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Tyres 101

I don't understand the language they speak at the tyre dealer

Tyres are more than just black and round. Much more. They utilise an innovative mix of chemistry, physics and engineering.

Many people don't understand the terminology when they enter a tyre dealer or a mechanical workshop - below is a list of industry terms to help you.

Air Pressure
The amount of air inside the tyre pressing outward on each square inch of tyre, which is expressed in pounds per square inch (psi) or kiloPascals (kPa), the metric designation for air pressure. Airtight Synthetic Rubber

Formulated with virtually impermeable butyl rubber, this material replaces the inner tube in modern, tubeless tyres. Check you air pressure monthly, as some air loss occurs over time.

When all wheels on the vehicle are adjusted so that they are pointed in the optimum direction relative to the road and each other.

All-season high-performance tyres
Tyres that deliver a measure of traction on snow and ice without sacrificing dry performance driving capabilities.

All-season tyres
Tyres that provide a good balance of traction in rain or snow with good tread life and a comfortable, quiet ride.

All-season traction
Indicates the tyre's ability to provide a balance of traction in wet, dry, and winter conditions.

An advanced silica-based winter rubber compound that helps provide flexibility where the tread surface makes contact with the road.

An extremely dangerous situation where water builds up in front of the tyres resulting in the tyres losing contact with the road surface. At this point, the vehicle is skimming on the water surface and is completely out of control. Also called hydroplaning.

A synthetic fabric used in some tyres that is (pound-for-pound) stronger than steel.

Aspect Ratio
The relationship of a tyre's sidewall height to its section width.

The state in which a tyre and wheel spin with all their weight distributed equally. To correct an imbalance, a trained mechanic will add weights on the interior or exterior of the wheel.

The section of the tyre that sits on the wheel. Inside, there is a round hoop of steel wires, wrapped or reinforced by body ply cords, that clamps the tyre firmly against the wheel rim.

Bead Chafer
A key component of the tyre that is the contact point between the tyre and the wheel, designed to withstand forces the wheel puts on the tyre during mounting as well as the dynamic forces of driving and braking.

Bead Filler
Responsible for transferring propulsion and braking torque from the wheel rim to the road surface contact area.

Bead Tension Structure
Two sidewall plies wrapped around each bead wire in opposite directions providing lateral stability but flex to absorb road irregularities.

A rubber-coated layer of cords that is located between the body plies and the tread. Cords are most commonly made from steel but may also be made from fiberglass, rayon, nylon, polyester or other fabrics.

A type of tyre with crossed layers of ply cord running diagonally to the center line of the tread.

Bolt Circle
The diameter of an imaginary circle drawn through the center of each lug nut hole and then measured from two holes that are directly across from each other. The measurement is used in selecting the proper wheel for replacement.

Braking Torque
A technique practiced by drag racers and road testers to improve their off-the-line acceleration; applying the brake and throttle at the same time, increasing the engine rpm until release of the brake.

A term used to describe a loss of traction when negotiating a curve or when accelerating from a standing start. The tyres slide against, instead of grip, the road surface.

Butyl Rubber
Synthetic rubber used to create today's tyres. It is virtually impenetrable to water and air.

A wheel's inward or outward tilt from vertical, measured in degrees. The camber angle is adjusted to keep the outside tyres flat on the ground during a turn.

Camber Thrust
Side or lateral force generated when a tyre rolls with camber, which can add to or subtract from the side force a tyre generates.

Carbon Black
This is a reinforcing filler which, when incorporated into the tyre rubber compound, gives it a high resistance to wear.

The supporting structure of the tyre consisting of plies anchored to the bead on one side and running in a radius to the other side and anchoring to the bead. Also called casing.

Carcass Ply
Made up of thin textile fiber cables bonded into the rubber. These cables are largely responsible for determining the strength of the tyre.

Carrying Capacity
At a given air pressure, how much weight each tyre is designed to carry. For each tyre size, there is a load inflation table to ensure the inflation pressure used is sufficient for the vehicle axle load.

