When we think about caring for our cars, most of us immediately turn our attention to our car’s paint. As the most visible part of the car’s condition, it’s actually quite natural that we think about and worry about how the paint looks, whether there are scratches, chips or other imperfections and whatnot.
It’s amazing how easily we forget which parts of our car are really bearing the brunt of the battle in our driving lives, and those are the 4 wheels! Our wheels and tyres are under constant pressure and experiencing a never-ending cycle of wear and tear that we can do nothing to prevent entirely. What we can do, however, is consider the following ways to better care for our wheels and tyres.
1. Regularly Check Tyre Tread
Proper wheel care starts with your tyres, and proper tyre care starts with the tyre tread. Making sure that your tyres have at least 1.6 mm of tread depth is essential because that is the legal minimum acceptable depth on a roadworthy vehicle in Australia. To be safe, you should really have at least 3 mm of tread depth.
To see if your tread depth is sufficient, take a 20-cent coin and place it into one of the central grooves of your tyre tread. If the tread reaches the bill of the platypus on the coin, then you have 3 mm of depth. If it doesn’t reach, then it’s best you start looking for new tyres, because your vehicle traction is significantly reduced.
2. Use Quality Wheel Cleaners
Either hire professional wheel cleaners to get the job done right, or at the very least purchase the right kind of wheel-cleaning products that are formulated specifically for cleaning alloy wheels. When it comes to cleaning your car properly, it’s always best to try and source products that have been specially formulated for the task in question as opposed to using generic household cleaning agents.
One might think they can save money on cleaning their alloy rims by just using any old cleaner, but it’s a bad idea. Many household cleaners are made with harsher ingredients that will actually harm the wheel rims — as well as the rest of your car — when used over time.
3. Avoid Potholes
Potholes are a real problem in the road, especially when it seems local councils and other government bodies take forever to get around to filling them in. Some people don’t worry too much about them, and in doing so put their tyres, wheel rims, and even their whole wheel alignment and suspension at risk when they ride through them.
The main danger when it comes to potholes is that it’s impossible to accurately predict their depth or severity as you’re driving toward them at any speed. It’s always best, therefore, to avoid them whenever possible, and if they are unavoidable, slow right down as if you’re approaching the world’s riskiest speed bump.
4. Have the Alignment Checked Once a Year
Following on from the point on pot holes, your wheel alignment will sooner or later go off-kilter in the course of regular driving, but it can be knocked off balance faster if you’ve had any unfortunate encounters with the kerb, or with potholes, or if you’ve been in any collisions or accidents. Be sure to have your wheel alignment checked as a matter of course every 2-3 years, but sooner if you’ve experienced any of the above-mentioned problems.
5. Clean Brake Dust
Finally, one more thing you should always remember to do as part of your wheel cleaning regimen is to properly clean off brake dust that accumulates on your wheel rims. This dust builds up as you use your brakes over time, and if left on too long will become harder and harder to remove.