These tips have been provided by Cooper Tires Australia, the tyre trusted by the Hema Map Patrol for remote mapping expeditions.
1. One point that should go unsaid but is rarely abided by is that you should always drive safely. This means avoiding hard cornering, rapid acceleration and abrupt braking, which puts a lot of stress on your tyres both in an immediate and long-term sense. Just because you’re driving a 4WD off-road doesn’t mean it’s immune to the usual wear and tear of on-road vehicles, and neither does it mean safe driving practices shouldn’t apply.
2. Don’t apply the brakes when you hit potholes or other road hazards if you can’t avoid them to begin with. Instead, apply the brake as you approach and then release it just before striking it, as this allows the tyre(s) to roll during impact, which will lower the likelihood of external damage. Additionally, if you hit an extremely large object or pothole during your travels, have your tyres checked upon return. Particularly jarring incidents can cause internal tyre damage that goes unnoticed, resulting in a rough ride or vibrations that can carry on for hundreds or thousands of kilometres before the tyre fails completely.
3. Remember that driving on overloaded tyres is a disaster waiting to happen. When your car is carrying too much, the weight can create excessive heat inside your tyres - causing sudden tyre failure. Never exceed the maximum load rating of your tyres, which you can find on the sidewalls of your tyre. When you replace a tyre, make sure the new one has a load carrying capacity equal to or greater than what is specified on your vehicles placard.
4. Treat your tyres right when you are not using them. If you store tyres, always keep them in a cool, dry place that’s away from sunlight and heat. Allow air to circulate around all sides to avoid moisture damage while keeping them away from grease, fuel and other substances that can deteriorate the rubber. It’s also an oft-forgotten point that storing tyres within 5 meters of an electric motor will expose them to ozone, which will also deteriorate the rubber and compromise your tyres’ longevity.
5. Don’t avoid getting your tyres checked and risk an off-road tyre failure in the process. If you detect any damage (or suspect a particular incident caused internal damage that’s gone unseen), get it checked out at your local authorised Cooper Tires Retailer as soon it's practical. On that note, keep in mind that rope plug tyre repairs are short-term fixes, so after you get back to civilisation it’s important to get any tyre punctures fixed professionally.
6. Ensure your tyres are new or nearly new for any Outback trip. The deeper treads of new tyres will give you much better grip and more protection from damage than tyres that are worn, which will save you from tyre failure on your trip and money in the long run.