This article will deal primarily with the effects of gravel on the tires of your car. But the article must first start by explaining how to drive over gravel roads. If you do not drive properly through these roads, not only the tires, but other parts of the vehicle might get damaged too. Then, it will discuss the effects of gravel road on the tires. And last of all, what kind of tires are the best for driving on gravel roads will bring this article to its conclusion.
Most roads and streets are paved usually with asphalt concrete – a mixture of asphalt cement, sand, and rocks. It gives that smooth, flat surface that is perfect for driving any type of vehicle with any type of tire set. On such surfaces, the tires of the wheels take a long time to wear down. But that’s not the case when driving on rough surfaces especially on gravel roads.
Why Are There Gravel Roads?
Why is there loose gravel on the roads? Actually the gravel has come loose from the mixture in the cement. Not all the gravel particles are seal well with the cement. Cement and gravel are mixed, and spread out on rough roadways or streets to provide a better skid-preventing surface area for safety.
However, because heavy vehicles go through these roads over for a long period, they tend to dislodge some of the gravel, and if not sweep or cleaned, gravels accumulate into a substantial amount on the roads.
All gravel roads are not the same; some have more gravel on them and you have to deal with carefully on such roads. It depends on how much the roads are used and if large vehicles regularly ply those roads.
Now you know why there is gravel on the roads, let’s deal with driving through these roads and what happens to the car wheels on a gravel road.
Driving On Gravel Roads
You must slow down. You must focus hard on driving and controlling the car. The car wheels on a gravel road have little friction to steer or stop normally. The tires are moving on pointed, sharp or curved small surfaces not a flat surface like a normal road. Keep an eye out for large gravel or stones on the road. If you were driving on a clean paved road and then come on a road full of gravel, you will experience difficulties controlling the car, especially if you intend to change directions while driving. When changing directions like moving more to the right or left, the car tends to swerve. And this happens more so, if you are driving fast. The car will over swerve, if you have to avoid other cars, animals or suddenly individuals that might come in your way. Do accelerate slowly and see if you can handle the car. Do slow down gently. Any sudden stoppage will not be like you are used to; the car is going to skid a lot more forwards. You will not be able to stop the car fast. All these guidelines are checked after studying gravel road records of accidents. People did not know about these tips.
Slow down when approaching intersections, hills, four-ways, curves and turns. Keep a good distance from cars that are around you, at least 7 seconds away distance. They could lose control, not just you. According to the law you should not exceed 55 miles per hour on gravel roads.
If you get stuck on a gravel road, do this. Stop the car, don’t try to accelerate. Get out of your car, and try to remove some of the gravel that’s in front of the front wheels and back wheels. Try to push the car. Ask for assistance if possible. Drivers must know these guidelines, otherwise they can have accidents, besides wearing out the tires.
Gravel Effects On Tires
Generally driving fast causes a lot of friction between the road and the tires and this wears down the tires. This is much more obvious if you are driving fast on gravel roads. Gravel is very abrasive, it cuts deep even when you are driving slowly, forget about what happens when driving fast. There is a lot of slippage that just plunges the car to the sides or forwards causing more friction and punctures by extra sharp gravel particles.
There is the heat factor that becomes an added reason to wear the tires down. Driving fast exposes the tires to a lot of heat, which starts melting the rubber too. On gravel, the heat factor goes up.
Now if your tire tubes are not filled up to their specific capacity or you have not driven the car for a long time then it may cause the parts of the tires that’s touching the floor to become more pressed in. This shows that your tires are not in good condition and gravel will damage them more easily.
Besides these two problems, if the wheels are not properly aligned or the suspension system is faulty, your tires are going to get a bad beating on a gravel road. Those jagged, chipped or pointy gravel stones are going to rip the outer surfaces of the tires. Many gravel stones might get imbedded in the groves of the tires. And this will make the driving even more unstable, besides further spoiling the tires.
Usually a new car will have a lot more problems on a gravel road. New cars typically come with soft tires. And if you don’t know how to navigate on a gravel road, those tires will get ripped up easily. These tires are called OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and are good, but the standard types of tires.
If the car is a front-wheel drive, the front pair of tires will wear out faster on a gravel road due to the fact that they are not only used for steering but they are also responsible for acceleration.
Tires For Such Roads
Tires with very wide grooves are ideal for such roads. Get tires that have hard studs on them. These tires will sink into the gravel and provide stability to the car. Tires with DuPont Kevlar material are very good to handle tough gravel roads. Check the markets. Ask around. Do some more research on tires.
Gravel roads are a bad news if you have to deal with them once or twice, leave alone on a regular basis. Avoiding gravel roads are ideal and the best solution, but if you have to drive, drive carefully. Maintain your vehicle and have tires that can deal with the worse type of gravel. But do try hard to avoid those roads.
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