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May 20, 2024

Why Tyre Dates Matter for Caravans, Trailers, and Your Everyday Drive

With school holidays behind us and cooler weather beckoning, many Australians are dusting off their caravans and trailers, eager to explore the beauty of our country. But before you hitch up and hit the road, take a moment to consider the silent workhorses that will carry you there: your tyres.

While tread depth is a crucial safety factor, it’s not the only story your tyres tell. Their age plays a significant role as well. This blog post dives into the importance of checking tyre dates for caravans, trailers, and even your everyday vehicle, ensuring a safe and worry-free journey.

Why Tyre Dates Matter: Ageing Rubber Loses Grip

Car tyres are complex marvels of engineering. The rubber compound they’re made from is formulated for optimal grip, handling, and durability. However, over time, this rubber breaks down due to a process called oxidation. Exposure to sunlight, heat, and oxygen weakens the rubber’s structure, compromising its performance.

This is particularly critical for caravans and trailers, which often sit unused for extended periods. Even if the tread depth appears sufficient, aged tyres may have lost their elasticity and ability to grip the road effectively. The result? Increased stopping distances, poorer handling, and a higher risk of blowouts – especially for heavier vehicles like caravans.

Here’s the kicker: some insurance companies may deny coverage for accidents caused by tyre failure if the tyres are past their recommended lifespan. This can leave you financially responsible for any damage or injuries that occur.

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Checking Your Tyre Dates: A Simple Step for Big Safety Gains

Fortunately, checking your tyre dates is a quick and easy process. Look for a four-digit code on the sidewall of your tyre, usually near the DOT (Department of Transportation) markings. This code indicates the week and year of manufacture. For example, a code of “1219” signifies the tyre was made in the 12th week of 2019.

Here’s a breakdown of tyre age recommendations:

– Car Tyres: Experts generally recommend replacing car tyres after 6-10 years, even if the tread depth remains above the legal minimum (1.5mm in Australia).

– Caravan & Trailer Tyres: Due to lower usage but heavier weight, caravan and trailer tyres are more susceptible to ageing. Most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 5-7 years, regardless of tread depth.

Don’t forget the spare! Many people neglect to check the date on their spare tyre. Since it often sits unused for extended periods, it’s even more crucial to ensure it’s not past its prime.

Beyond Dates: A Complete Tyre Safety Check

While tyre dates are vital, a comprehensive safety check goes beyond age. Here are some additional points to consider:

Tyre Pressure: Regularly check and adjust your tyre pressure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, factoring in vehicle load and weather conditions. Underinflated tyres can lead to blowouts, decreased fuel efficiency, and uneven wear.

Cracks and Wear: Inspect your tyres for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, bulges, or cuts. These can be indicators of internal damage and potential failure.

Uneven Wear: Uneven tread wear can be a sign of improper alignment or inflation. If you notice uneven wear, get your tyres checked by a qualified professional.

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Heavier Loads, Higher Risk

Caravans and trailers put a greater strain on tyres compared to regular cars. The additional weight increases pressure, making them more susceptible to damage and blowouts. Here’s how to mitigate these risks:

Increase Tyre Pressure: Caravan and trailer tyres typically require a slightly higher inflation pressure than your car tyres. Refer to your caravan or trailer’s manufacturer’s handbook for the recommended pressure.

Avoid Overloading: Don’t overload your caravan or trailer. Exceeding the weight limit puts undue stress on the tyres and increases the risk of failure.

Regular Inspections: Given the higher stress levels, it’s wise to have your caravan or trailer tyres inspected by a professional tyre technician at least once a year, especially before embarking on a long journey.

Peace of Mind on Every Journey

Taking the time to check your tyre dates and perform a thorough safety check is a small investment that can yield significant benefits. By ensuring your tyres are in good condition, you’ll enjoy peace of mind while navigating the open road, knowing your caravan, trailer, or car is equipped for a safe and enjoyable journey.

Remember: When in doubt, always best to err on the side of caution. If your tyres are approaching their recommended expiry date, or show any signs of wear or damage, give the team at Wheel Change U a call! 

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