The tyre is one of the most important parts of your car because it is the only part that touches the ground whether or not your car is moving. This is why it deserves all the care it can get from you as a car owner.
Poor maintenance of your tyre can multiply the effect of an accident/crash on your car. The tyre is the black rubber part of the wheel that covers up the rims and it can have a tube within or be tubeless depending on the type of tyre it is. For further clarification sake, 'tyre' can also be spelt as 'Tire'.
As you can see, only the tyre touches the road on a car
Today, I will be discussing the 'bad habits of Nigerian vulcanizers' and how these habits keep screwing up the performance and safety of our cars in ways we don't expect. What are you supposed to be aware of when your tyre is at the Tyre shop with a vulcanizer going through a fix or replacement? What should you be aware of on your tyre when your vulcanizer is not there ?. Trust me to explain all these in the simplest possible language.
Firstly, who is a vulcanizer?
A vulcanizer is someone whose duty is to maintain just the tyres of your car. A vulcanizer fixes and replaces car tyres. A tyre shop, on the other hand, sells tyres and renders other services that concern the wheel of a car.
A Nigerian roadside is present on every major road in the country
Services like wheel balancing and alignment are what a tyre shop offers. Most tyre shops in Nigeria today have an in-house vulcanizer that attends to customer's tyre repairs. If you want to know the prices of tyres in Nigeria, check a tyre shop close to you.
7 bad habits of Nigerian Roadside Vulcanizers!
1. Ignoring Tyre expiry date before repair
The production date of a tyre is always boldly inscribed on the walls of the tyre but most Vulcanizers on the roadside don't check this whenever they are trying to inflate/fix your tyre. They just do their job, collect their ₦200 and move on with life.
A tyre has a life span of 10 years from the date it is manufactured, so once your tyre is over 6 years old your vulcanizer needs to monitor its health before any repair is done on it.
When you drive expires tyres, this is what happens!
When your tyre has expired, the threading starts to cut and wear out as the car drives. I am not saying it is your vulcanizer's duty to remind you about your tyre's expiry date but whenever they get down to work on it, they should actually check just to make sure they are not fixing a dead tyre.
2. Recommending winter tyres to customers
Most Nigerian Vulcanizers don't even know that there are different types of tyres asides the sizing. There are four major types of Tyres namely; Winter Tyres, Summer Tyres, All-Season Tyres and Performance Tyres (mostly for racing). The best type of tyres for Nigeria is the all-season tyre but the Summer Tyre can still work while winter tyre is a NO-NO.
Identifying these tyres isn't difficult but you can't know it by just looking
Winter tyres are soft and they wear off very easily when driven on dry roads that we have in Nigeria because we never have snow. Winter tyres also reduce the performance of your car; the way it accelerates and handles especially. The best way to identify a winter tyre is by the 'M+S' and 'snowflake' sign on the wall of the tyres and it feels softer too when you touch it, summer tyres have no sign then the all-season tyres have only the 'M+S' sign. You need to monitor tyres that your vulcanizer or Tyre shop attendant sells to you even when it is your car's perfect size.
3. Wrong tyre sizes (even going wider is bad)
Most vulcanizers out there think they can squeeze wrong sizes of tyres onto your rim without any side effect and this thinking has costed many cars to lose balance and performance without the owners even knowing where the problem came from.
For example, a tyre with size P205/55/16R means its width is 205, height is 55 and the rim radius is 16. Fixing a P205/65/17R means you have done wider, wider and thicker which will affect the performance of the car.
This is the guide to checking your tyre size
You can go thicker if you want your car's height to increase but you should never go wider because the tyre won't seat well on the rim. This is why you need to monitor your vulcanizer during a tyre change to avoid a wrongly sized tyre for your car. Sadly, Nigerian vulcanizers are not the only car related technicians that have bad habits.
>>> Read also: The bad habits of Nigerian roadside mechanics would leave you in shock.
4. Using an average tyre pressure on all vehicles of the same size
I find it very annoying when vulcanizers think every sedan out there should be on 40 PSI while SUVs should be on 35 PSI. I mean, there is a simple sticker on every car's door frame that tells the exact pressure that a tyre needs to be inflated to for optimum performance.
This is the only way to know the perfect pressure for your tyres
Make sure your vulcanizer doesn't inflate your tyre to his general PSI measurement, make sure he/she checks the correct tyre pressure for your car and you as a car owner can also double check by owning a personal pressure gauge for your car. It is can be bought very cheaply at about ₦3000 for standard gauges.
5. Overinflating tyres out of greed
If you are the type that doesn't know when your Tyre needs to be gauged, then most roadside mechanics would exhibit this particular bad habit on you very well. When your tyres don't need to be inflated, they still pump some air in just to make sure you pay them out of greed.
Underinflation and Overinflation costs you a lot more than you can imagine
For every extra PSI, you over-inflate your tyre with, you will pay with your fuel consumption, ride comfort and handling when driving the car.
6. They install directional tyres wrongly
A directional tyre is among the 3 types of tyres that have to be fitted onto the car in only one direction and this direction is mostly indicated by the arrow the thread on the tyre is pointing. Most tyres are Symmetrical and asymmetrical tyres, meaning they can be installed in any direction and this is what Nigerian vulcanizers are used to.
Here is another classification of tyres
Directional tyres need to be installed the right way because that is the only way it can carry out the function of reducing road noise and taking out water from the surface of the tyre.
As a car owner, you need to take not if you have got a directional tyre so that when your vulcanizer is fitting them onto the rims it would be done correctly. The direction the thread is facing is how the tyres most spin when fitted on the car.
7. They patch tyres randomly!
Most Vulcanizers don't know that any puncture to your tyre that is more than a quarter-inch into the tyre should not be repaired and also, if two punctures are within 16 inches from one another, it should not be repaired.
Haba! any Vulcanizer that patches like this needs to be checked
So before your vulcanizer patches your tyre, ask him/her how deep is the puncture before deciding to go ahead with the patch. Tubeless tyres can easily be patched by yourself with a cold patch kit which you can learn how to use in this video:
My final notes to you
Always monitor your Nigerian vulcanizer whether roadside or tyre shop when you are getting your tyres fixed or replaced to get rid of their bad habits.
Also, when you are buying a used car you should always check with a trusted tyre shop if you need to replace the tyres or not. On Naijauto.com, there are a lot of used car listings suited just for your lean or fat budget.
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