Monsoon Riding: 5 Tips For You, Your Vehicle And Your Tyres
Featured Stories by Team Drivio | 8th Jul 23
Keeping your tyres in check and ready is the most crucial part of maintaining your two-wheeler.
- The number one way to maintain your tyre is by checking its pressure regularly.
- If your vehicle has a certain load carrying capacity, exceeding it might eat into the life of the tyre.
- Being super cautious of flooded roads is very important to ride safely in the rains.
The rainy season can be tough on your bike, especially its tyres. Before the monsoon fully takes over, your tyres may have already faced harsh conditions due to heat and humidity. The concerns increases if they're also old, which can negatively affect their performance and safety.
To keep your tyres in good shape, follow these simple rules for tyre health and safety, which are important throughout the year but particularly during the monsoon.
1.Check the depth properly
It's common to see tyres worn down until they resemble race bike tyres (read: bald). However, race tyres have enough rubber to provide good grip, whereas worn-out tyres can be dangerous, especially in wet conditions. Grooves in the tyres help to channel away water and improve grip on the road.
It's important to ensure that these grooves have a minimum depth of 2mm, which can be checked easily. Most tyres have a marker between the grooves, and when the tread wears down to the level of the marker, it's time to change the tyre.
Another simple way to check tread depth is by using a two rupee coin – if you can see the head of the Ashoka symbol when the coin is placed inside the tread, it's time for a new tyre.
2.How old are your tyres?
Modern tyres are designed to withstand heat, abrasion, and cracking. However, over time and under extreme conditions, even the best tyres wear down. When tyres are exposed to prolonged heat, the rubber can become hard and develop hairline cracks, especially on the sidewalls.
This affects tyre performance and can even lead to a blowout. If you notice significant damage like large cracks or cuts on your bike’s tyres, it's time to replace them with new ones.
Even if your tyres are in good condition with sufficient tread depth, they still have an expiration date. Just like food items, tyres become brittle with age. Most manufacturers recommend a maximum lifespan of 10 years from the date of manufacture.
You can find the manufacturing date on the tyre itself, usually in an oval window, indicated by a code showing the week and year it was made. For example, the number 0323 means it was manufactured in the third week of 2023.
3.Always check the road condition
Traction on wet roads is significantly reduced, even with good tyre grooves, as water cannot be completely eliminated. Additionally, there may be oily substances present, especially after light rain following a long dry spell.
Therefore, the best way to maintain control and minimize the risk of aquaplaning is to drive slowly and cautiously. Aquaplaning occurs when a thin layer of water becomes trapped between the tyre and the road surface.
This causes the tyre to lose grip, which can be extremely dangerous if it happens to all wheels simultaneously or during critical driving manoeuvres like braking or cornering. In addition to reducing your speed, there are a few other things you can do.
4.No need to go through puddles at high speeds
Puddles can be tricky for several reasons. They can conceal large potholes, and they are often muddy and dirty, which makes it harder for the tyres to evacuate water. Even seemingly clear puddles can cause a kickback or resistance on the tyres when driving through them.
You may have experienced this pushback sensation on the tyres. To navigate puddles safely, it's important to slow down. If the puddles are deep and you can't determine the water level, it's best to stop and assess the situation. Observe your surroundings and try to gauge the water level. If you're still uncertain, it's a good idea to walk through the puddle first before driving over it.
5.Maintain a reasonable distance
When you drive at higher speeds, the distance required to stop your vehicle increases significantly, especially in wet conditions. It's important to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you. Ideally, this distance should be at least two seconds in dry conditions, but it should be even greater in wet conditions.
Additionally, remember to brake gradually, as other vehicles may have a longer stopping distance than you, even if your tyres are in good condition. It's possible that their tyres may not be in proper shape, so it's crucial to exercise caution.
All in all, these are five things you must keep in mind if your commutes involve you going through rain-laden roads on an everyday basis. Along with these, it’s an unsaid rule that you must keep your bikes checked and serviced regularly, to ensure they’re in good working condition. Oil levels, levers and the cables must be checked every now and then, if possible by an expert, to ensure nothing goes wrong.