Motorists usually give priority to their vehicles’ engine and looks, putting less attention on tires. That could be a costly oversight, one that could lead to higher fuel consumption and accidents, according to a tire expert.
In a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times on Monday, Philippine Allied Enterprises Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Tagle busted a few myths on tires and road safety. Philippine Allied is the official distributor of Bridgestone tires in the country.
According to him, tire pressure should be checked regularly because underinflating or overinflating tires could lead to less tread life and make a vehicle a candidate for accidents.
“Underinflation could damage the walls of a tire and while overinflation hits the middle [which accelerates wear]. Tires, if inflated correctly, would touch the ground flatly,” Tagle said.
In some cases, overinflated tires are used during “economy runs”, but too much air in a tire can cause excessive pressure buildup that can make a tire more prone to puncturing.
Tagle noted that vehicle safety also starts with the tires as it keeps a vehicle in contact with the road. Motorists should always be aware of a tire’s load index and the speed rating, both of which are shown at the sidewall.
He said that vehicle manufacturers recommend the speed ratings for tires, which means these should be followed.
Safety before aesthetics
Tagle said motorists should invest on good and durable tires.
“More people are buying nice sets of rims, undermining the troubles if they have bad tires. They would rather have nice rims than have good tires,” he said.
He added that contrary to what most drivers know, relatively old tires should be at the front to make for safer driving.
Tagle said putting worn tires at the rear could cause vehicles to oversteer. This can cause a classic “fish-tail” movement that may result in a vehicle crashing.
He said retreading a tire is not as safe as getting a brand new one. However, Tagle recommended that tires be retreaded using Bandag technology. Bridgestone acquired Bandag five years ago for Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions.
Tagle said that under Philippine road conditions, Bridgestone tires could be retreaded twice or thrice using Bandag technology. But in optimum road settings, the carcass of a Bridgestone tire could be retreaded six times.
Also, Tagle said that the tire’s valve stem should be regularly checked or replaced, and that it should always be capped because water and moisture could find its way into the tires through the valve stem.
He said their company is trying to educate the public on the importance of choosing the right tire for their vehicles, and how to take care of tires.
Bridgestone is the biggest tire supplier globally and is the number two brand in the country today.
However, smuggled fake Bridgestone tires also find their way into the Philippine market.
“Only buy at designated dealers to ensure the safety and warranty on the brand,” Tagle said.
“If people were more educated [on safety], they would buy our brand,” he added.
In 2012, Philippine Allied generated almost P3 billion in tire sales.