The angle between a line drawn vertically through a wheel's centerline and the axis around which the wheel is steered; improves a car's directional stability and on-center feel.

An imaginary line down the center of the vehicle. Alignment tracking is measured from this line.

Centrifugal Force
The sideways acceleration, measured in g's, of an object in curvilinear motion. As a car traverses a curve, centrifugal force acts on it and tries to pull it outward. To counteract this, the tyres develop an equal and opposite force acting against the road. Also called lateral force.

Cold Inflation Pressure
The amount of air pressure in a tyre, measured in pounds per square inch (psi) before a tyre has built up heat from driving.

Contact Patch
The area in which the tyre is in contact with the road surface. Also called footprint.

The strands of fabric forming the plies or layers of the tyre. Cords may be made from polyester, rayon, nylon, fiberglass or steel.

Cornering Force
The force on a turning vehicle's tyres - the tyre's ability to grip and resist side force - that keeps the vehicle on the desired arc.

Crown Plies
Provide the rigid base for the tread which allows for good fuel economy. The plies also provide centrifugal and lateral rigidity to the tyre, and are designed to flex sufficiently for a comfortable ride.

Curb Weight
Weight of a production vehicle with fluid reservoirs (including fuel tank) full and all normal equipment in place, but without driver or passengers.

The tread and sidewall flexing where the tread comes into contact with the road.

Directional Stability
The ability of a vehicle to be driven safely and with confidence in a straight line and at high speed without being affected by pavement irregularities, crosswinds, aerodynamic lifting forces, or other external influences.

Dog Tracking
Track is the width between the outside tread edges of tyres on the same axle. Tracking, or more specifically "Dog Tracking", refers to a condition in which the vehicle is out of alignment, and the rear wheels do not follow in the path of the front wheels when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. Also called tracking.

DOT Markings
A code molded into the sidewall of a tyre signifying that the tyre complies with U.S. Department of Transportation motor vehicle safety standards.

Drift refers to a vehicle deviating from a straight-line path when no steering input is given. Also called pull.

Eccentric Mounting
Mounting of a tyre wheel assembly in such a way that the center of rotation for the assembly is not aligned with the center of rotation for the vehicle's hub.

Filament at Zero
Individual, spiral-wrapped nylon or aramid/nylon reinforcing filaments can be precisely placed in specific portions or across the entyre tread area atop the steel belts banded at zero degrees. Not only does this help retain tyre shape, but it also enhances ride quality and steering precision.

Fore-and-Aft Weight Transfer
Transfer of weight from the front axle to the rear axle (or vice versa) caused by acceleration or braking. Acceleration causes weight transfer from the front axle to the rear axle. Braking causes weight transfer from the rear axle to the front axle.

A handling term describing a car with its front and rear tyres sliding in a controlled manner. The driver uses both throttle and steering to keep the vehicle on a prescribed path.

Free Radius
The radius of the tyre/wheel assembly that is not deflected under load.

The space between two adjacent tread ribs; also called tread grooves.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
The maximum weight that can be distributed among the tyres on a given axle.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
The weight of the vehicle and its contents (fluids, passengers, and cargo).

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The maximum weight allowed for the vehicle and its contents. This value is established by the vehicle manufacturer and can be identified on the vehicle door placard.

A normal, safe occurrence in a tyre's sidewall where overlapping splices of fabric cords form indentations. This cannot occur on tread due to steel cable implantation.

The act of putting air into tyres.

Inner liner
The innermost layer of a tubeless tyre, compounded with virtually impermeable butyl rubber. Some air loss over time will occur. Check your pressures monthly to ensure safe reliable operation of your tyres.

Kilopascal (kPa)
The metric unit for air pressure. One psi is equal to 6.9 kPa.

Lateral weight transfer
When a vehicle travels through a curve, weight is transferred from the wheels on the inside of the curve to the wheels on the outside of the curve. This is a result of the centrifugal force, or lateral force acting on the vehicle.

