Experts say that a car with a healthy engine is worthless if it lacks good tyres. Tyres glide on the surface of roads and their condition can either cause accidents or prevent them. This underscores the importance of tyres as sensitive parts of a vehicle.
By John Ameh
Apart from being exposed to wear and tear, the pressure of the tyre is a major issue in road safety.
According to a report posted on tyresafe.org, a correct tyre pressure is vital to the safety of human lives on the road.
Most vehicles come with recommended tyre pressures, depending on the type of vehicle; its load-carrying capacity, speed, and other factors.
Manufacturers insist that motorists must comply with the recommended tyre pressure at all times.
Tyre manufacturers, including Bridgestone, warn that under-inflation or over-inflation of tyres can expose a vehicle and its passengers to danger, including fatal accidents.
The report says, “For most passenger cars, minivans and mini-pickups, the recommendations range from 27 to 32 psi.
“The recommended inflation pressures for full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, tend to be about five to eight psi higher and intended to reflect the sizes and of these vehicles.
“It is important to note that the recommended inflation pressures may differ for the front and rear tyres.”
In Abuja, many artisans who engage in the repair of tyres, popularly known as vulcanisers, do not care about these safety measures. Indeed, the typical vulcaniser is concerned with his survival, not the safety of the vehicle owner.
It seems that the unwritten rule among vulcanisers is that any car driven into their workshop or makeshift tent must have its tyres inflated, no matter the level of pressure in the tyres! In this way, the owner of the vehicle is made to cough out some money.
The experiences of many motorists in Abuja show that most vulcanisers give different readings of tyre pressure.
For example, after the first vulcaniser has said that your tyre is over- inflated, another one reads it as under-inflated. Then a third vulcaniser will commend your decision to check the tyre pressure as any further delay could have been suicidal.
“What some of these guys do is that they don’t even read the pressure at all. They fix the gauge and, in a twinkle of an eye, they shout, ‘No air.’
“The truth is that the pressure may be okay. But, they feel that admitting it may deny them the opportunity to make extra money. So they will tell you that there is no air.
“They pretend to inflate the pressure and turn around to reduce it and collect money from you,” Mr. Okoli Udeh, who operates a commercial vehicle in the city, says.
Experts have warned motorists not to inflate their tyres beyond 40psi or 280kpa. As if to buttress this, the report posted on tyresafe.org says, “Don’t inflate your tyres above 40 psi or 280 kpa. By keeping them at their optimum pressure, your running costs are also reduced. Under-inflated tyres require a bigger force to make them turn, so your car uses more fuel. Additionally, tyres that are not set to their correct pressure wear out more quickly.”
Beyond safety, some motorists cut fuel costs by maintaining accurate tyre pressures.