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Guide to Breaking in New Tyres

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Guide to Breaking in New Tyres

When you buy a new set of tyres, installers usually suggest to take it easy on them, but why? Aren’t they brand new tyres, after all?

New tyres result in a different feel and will handle differently than the old set. Take your time to get to know what those differences are by becoming conscious of the feel of the road beneath your tyres and adjusting your driving accordingly.

Lubricant applied to tyre molds before the shaping and curing process can make your tyres a little slippery at first. It is not uncommon for people to experience subtle slipping or longer-than-optimum stopping distances until those oils are gone.

So how do the pros deal with it?

To Scuff or Not to Scuff?

Competitive NASCAR racing teams scuff the treads of new tyres with a rotary sander before competitions. NASCAR teams go through up to 10 sets of new tyres during a race. Sanding allows the driver to get off the line quicker and steer with immediate control and, hopefully, win the race. With the potential danger to life and limb a driver has higher speeds, it would be irresponsible not to scuff them.

But scuffing also voids the tyre warranty. For race teams competing for large purses, that’s part of the cost of doing business. For most of the rest of us, tyres are way too expensive to throw away the warranty like that.

Some people believe they can speed up the process by locking the handbrake while spinning their wheels, performing a burnout. Although people swear by this trick, burning rubber is potentially dangerous both to car and driver. Should the handbrake fail, you could find yourself speeding into the garage wall or down the street into another vehicle.

Myth: Old Tyres are Safer Than New

Some people swear that their new tyres feel less safe than their old set. Physically, it can feel that way but it simply isn’t true.

Most new light truck and passenger tyres have 10/32” of tread, as compared to only 2/32” after a full lifetime of wear. More rubber means more flex and you may experience some tread squirm, or the flexing of tread blocks between the steel-belted structure and the driving surface. In reality, new tread means deeper grooves and sipes, giving you better traction when it’s really needed on wet roads.

Most tyres last anywhere from 56327 and 96560 km. In addition to wearing down the tread, those kilometers take a toll on the underlying structure of the tyre. By the time the tread has been worn down enough to warrant replacement, those tyres have been on a pretty long road trip.

Dealing With the Change

In some cases, traces of oils may appear on the surface of a newly-cured tyre for around 805 kilometer. Do not use solvents or degreasers in an attempt to remove the oils sooner. Rubber compounds are susceptible to drying and cracking over time, so anything that might accelerate the loss of flexibility should be avoided.

For most vehicles, 805 kilometer equates to about 2 tanks of fuel. Take it easy in the meantime when it comes to cornering, accelerating or braking and adapt accordingly.