Bridgestone's long-running Tyre Check project has released data from its recent survey held in Durban. The event was the fifth of its kind to be undertaken in KwaZulu-Natal since 2007. Bridgestone's team of tyre specialists set up shop in the car park of the Ballito Lifestyle Centre, and surveyed 1000 tyres on 250 vehicles.
“Unfortunately, the results were not encouraging,” said Bridgestone General Manager of Marketing, Tony Burns. “The survey showed that tyre condition and maintenance are at their lowest levels in Durban since we started the Tyre Check surveys eight years ago."
Tyres surveyed by the Bridgestone team are recorded as 'fine' if they are within an inflation pressure band of 180kPa to 290 kPa. Tyres with higher inflation pressure are recorded as 'over-inflated' except where they are in accordance with the vehicle's manufacturer specification. Four percent of tyres in the Durban survey were over-inflated. Tyres which are below 180kPa are classified as under-inflated, and divided into three categories depending on how low their pressures are. In Durban, nine percent of tyres were found to be 'low', two percent 'very low' and three percent 'dangerously low'.
“This is the highest percentage of tyres we have yet seen in the 'dangerously low' category at a Tyre Check event," Burns commented. "Usually it is less than one percent. The previous high of 2.4% was also recorded in Durban, in 2014."
The Bridgestone Tyre Check team also checks for tyres which are worn beyond legal limits or have damage that makes them unsafe. Usually, fewer than eight percent of tyres are identified as needing replacement. In the Durban survey though, fully 18% of tyres were either unsafe or due for replacement, the highest percentage seen in a Tyre Check survey since 2008.
"The picture painted by the Durban survey raises two concerns," Burns commented. "Firstly there is widespread neglect of tyre maintenance, with nearly one in five motorists not checking tyre pressures regularly enough," he explained. "Secondly, there is a substantial number of vehicles driving on damaged or worn tyres, increasing the risk of blowouts or loss of control in wet weather," he added.
He reminded motorists to check tyre pressures at least every two weeks using an accurate tyre gauge and to inspect each tyre while doing inflation checks. "Regular tyre checks can help drivers improve tyre life and fuel economy," he explained. "Also drivers will be able to detect tyre damage or wear problems before they affect driving safety," he concluded.