Load-carrying capacity
Indicates how much weight a tyre is certified to carry at maximum inflation pressure.

Loaded radius
The measurement in inches from the wheel axle centerline to the ground when the tyre is properly inflated for the load.

Loaded section height
The height of the section of the tyre that is making contact with the road.

Load index
An assigned number ranging from 0 to 279 that corresponds to the load-carrying capacity of a tyre.

Load range
Defines a range of maximum loads that tyres can carry at a defined pressure.

Wheels are manufactured to fit either the hub or the lugs. Lug-centric is matching the lug holes of a custom wheel perfectly to the lug pattern of the vehicle.
Luxury performance touring tyres

Generally designed for luxury sedans, this breed of tyres blends performance handling with a comfortable, smooth ride.

Maximum inflation pressure
The maximum air pressure to which a cold tyre may be inflated; can be found molded onto the sidewall.
Metric tyre size system

This is the act of putting a tyre on a wheel and ensuring that the assembly is balanced. When you purchase new tyres, they need to be professionally mounted. It is also standard for the tyre dealer to charge a nominal fee for a valve stem.

Overall diameter
The diameter of the inflated tyre, without any load.

Overall width
The distance between the outside of the two sidewalls, including lettering and designs.

Too much air in the tyre, resulting in premature wear in the center of the tread.

The tendency for a vehicle, when negotiating a corner, to turn more sharply than the driver intends. The rear end of the vehicle wants to swing toward the outside of a turn. A handling condition in which the slip angles of the rear tyres are greater than the slip angles of the front tyres. An oversteering car is sometimes said to be "loose," because its tail tends to swing wide.

Rust process that takes place in the steel belts when moisture, via damage, is allowed to get inside the tyre. This can result in the tyre becoming unserviceable before normal replacement time.

Abbreviation for pounds per square inch, which is the automotive industry's measurement of the pressure in a tyre.

A condition in which a vehicle swerves to one side without being steered in that direction, as a result of irregular tyre wear, improper front and/or rear wheel alignment, or worn or improperly adjusted brakes.

That portion of a wheel to which a tyre is mounted.

Rim diameter
The diameter of the rim bead seats supporting the tyre.

Rolling circumference
The linear distance traveled by a tyre in one revolution (its circumference). This can vary with load and inflation. Rolling circumference can be calculated as follows: 63,360 divided by revolutions per mile = rolling circumference in inches.

Rolling resistance
The force required to keep a tyre moving at a uniform speed. The lower the rolling resistance, the less energy needed to keep a tyre moving.

The changing of tyres from front to rear or from side to side on a vehicle according to a set pattern; provides even treadwear. Rotating your tyres on a regular basis (every 6,000-8,000 miles) is a simple way to add miles to their life. See your tyre warranty for more information on recommended rotation.

Rubber compound
A combination of raw materials blended according to carefully developed procedures. The rubber compound is specially adapted to the performance required of each type of tyre.

Run Flat Technology
Tyres that are designed to resist the effects of deflation when punctured, and to enable the vehicle to continue to be driven at reduced speeds and for limited distances.

The area of a tyre where the tread and sidewall meet.

Special slits within a tread block that open as the tyre rolls into the contact patch then close, breaking the water tension on the road surface and putting rubber in contact with the road to maintain adhesion, increasing wet and snow traction.

The combination of tyre width, construction type, aspect ratio, and rim size used in differentiating tyres.

Steel belt
The combination of steel cords covered with rubber that forms a strip or belt placed under the tread rubber and on top of the casing (carcass); ensures uniformity when the tyre is rotating and helps prevent flats.

Steering response
A vehicle's reaction to a driver's steering inputs. Also the feedback that drivers get through the steering wheel as they make steering inputs.

The various springs, shock absorbers and linkages used to suspend a vehicle's frame, body, engine, and drivetrain above its wheels.

Symmetrical Tread Design
Uniform tread pattern on both sides of the tread for better performance in specific conditions and on specific roads.

