Tyre Talk with Continental #5: The lifespan of a tyre and how tyres age
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, 8 December 2020 – Continental designs, develops and manufactures its tyres to provide thousands of kilometres of excellent service, but conditions vary widely according to the vehicle and its application, individual driving style and prevailing road conditions – all of which impacts the longevity of a tyre.
Many additional critical factors influence the lifespan of a tyre, including inflation pressure, the car’s wheel alignment, the load being carried, speed travelled and harshness of cornering and braking, regional climate and ambient temperatures, as well as road hazard damage.
Normal tread wear results from contact between the tyre and the road surface. Incorrect wheel alignment can lead to excessive wear on the inner or outer shoulder of the tyre. Driving over unmade roads and rough and rocky terrain will accelerate tyre wear, while incorrect tyre pressure will also negatively impact both mileage and fuel consumption. Overinflated tyres will wear unduly in the centre of the tread strip, while underinflated tyres will show excessive wear on the outer ribs. Unbalanced wheels also lead to uneven tyre wear because they do not track straight and true.
The most common causes of punctures and the associated dangers are incorrect tyre pressure, damage to the tyre casing as a result of an impact, as well as tyre wear. You can be proactive and increase the longevity of your tyres through proper maintenance such as regularly checking tyre pressures, rotating your vehicle’s tyres every 10 000 km and doing wheel alignment at the same, and following a regular routine of checking tread wear and inspecting your tyres for visible signs of wear and damage.
Continental’s Visual Alignment Indicator (VAI) enables incorrect wheel alignment to be detected without the need for electronic measurement. After a few thousand kilometres, the VAI will clearly show whether the wear on the inner and outer shoulders of the tyre is identical. If uneven wear occurs, have the wheel alignment checked at your nearest BestDrive or preferred fitment centre.
How tyres age
Tyres age because of chemical and physical processes which, over time, bring about irreversible changes in the material properties of a tyre. These processes include the climate and weather-related effects such as ultraviolet light, moisture or extremely high or low temperatures. These alter the elasticity and grip of the tyre, something that also applies to new or little-used tyres.
Accordingly, special antioxidants are incorporated into the tyre compounds to counteract the chemical ageing process. Once tyres have been manufactured, they should be stored in cool and dry conditions to limit any natural ageing process.
You can easily determine the age of a tyre by examining the markings on the tyre sidewall, using the DOT code. It’s made up of the letters DOT and two pairs of figures, separated by a forward slash. The first two numbers show the week the tyre was built; the last two indicate the year. So “36/16” means the tyre was built in the 36th calendar week (i.e. between September 5 and 11) in 2016. Tyres that are older than 10 years should be replaced to ensure your driving safety.
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Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transport. In 2017, Continental generated preliminary sales of around €44 billion and currently employs more than 233.000 people in 56 countries.
The Tire division currently has over 24 production and development locations worldwide. The broad product range and continuous investments in R&D make a major contribution to cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility. As one of the world’s leading tire manufacturers with around 52,000 employees, the Tire division generated sales of €10.7 billion in 2016.
Continental Commercial Vehicle Tires is one of the largest manufacturers of truck, bus and commercial specialty tires worldwide. The business unit is continuously developing from a pure tire manufacturer to a solution provider, offering a broad range of products, services and tire-related solutions.
PR and Communications Manager
BU Replacement EMEA
Continental Tyre SA (Pty) Ltd
Phone: +27 41 406 5640
Mobile: +27 83 656 9172