Traveling can be a very enjoyable activity that allows you to make memories that can last a lifetime. However, proper preparation is important to help ensure that you have a safe and worry free journey.
Part of your preparation should include your suv tyres. Being stuck on the side of the road in a strange location is not the type of memory that you want to make. Proper tyre preparation can ensure have a safe and fun journey.
The Two Types of SUV Tyres
Tires for you suv will fall into one of two categories. Passenger tyres or Light Truck tyres. Passenger tyres are generally found on cars, minivans, trucks under 3/4 ton, and many suvs.
These tires are designed for comfort and on-road traction. While they will give you the smoothest on the road ride, they aren't designed for off road use or supporting heavier loads.
Light truck tyres are designed to support heavier loads. Many are all terrain, meaning they are suitable for on the road and off the road use. They are more puncture resistant than passenger tires. However, these features also make them less smooth riding than passenger tyres.
You can find the type of tyres that are on your suv by looking at the tire. Right after the number that indicates the size of your tire you'll see a letter. "P" stands for passenger tire, and "LT" stands for light truck tire.
Where Your Going
You'll want to consider what type of terrain you'll be traveling on. If you will be traveling on paved roads, passenger tyres are fine for most suvs. However, if you will be traveling on dirt or gravel roads or off roading, you should consider light truck tyres for your journey.
Proper Tire Pressure
Proper tyre pressure is essential for maintaining the life of your tyres and getting the most comfortable and safest ride possible. Newer vehicles will have a placard on the driver's side door jamb that will tell you the proper pressure for your tyres. Some suvs will have a placard for passenger tyres and one for light truck tyres.
Older vehicles will have the information in the owners manual. Generally speaking, 30-35 psi is recommended. You'll also find the maximum tyre pressure for your tyres on the sidewall. However, inflating them to the maximum pressure isn't recommended.
It's best to check and air your tyres first thing in the morning. As you drive your tyres warm, and the air inside them expands. If you don't own an air tank, simply try to check and air your tyres as soon as possible after you start driving, or after your car has been sitting for a few hours.
Weight capacity for tyres can get complicated. To keep it simple, check the placard that shows the tyre pressure. It will also give you a maximum weight for passengers plus cargo.
Exceeding the weight capacity can result in unnecessary wear and tear on your tyres and your vehicle, and reduced gas mileage. If your suv has LT tyres, they are designed for heavier loads. However, if you have passenger tyres, you'll want to take weight capacity into consideration when you are planning for your journey.
Check the Spare
You'll want to check the spare tyre when you check the air pressure and tread on your tyres, and perform the same inspection on it you do on your regular tyres.
Not all newer vehicles come with a spare tyre. Many come with kits designed for simple repairs or run flat tires instead of a spare tyre.
This may seem like all you need. However, some punctures can't be fixed using these methods. You'll want to consider where you will be traveling. If you are driving on unpaved roads or long stretches with no town or service station nearby, it is wise to have a spare tyre.
Check the Tread
The tread on your tyres is very important for safe travel, particularly in rain or off road. Legally, your tyres should have a tread depth of at least 1.6 millimeters. Many manufacturers recommend replacing your tyres when the tread reaches 3 millimeters.
While you can use a coin to measure your tread, it's better to use a gauge designed for the purpose. They are inexpensive and can be placed on your keychain or in your glove box.
In addition to tread, you should also check the structural integrity of your tyre. Look for bulges and cracks in the sidewall, belts showing, and any knots in the tire that could indicate a broken belt.
If you are going on a long journey, consider having your tyres rotatated before you head out. This will keep your tread wear even and prolong the life of your tire.
You should rotate your tyres every 5,000 miles. However, if you are nearing 5,000 miles or don't know when they were last rotated, before a trip is an excellent time to do so.
Tyre care is often forgotten about when planning for a trip, but it is one of the most important aspects of planning before you head out. Take care of your tyres, and you are more likely to arrive at your destination safe and sound.