Synthetic rubber
Man-made, as opposed to natural, rubber. Most of today's passenger car and light truck tyres have a relatively small amount of natural rubber in their content.

Also called pneumatic tyre, a precisely engineered assembly of rubber, chemicals, fabric, and metal, designed to provide traction, cushion road shock and carry a load under varying conditions.

Tyre Designation
An alphanumeric code molded into the sidewall of the tyre that describes the tyre's size, including width, aspect ratio, rim diameter, load index, and speed rating. Most designations use the P-Metric system.

Tyre Mixing
A situation in which tyres of various brands, types, or sizes are mixed on a vehicle. This can lead to variations in the vehicle's ride and handling characteristics.

Tyre Placard
A metal or paper tag permanently affixed to a vehicle, which indicates the appropriate tyre size and inflation pressures for the vehicle. The placard can ordinarily be found on either the driver's doorpost, the glove box lid, or the fuel-filler door.

Tyre Pressure Gauge
Tool used to properly measure the air pressure in a tyre.

The difference in distance between the front and rear of a pair of tyres mounted on the same axle.

The fronts of two tyres on the same axle are closer than the rears of the tyres.

The fronts of two tyres on the same axle are further apart than the rears of the tyres.

Toe-Out Turns
Also known as Ackerman Angle. A vehicle's wheels on the inside of a turn follow a smaller radius than the tyres on the outside of the turn, because the two front wheels steer at different angles when turning.

Turning or twisting effort, usually measured in lb-ft or Newton meters.

Torsion Bar
A long, straight bar fastened to the frame at one end and to a suspension part at the other; acts like an uncoiled spring that absorbs energy by twisting.

The friction between the tyres and the road surface; the amount of grip provided.

That portion of a tyre that comes into contact with the road. It is distinguished by the design of its ribs and grooves. Provides traction in a variety of conditions, withstands high forces, and resists wear, abrasion, and heat.

Tread Depth
The depth of usable tread rubber measured in 32nds of an inch. If a tyre comes new with 10/32nds of rubber, you have 8/32nds of usable rubber. Tyres must be replaced when the wear bars are visible at 2/32nds.

Tread Life
The life of a tyre before it is pulled from service; mileage.

Operating a tyre without sufficient air pressure to support the weight of the vehicle with occupants and additional load; could cause failure of the tyre when heat is generated inside the tyre to the point of degeneration of components.

The handling characteristic in which the front tyres break loose because they are running a larger slip angle than the rear tyres. Also known as plowing.

Material between the bottom of the tread rubber and the top layer of steel belts; acts as a cushion that enhances comfort.

A device that lets air in or out of a tyre. It is fitted with a valve cap to keep out dirt and moisture, plus a valve core to prevent air from escaping.

Variable Contact Patch
A system that maximizes the contact patch area during cornering through a combination of asymmetrical tread patterns and underlying belts.

The longitudinal distance from the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear wheel on the same side of the vehicle.

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How to read a sidewall

Tyre brand

This is the brand or manufacturer of your tyre. 

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Tyre pattern name

The tyre pattern name is the model or name designated to a particular tyre - this information is usually found after the manufacturer's name on the sidewall.


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Tyre wear indicator

Tread wear indicators ("wear bars") are located at the base of the main grooves and are equally spaced around the tyre. The tread wear indicators, which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will appear on the tyre when that point of wear is reached. When you see these wear bars, the tyre is worn out and it's time to replace the tyre. Always remove tyres from service when they reach a remaining tread depth of two millimetres (2 mm). Another easy way to check is to do the coin test. Take a five cent coin and place it with Queen's head down in the tread groove. If the tread covers the top of the Queen's head, then your tyres are OK. If the tread does not cover the top of the Queen's head, it is time to replace your tyres.


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Tyre type

This designates the type of vehicle the tyre fits. P is for passenger metric. Other letters are LT (for light truck), T (for temporary spare) and ST (for special trailers). If your tyre has no letter, it signifies that your tyre is a euro "metric" size.


