This is one of the simplest and probably the most important things you can do to maintain your tyres. Making sure they are properly inflated will help avoid fast and uneven tread wear, excessive heat build-up and insure proper vehicle handling while travelling on hard surface roads.
You may not realize it, but the way you drive can have a lot to do with how long your tyres will last and how well they perform. Overloading, abrupt braking, rapid acceleration and hard cornering are just some things to avoid.
You may have noticed markings on the sidewall of your tyres, those are UTQG ‘Uniform Tire Quality Grading’ ratings for Treadwear, Traction and Temperature. The higher the rating, the better the tyre is rated to perform.
The UTQG ratings originated in America. By law, all SUV and Car tyres sold in America must have these ratings marked on the sidewall.
Although, there is no formally-recognised testing for tyres being sold in Australia or New Zealand, this system is as relevant in Australia & New Zealand as in any country. It gives Australian & New Zealand drivers an easy, self-assessing way to factually compare tyres.
Treadwear grades are an indication of a tyre’s wear rate. The higher the treadwear number, the longer it takes for the tread to wear down.
Treadwear grades are tested under controlled conditions using four vehicles fitted with test tyres that run in convoy. The vehicles repeatedly run a specified 640km road course for a total of 11,520km. Tread depths are measured every 1,280km and the measurements are averaged to give a projected wear-out life.
A ‘standard’ control tyre is assigned a grade of 100 and the treadwear rates of all test tyres are compared to it. For example, a tyre grade of 200 should take twice as long as the control tyre to wear out.
Traction grades are an indication of a tyre’s ability to stop in the wet. A higher grade should allow your vehicle to stop on wet roads in a shorter distance than a tyre with a lower grade.
Traction is graded from highest to lowest as AA, A, B and C.
Temperature grades are an indication of a tyre’s resistance to heat. The higher the grade, the more resistant the tyre would be to the generation of heat at speed. Sustained high temperatures (for example, driving long distances in hot weather), can cause a tyre to deteriorate, leading to blowouts and tread separation.
A tyre’s resistance to heat is graded from highest to lowest as A, B or C.
Well, here’s the good news, there is a system that tells you how long a tyre is expected to last. It’s called Treadwear rating and it’s on the side of your tyre. You can use this rating to compare value and see what a tyre is really worth, so you can compare tread life and grip and really see how the different brands stack up.
Treadwear is a great indicator of how long a tyre will last, the higher the number the better. Used in the same vehicle under the same conditions a tyre with a high rating of around 800 will last twice as long as a tyre with a 400 rating.
Because of their intended off road use, 4WD and light truck tyres are exempt from the treadwear testing but you can still measure their life expectancy by comparing tread depth.
The more tread, the longer your tyre will last.