DUBAI // How often do you check your tyre pressures and give them a thorough going-over for cracks and tread wear? Chances are not often enough to avoid the risk of major blowouts, especially during the summer months, technical experts say. "The lifespan of a tyre is on average four years, but there are certain conditions that may mean they need to be changed after a year or two," said Carlos Ison, site manager and technical engineer at Tasjeel, the official vehicle testing and registration service in Dubai.
"If cracks start to form on the shell of the tyres, then it is time to change them, even if they are not worn out." The cracks, according to Mr Ison, are a result of heat and age; as a tyre gets old and worn, it becomes brittle. Heat accelerates the process. Only tyres that can sustain extreme heat are recommended for use in the Emirates. Jessi Papayan, general foreman and technical expert with Toyota in Dubai, said the hot weather could cause tyres to inflate, especially if they had been on the road for lengthy periods of time.
"Heat will cause the sidewall of the tyre to build up and then blow out," he said. "The tyre will make a squeaking sound, which means that there is a build-up of heat." For safety, it is important to monitor the condition of the tyres every week, checking the age, kilometres travelled, pressure level, and tread. If there are signs of brittleness on the sidewall the tyre "is too dangerous to be driven and needs to be changed," he warned.
Mr Ison suggested that before heading off on holiday or an extended period of time, drivers should slightly increase the pressure in the tyre. "This ensures that it does not become an oval shape, having remained stationary for a long period of time, and then flat." * The National