride comfort and consistency. This is largely down to the shock absorbers losing some of their tensile strength, leading to potentially damaging bumps and jolts that won’t do your tyres any favours, either. Every bit as important for the health of your tyres as the brake system and the alignment of your wheels, suspension needs to be taken seriously, as the risks of leaving an issue unchecked can be as severe as physical injury or danger.
Now that you’ve got a rough idea of the main factors that go into determining the health of your tyres, you should be able to play a more active role in any mechanical work your vehicle undergoes. Don’t ever be afraid to ask a question about something you don’t understand, either.
A proper tyre maintenance servicing provider will have no problem clearing up anything you’re still not 100% on. On that note, if you have questions about any of the material I covered above, feel free to get in touch with me now; I’d be happy to help you out in any way I can.