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Tyre width

The width of your tyre from sidewall to sidewall. In this example the width of the tyre is 225mm. 


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Tyre aspect ratio

This identifies the tyre's aspect ratio, which is the relationship of the tyre's sidewall height to the tyre's width. In this example, the sidewall height of the tyre is 55% of its width. The lower the ratio, the smaller the sidewall height, which means better cornering, but a rougher ride.


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Tyre construction

This is the tyre's internal construction, which is "radial." Almost every tyre on the road has radial construction, which means the cords of the carcass plies inside the tyre "radiate" directly across from one side of the tyre to the other. Other letters used are D, for diagonal construction, and B, for belted.


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Wheel diameter

This number (in inches) indicates that the tyre is designed to fit on a wheel with a 18-inch diameter.


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Load index

This indicates how much weight the tyre is certified to carry at maximum safe inflation. Normally tyres can carry between 60 (250 kg/tyre) to 110 (1060 kg/tyre)


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Speed rating

This indicates the maximum safe speed at which a tyre is certified to travel under specified conditions. Speed ratings range from A (the lowest) to Y (the highest) 


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Tyre Pressures

What tyre pressure should I inflate my tyres to?

The vehicle manufacturer selects the size and type of tyres for their vehicles. They perform the necessary testing to establish the vehicles' optimised operating tyre inflation pressures which can be found on the vehicle placard (located on the inside of the driver's door) and in the vehicle owners' manual. If the tyres on your vehicle are the same size as the original equipment tyre, inflate them to the pressures indicated on the placard.

If the size of the tyres is different than the size indicated on the placard, please contact us for a pressure recommendation. We will need the following information from the tyre and wheel placard:

- the original equipment tyre size

- the vehicle manufacturer's inflation pressure

Get More Tyre Pressure Advice

If you would like further technical advice, please fill out the form below and one of our expert technicians will endeavour to respond to your questions within 5 working days.

Required Information (Please note that all information below is required before BFGoodrich Australia can make a recommended tyre pressure).

Make and Year

(e.g Toyota 2006)


(e.g Landcruiser GXL)

Current Tyre Size

(e.g LT285/75R16 All-Terrain T/A KO)

Original Placard Tyre Size

(e.g 275/70R16 114 H)

Original Front Tyre Pressure

(e.g 200 kPa or 29 psi)

Original Rear Tyre Pressure

(e.g 200 kPa or 29 psi)

Typical Terrain covered in vehicle

(e.g mud, sand and road)

Approximate Load

(e.g 500 kg)

Your Contact Name

(e.g John Smith)

Your Contact Phone

(e.g 0421 XXX XXX)

Your Email Address


Please return the following information by email

*Please note: the technical advice given by us is only a recommendation based on the information provided by you. BFGoodrich is not responsible or liable for any damage due to utilization based on our technical advice. 

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Reducing Tyre Pressures - General Advice

Tyre Pressures - General Advice

In regards to off-road Tyre pressures and preserving tyre life, it's key to remember two points below:

- heat (caused by over-flexing/overload) is the greatest enemy of a tyre

- It's air in the tyre that carries the load, not the tyre itself

To avoid excessive heat build-up caused by over flexing, ensure there is sufficient air pressure in the tyre to carry the load.

In most conditions your vehicle can be driven off-road at the same tyre pressure as on sealed roads. However, in low traction conditions (ie. Sand), it can be beneficial to slightly reduce tyre pressures to achieve better grip.

Lowering inflation pressures for improved floatation are only adequate if the tyre maintains sufficient load carrying capacity.

Please note that tyre load, speed and pressures are all interrelated.

If you want to reduce your pressure whilst maintaining your load, you must reduce your speed. Reducing your pressure without reducing Load or Speed will lead to excessive heat build-up in the tyre.

Pressures lower than 20psi may be used off-road provided speeds are reduced to 25kph or less, when the tyre has adequate load-carrying capacity.

