The technology used in the automotive industry advances every other day. It does not only get better with certain vehicle specifications such as pressing a button to make your car seat warm when in cold weather but car tyres as well. Case in point are all-terrain tyres that motorists such as Nicholas Mwesigye uses on his Toyota Land Cruiser TX.
“When I am buying car tyres, I specifically look out or order for all-terrain tyres because they give maximum driving comfort. When I am driving through potholes, especially on a murram road, they absorb and contain the discomfort,” says Mwesigye. Because he buys them new, Mwesigye says his tyres last up to one-and-a half years before replacing them.
According to Ben Mugabe, a car tyre specialist at Apollo Tyre Clinic in Kisaasi, all-terrain tyres are or were manufactured with more tyre treads. These treads are big in size and are arranged on the tyre body with each tread positioned with an average gap from the other.
They are the suitable type of tyres for vehicles that are used for heavy work, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
“When you look closely at an all-terrain tyre, the treads are organised in a uniform manner. They have big treads and this allows the driver to maintain good driving traction, especially on murram and slippery roads. It is the traction that enables the car or driver to steer with ease even when the tyres are covered by mud,” Mugabe explains.
Peter Kasoma, a tyre mechanic at Shell Jinja Road, says all-terrain tyres come in different types. These types are in different sizes and from different manufacturers. However, there are those that come in the same type but manufactured from different countries.
While all-terrain tyres are mostly used on Sport Utility Vehicles, there are equally those that are fitted on saloon cars such as the Subaru Forester and Toyota Caldinas and other cars with similar bodies. A case in point are the ovation tyres, which do not have big block mud-grip treads but instead have those that are long and are mainly driven on tarmacked roads.
“When you drive on a murram road, there are high chances that the vehicle will slide on such a road because they maintain little or no traction,” Jimmy Ssebadduka, a tyre technician at Shell Jinja Road, says.
How to identify all-terrain tyres
All-terrain tyres differ from ordinary tyres because they are marked. For example, most all-terrain tyres manufactured in South Africa will have the word “Atisa” written on the side of the tyre, while there are those that have an abbreviation of “AT,” which stands for All-terrain.
For differentiation and identification purposes, the countries where these tyres are manufactured and their types are also written on the sides of the tyres. This prevents you from being cheated by dealers the moment they realise you have no knowledge on what you need.
Kasoma notes that the size and performance of all-terrain tyres in most cases determines their cost. For example, those that have big mud grips or treads and are used on murram roads cost a lot more than all-terrain tyres driven on tarmacked roads.
All-terrain tyres meant for driving on murram roads cost between Shs800,000 and Shs1.2m per tyre, while those that are meant for driving on tarmac roads cost between Shs300,000 and Shs500,000, depending on the size.
This, therefore, means if you want an all-terrain tyre but it is as expensive as Shs1.2m, the manufacturer gives you a choice of going for one that costs Shs400,000.
Here are three easy things anyone can do to extend the lifespan of their tyres:
The way you drive your vehicle will affect how long the tyres last. If you are accelerating or braking rapidly, or cornering hard, you are doing damage.
Correct inflation will reduce heat buildup and uneven wearing of the tread area. Many tyre blowouts are the result of under inflation, which causes the tyres to quite literally fall to pieces from the inside out.
Correct tyre rotation will reduce uneven wear. This enhances tyre performance as well as extending the life of the tyre.
When an all-terrain tyre with big treads is pricked by an object such as a nail, it may not be affected because of the strong and hard rubber and big treads or mud-grips with which it is manufactured while one that is driven on tarmacked roads will be deflated or penetrated by the same nail because of the small body it is manufactured with.
“Mud-grip all-terrain tyres driven on marrum areas usually cover a longer mileage compared to all-terrain tyres driven on tarmacked roads. This explains why they are more expensive,” Jimmy Ssebadduka, a tyre technician at Shell Jinja Road, says, concluding that the former on average covers up to 10,000 kilometres, while the latter in most cases is given mileage of approximately 7,000 kilometres and that the extra mileage also gives you value for money.