When the word ‘roadworthy’ or ‘unroadworthy’ is mentioned with reference to a car, various things come up in people’s minds.
Most people’s idea of a car that is not roadworthy would be that of a car whose engine is not sound. A car whose control systems (steering and brakes) are not working perfectly would also be seen as one which is unroadworthy. As would a car whose body is badly mangled, following an accident or incident. What tends to be missing in most people’s conception of an unroadworthy car is the element of tyres: where, in fact, the state of a car’s tyres should be amongst the first elements that are considered when its roadworthiness is under consideration.
The role played by tyres in a car Tyres are the parts of a car through which it achieves its primary role of locomotion (movement). It is tyres which roll, for the car to move forward or backwards, as may be the case. Tyres also serve the role of providing structural support for the car because, when all is said and done, they are the parts of the car that are in direct contact with the ground, and the weight of the rest of the car and its occupants is borne by those tyres.
The risk of operating a car with ‘threadbare’ tyres A good number of car crashes, especially those of the scarier/gorier variety, turn out to be –directly or indirectly - related to state of the car’s tyres. Since, as we have noted, the tyres are the car parts in direct contact with the ground, they are also subject to a lot of friction. This tends to ‘eat them up,’ however well the car is taken care of – meaning that they have to be frequently replaced. When they are not regularly replaced, they will just keep on being subjected to further friction, and in the end, they become ‘threadbare’ when they lose the patterns on their surface through which they get a grip of the ground on which the car is traveling.
A car with such threadbare tyres is at risk of suffering brake failure, because the brakes depend on the car tyres grip, through friction, to bring the car to a slowdown or halt as may be the need. Simply put, having used up tyres on your car greatly compromises the effectiveness of its braking system (however well maintained the actual brakes may be).
A car with such threadbare tyres is also at a great accentuated risk of simply crumbling under its own, and its occupants’ weight – should the used up tyres prove unable to cope with the same weight. That would be a disaster, especially when it happens when the car is in fast motion.
How to go about selecting tyres for your car Having understood the role played by tyres in a car, and the risk of operating a car with unroadworthy tyres, you may find yourself considering heading out shopping for tyres to improve the state of things. The ideal tyres for your car would be those that:
- Comply with its manufacturer specifications: if you buy non-compliant tires, you may end up with two problems. In the first and worst case scenario, the tyres may simply not fit. And in the second scenario, they may fit, but prove to be less than ideal.
- Are suited for use in your local terrain: different varieties of tyres are designed for different terrains, and the simple fact that a set of tyres fits doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ideal for the terrain they will be used in. If you are considering buying Tyres for use in a place that snows heavily, you may consider buying those with snowchains (or, at least those with capacity to accommodate the snowchain when the need for it arises). A snowchain is an appliance attached onto cars’ tyres, to improve their traction even in heavily snowed terrains. A car with a snowchain would look like something of a military tank.
- Have a record of good, long service: this is about reviews – remembering your previous experiences with various tyre varieties and also listening to what other people’s experiences have been like.
- Are reasonably priced: don’t go all out in search of the cheapest tyres you can get. Yes, you will get cheap tyres, but they could prove expensive in the long run. The ideal thing for you to do would be to opt for the tyres that offer the greatest value for money (so that even if you have to pay slightly more for them, you get greater value out of them in the long run too). The idea here is to avoid going all out in search of the cheapest tyres you can get, or on the other extreme buying the most expensive tyres you chance upon under the blind impression that they are necessarily the best.
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