Always remember to reinflate your tyres to correct pressure immediately upon returning to sealed roads. Failure to reinflate tyres for highway use will seriously affect vehicle handling and possibly result in tyre failure.

*Please note: the technical advice given by us is only a recommendation based on the information provided by you. BFGoodrich is not responsible or liable for any damage due to utilisation based on our technical advice.

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Four-Wheel-Driving Tips & 4WD Tyres

Off-Road Driving in General

If you're going four-wheel-driving, you'll need safety, reliability and performance from your 4x4 tyres. BFGoodrich 4WD tyres have more than 20 SCORE Baja 1000 wins and 70 overall four-wheel SCORE Desert Race Titles, so it's safe to say that we know a little about off-road tyres.

In Australia, off-road driving can be fun - especially if it's intentional - but it can also be dangerous due to our country's vast expanses of remoteness and extreme weather conditions.

Off-road driving is an entirely different kind of driving and at BFGoodrich Tires Australia, we recommend that you understand the basic techniques of four-wheel-driving or visit a 4WD drive school so you don't get stuck in precarious situations.  

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Off-road Driving Tyre Pressures

It's important to remember that air is what carries your vehicle and not the tyre. With heat being the greatest enemy of a tyre, it is also vital you remember to have sufficient air pressures in your tyres.

Without sufficient air pressure in your tyre, the strain you put on your tyres will cause excessive heat build-up ('over flexing') resulting in tyre failures.

In most conditions, you're able to drive off-road at the same tyre pressures as on sealed roads. However, in low tractions conditions, it may be beneficial to slightly reduce your tyre pressure to achieve a better grip.

Load, speed and tyre pressures are all interrelated. If you reduce your tyre pressures while maintaining your vehicle's load, you must also reduce your speed to avoid excess heat build-up in your tyre.

*Remember: After you've had your fun off-road, return your tyres to the correct on-road pressures immediately upon return to sealed roads.

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Driving On Sand

Recommended tyre:  BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A, BFGoorich All-Terrain T/A KO, BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2

In Australia, we're blessed with some of the longest stretches of beaches and deserts in the world. Driving on sand for long distances can be a trap for the unwary and the inexperienced. If you do it right, you'll arrive at vistas, surf breaks, lakes and fishing spots that regular car drivers and most Australians never see.

A key to driving on sand is steadily maintaining momentum to give your tyres a chance to roll over the top of the sand rather than dig into it. For softer sand, keep the balance of acceleration and momentum to avoid your tyres digging in, but not so much power that the wheel-spin you create enables your tyre to dig its own way down.

Avoid any violent or sudden moves or sharp turns on the steering wheel, as the vehicle won't respond. Instead, you'll just plough ahead like under-steering on a wet road.

A 4WD vehicle is prone to toppling over due to their high centre-of-gravity and tyres can cut into the sand violently causing the vehicle to trip and fall over. It's recommended that you turn in big wide arcs and plenty of time before reaching the bend or the obstacle. If you're forging new tracks, you'll need more power so you're not getting stuck.

At BFGoodrich Tires Australia, we recommend that you carry a quality tyre pressure gauge and drop your tyre pressures by 5psi at a time until you reach your optimal footprint on the sand that you're driving in.

We advise not to drop your tyre pressures to under 20psi.

By dropping your tyre pressure, you're increasing the tyre's footprint on sand, increasing the area of contact between your vehicle and the road.

Avoid driving back to town to reinflate your tyres. If you don't have an air compressor, we recommend that you drive very slowly and not long distances to ensure that your tyres don't overheat.

At 20psi you don't want to be going any faster than 25kmh.

