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Browsing: Shop talk

Tyres look simple enough from the outside, but the mix of components inside is the result of extensive (and expensive) research and development by the tyre manufacturers. Each tyre type and profile is designed to meet a specific and exacting set of requirements, either set down by the vehicle manufacturers (when the tyre is specified as Original Equipment) or to meet a defined range of demands that make it attractive as an aftermarket fitment. All the components of a tyre work together to meet a specific set of requirements, and consumers need to know what their requirements are, and what…

Tyres are designed, manufactured and tested to meet strict governmental requirements, manufacturer requirements, vehicle performance characteristics and consumer expectations. That is a lot of expectation. Modern tyre technology blends a unique mix of chemistry, physics and engineering to give consumers a high level of tyre performance in the areas of safety, reliability, efficiency, long wear and comfort. Tyre use however is to some degree out of the hands of the manufacturer, so if consumers want their tyre service life to match the cost, it’s best to maintain a proper schedule of tyre care, which means regular balancing and rotation. Construction…

Simply put, wheel alignment refers to the adjustment of the wheels angle perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Well aligned wheels will ensure stability and a vehicle that tracks straight along a flat road. To ensure maximum stability and tyre life, wheel alignment must be adjusted relatively frequently and can be affected by bad road surfaces or a hard knock. Below, we have listed some factors of relating to wheel alignment and their effects. Camber: This is the angle of the wheel, measured in degrees, when viewed from the front of the vehicle. If the top of…

Whether or not you have obvious damage like a puncture, it is always important to inspect your tyre after every 4×4 trip to check for cuts, chipping and sidewall damage. Heat damage: Driving for extended periods at low pressures, such as on a long dune trip through Namibia, will cause a surprising level of heat build-up along the sidewalls of the tyre. Heat is created because the rubber, canvas and wire elements in the tyre flex and potentially delaminate. The risk here is that severe tyre damage may not be visible, as strands of tyre break within the tyre. Look…

Rotation will prolong tyre life and help maintain balanced handling and braking. This is particularly important when using all-terrain or mud-terrain tyres whose bigger-block pattern is subject to added heel and toe wear when used on tar. What is the correct tyre rotation pattern for a 4WD vehicle? I often find my customers only do their rotations when servicing their vehicles. This is not enough. On a four-wheel drive subject to many additional stresses, and varying loads, more frequent rotation is better – not every 10 000 to 15 000km, rather every 5000-6000km. Every tyre carries a different weight and front tyres…

What happens when you upsize your tyres? Johann ‘Tyres’ Viljoen tells you what to expect. Changing the diameter of a vehicle’s tyres can dramatically affect the performance of the vehicle − from acceleration, to braking, to fuel economy. By changing to a larger diameter tyre, a 4×4 vehicle can reduce its fuel consumption by as much as 15%. However it also impacts on the engine’s torque curve as well as the vehicle’s weight, aerodynamics, suspension and gearing. A more aggressive tread also has an influence. A larger diameter tyre covers more ground per revolution so overall gearing is reduced, causing…

Johann ‘Tyres’ Viljoen tells us about tyre width vs tyre profile, and how to achieve an optimum tread footprint off-road When fitting an off-road tyre, it’s important to remember that fitting a wide tyre with a low profile on large rims will not benefit your vehicle off road. It’s much better to have a tyre with a tall profile on smaller rims with a narrower width section. Narrow and tall tyres allow you to deflate more in off-road situations like sand or mud, which lengthens your footprint to improve braking, traction and stability. Very wide, low-profile tyres are easier to…

1. Ignore your tyre pressures Tyre pressures are the most critical thing you can control when 4×4’ing. There’s a very good chance that the tyre pressures of the vehicle you are recovering are incorrect, so check the pressure and adjust. In sand especially, this is the easiest way to make a recovery simple, safe and quick. Don’t be afraid to let your tyres down a bit more if needed; it makes a huge difference. 2. Use the tow bar ball NEVER use a tow ball to snatch or winch a vehicle. It can create a heavy piece of metal flying…

Getting stuck; it’s as much a part of 4x4ing as a good braai and a camp fire. At some point, no matter how big your tyres, how expensive your bull bar, or even how many skull stickers you have to your Jeep’s door, you’re going to fluff a line on an obstacle, lose traction and get thoroughly bogged. Getting stuck is all part of the fun, though, and as vehicles get more capable, they find themselves stuck in progressively more precarious situations. Getting yourself unstuck safely is an art all of its own, which requires that you invest in some…

Both a snatch strap and a kinetic rope are used for a so-called “kinetic” recovery. This is a recovery in which you use a bit of momentum from the front/ towing vehicle to “pop” the stuck vehicle out of whatever it’s stuck in. This technique is incredibly effective at retrieving stuck vehicles if used correctly; if not, it can be extremely dangerous! Just to be clear about the difference: a snatch strap is similar to a kinetic rope, but usually a snatch strap is made from flat webbing, while a kinetic rope is just that – a round rope. Both…

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