27 Apr 2012 | Text and Photo by Mahmudi Restyanto, Translated by Martin H. S | Category: Car Maintenance Advice
By regularly checking the air pressure of your car's tyres, you increase its life span, as well as better the riding comfort for the driver and passengers.
Such is that minuscule-time-consuming pressure-checking of the tyres, where five minutes or less are in most cases the only time needed to have all four tyres checked. As trivial as it seems, it concerns the riding safety of you and your family.
A periodic check of the air pressure can help minimise the risk. "The best is to check the air pressure at least once every two weeks. Once a month or more is not good," says O. K. Riviandi, or more acquaintedly called as Andi, Service Manager of PT. Setianita Megah Motor (Honda Tebet).
Checking a tyre's air pressure is also necessary to prevent tyre burst during high speeds, as the difference of pressure between tyres increases the risk of that happening.
According to Andi, tyres today contain a significant amount of water in it; a fact that will surely wrinkle some foreheads. Why water? Again according to this bespectacled guy, the air compressors of roadside tyre air-filling services usually contain some water, causing some to make its way into the tyre during filling. Consequently, when your car happens to be under direct exposure to the sun while parking, evaporation occurs, resulting in some loss of air pressure.
Another reason for car owners to frequently check the tyre pressure is to maintain the tyres in good condition. "Tyres with not enough pressure that frequently run through uneven roads will get damaged quickly," Andi underlines.
If a tyre is deformed, i. e. its surface is not even anymore, the comfort of the passengers inside the cabin will be affected. "The humming noise we sometimes hear inside the cabin usually comes from the rubbing between the asphalt and less-than-good tyres," Andi further explains.
Hence, it's with good grounds that many tyre producers and car dealers advice owners to regularly check the air pressure of their tyres. Air pressure that conforms to the standard or recommended level, for example 30-32Psi, helps minimise the risk.
Actually, inadequate tyre pressure is not the sole factor to tyre damage. A compromised balancing and spooring can also cause damage. "The road conditions in Indonesia, especially Jakarta, can't guarantee the stability of the balancing and spooring. In fact, impaired stability could even be immediate," he explains.
When the balancing and spooring start to change and nothing is done to correct it, the tyres' age will affectedly get shorter. For that reason, all dealers and autoshops should always remind car owners to check the spooring and balancing of their cars when its mileage have hit 20,000 - 25,000km.
Roads made of layers of concrete can also wear tyres more quickly than asphalt ones. Why? Because concrete roads are more jagged, resulting in a more speedy abrasion of the rubber. Although for durability, concrete roads are longer.
According to Andi, the life span of a new tyre will be difficult to predict, as it all comes down to driving behaviour and road conditions. However, tyres of cars in Jakarta will generally last two to three years.
Nitrogen as the solution
Of the many abovementioned precursors to inadequate air pressure in tyres, all particulary concern the use of ordinary air. Andi himself suggests the use of nitrogen to help minimise tyre damage. "If ordinary air contains some water, nitrogen is pure gas," he explained.
Yes, it costs heftily more to get nitrogen, but the pressure lasts longer. Nonetheless, pressure checks should still be conducted, though with an extra week added between intervals. Nitrogen is also claimed to be able to increase the age of your tyres, provided that it is consistently used.
Unfortunately, many car owners who still have inhibitions about filling their tyres with nitrogen are so for classic reasons, namely because it costs more and nitrogen-filling services are hard to come by outside the cities. Although, nitrogen-filling services are flourishing at petrol stations in Jakarta.
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