Sand driving tips:

  1. Check tide times and drive at low tide if you're driving on beaches
  2. Momentum is your best friend on sand
  3. Use a proper tyre gauge and don't guess your tyre pressures
  4. Deflate your tyres by 5psi at a time to increase your tyre's footprint until you reach optimal traction
  5. Be smooth in acceleration, steering and braking
  6. If your wheels start to spin, ease off the acceleration a little to let the tyres slow down and regain traction.
  7. Don't follow other vehicles too closely



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Driving Up Hills & Steep Terrain

Recommended tyre:  BFGoorich All-Terrain T/A KO, BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2

Driving up hills and steep terrain is one of the most exciting and dangerous activities you can do in your 4WD. Exciting because it's adventurous and you're living on the edge and dangerous because there's a high risk of you rolling your vehicle and by 'rolling' we mean by rolling all the way down…

Ascending the hill

Before you rev your engine and charge up the hill, this is a good chance to step outside your vehicle and do some exercise by checking the track in advance to ensure there are no obstacles en route and a clear exit at the top. A surprise cliff at the end makes for a very bad day.    

Use a high gear - if the gear is too low you will spin the tyres, if it's too high you will lose power. We advise you start by selecting 2nd gear, low ratio and use a short run up to gain momentum. Try to gauge your momentum so you climb the hill at a walking pace and no faster. Never change gear or direction once you've committed to a hill and be prepared to lose vision as the sky may fill your windscreen on a steep climb - this is why you check beforehand to ensure there's no surprise cliff at the end.

Ascending hills and steep terrain tips

  1. Approach the hill straight on so the weight is distributed equally, providing equal traction to all four tyres.
  2. Use the highest gear the vehicle will handle comfortably on the hill. If the gear is too low, you will spin the tyres. If it's too high, you won't have enough power.
  3. Always prepare for a failed climb and have an escape plan. 

What to do if you don't make it up?

Don't fret if you don't make it up the climb the first time, this happens to both novice and experienced drivers.  However, if you don't make it up the climb, it's very important to know how to get back down safely. It doesn't sound hard, but it's riddled with dangers.

Pitfalls of not making it up the hill

If you're losing control of your vehicle down a steep gradient and going backwards, your first reaction is to kick the clutch to prevent the engine from stalling - Don't do this. If you put your foot on the clutch, it means you no longer have forward drive - worst of all - you are helping gravity to roll your vehicle backwards quicker. 

Once the backwards rolling has started and if you're not kicking the clutch, your next automatic reaction is to pump the bakes. On a steep gradient, this also won't help you. The backwards momentum of your vehicle will send you into a slide, but with no wheel rotation, you'll lose your ability to steer your vehicle.

I am rolling down a hill backwards and I can't put my foot on the brake or clutch?

So you've reach that moment of truth with the hill you're trying to conquer and have realised you don't have enough momentum to take you over the top… Instead of jumping out of your car here's what you do to get back down.

Stall Recovery Technique (Manual vehicles)

  1. Don't touch the clutch - this is harder than you think
  2. While you're going into your engine stall depress the foot brake slowly and smoothly
  3. Pull your hand brake. Now you have three mechanical elements that prevent you from rolling backwards: you're still in gear, your foot brake and your hand brake
  4. If someone can get out of the car to guide you back down great, but don't get out of the car as this means you're releasing the foot brake
  5. Put your foot gently back on the clutch
  6. Shift your vehicle into reverse gear and engage in low range
  7. Slowly take your foot off the clutch
  8. With your foot still on the foot brake , slowly release the hand brake
  9. Carefully and slowly remove your foot brake
  10. With reverse gear engaged and the engine off, you should remain still
  11. Restart your engine with your foot off the clutch to let the car's engine braking control to assist in your descent

You should now be on your way back down, but try not to touch the accelerator or brake. If the hill is steep, you may need to tap the brakes gently, but this is risky as you may lock your wheels and trigger a slide.

Once you've made it back to the bottom, have another go, but try a different tact. If it didn't work the first time, it probably won't work again, so try a different route, change your tyre pressure or mule some equipment up the hill on foot.  

Stall Recovery Technique (Automatic vehicles)

For those of you with fancy Automatic transmissions here's what you do if you get stuck up a hill.

  1. Put your foot on the brake
  2. Pull your hand brake
  3. If you've stalled your engine, put the transmission into 'Park'. Now you have three mechanical elements that prevent you from rolling: Your transmission is still in drive or park mode, your foot brake and your hand brake
  4. If someone can get out of the car to guide you back down great, but don't get out of the car as this means you're releasing the foot brake
  5. If your engine has stalled then you need to restart it
  6. Shift your transmission into Neutral
  7. Engage in Low Range
  8. Shift your transmission into Reverse
  9. With your foot brake depressed, carefully release the hand brake
  10. Slowly remove the foot brake to start your controlled descent

You should now be on your way back down, but try not to touch the accelerator or brake. If the hill is steep, you may need to tap the brakes gently, but this is risky as you may lock your wheels and trigger a slide.

Once you've made it back to the bottom, have another go, but try a different tact. If it didn't work the first time, it probably won't work again, so try a different route, change your tyre pressure or mule some equipment up the hill on foot. 

Tyre pressure for uphill ascend

In your conquest of hills, you'll need as much traction available to you as possible and to help you achieve this, you may want to reduce your tyre pressure before you start your ascend.

There's no recommended tyre pressure for this, as different terrains will need different tyre pressures, but remember you don't want to puncture your tyre halfway up the hill, so be conservative with the deflation of your tyres.

Descending steep hills

Going down a steep hill in your 4WD is much easier than going up, for a start you're facing the right way with better visibility than going uphill and you've also got gravity on your side.

However, gravity isn't always a good thing when the gradient is too steep, therefore, like driving uphill retaining traction will be the key to your successful descend. 

Driving down Steep hill tips 

  1. Take a look at the track and walk down beforehand. If you can't walk down the track, then more than likely you won't be able to drive down it
  2. Have a contingency, if you're in your vehicle and lose control or it gets too steep for your liking, you're going to need a back-up plan before your descend. Just remember this may mean reversing up a steep hill, so choose your descend carefully!
  3. Tyre pressure, like going uphill you're going to need as much traction as possible. There's no optimal tyre pressure for this, as different pressures will apply to different terrains so deflate your tyres conservatively 
  4. Decide on the best path for your vehicle to descend, usually an existing path that someone else has used is a good start
  5. Use a low range gear, if you don't your car will run away
  6. Use first gear - a combination of low range and first gear will help your car's engine brake control your descend down

I am not going to make it down safely what do I do?

If you've decided it's no longer safe to keep going down the hill, then you're going to need to come to a safe stop and reverse back up.

Supposing that you've taken the correct precautions and used the recommended technique above, you shouldn't be going that fast.

Recovering from a descend down steep terrain

  1. Apply the foot brake gently and smoothly, don't slam the brakes as it puts you at risk of locking the wheels  and losing control
  2. Once you've come to a stop, pull your hand brake and put your vehicle in reverse
  3. Reverse back up the way you've come
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Driving Across Steep Slopes or Hills

According to the experts this is the most difficult exercise in four-wheel-driving. Our first recommendation on this subject is quite simple - avoid it at all costs. However, if you do decide you need to traverse across a steep slope or hill then you should do it as slowly as possible.

  1. Tyre Pressures - make sure your tyres are well inflated (inflate to on road pressures), if they're not inflated they'll come off the rim
  2. Put your car in low range first gear without the differential lock
  3. Drive as slow as possible across the slope and if you feel your car starting to slide, turn your steering wheel immediately in the direction of the slope

Caution:  Remember your 4x4 vehicle has a high centre of gravity? Driving across steep hills sideways dramatically increases your chance of losing traction. If you lose traction, you'll slide sideways and probably roll your vehicle… So please avoid driving across slopes as much as possible. 

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Driving in Mud & Ruts

Recommended tyre:  BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2

Oh mud, glorious mud, get it right and you'll have some of the best fun in your 4WD. Get it wrong and you and your car will be seriously dirty.

Having the proper mud tyres are vital in this application, as the idea is to get the full weight of your vehicle to push the tyres through the mud in an attempt to grip onto the firm ground underneath.

Tyre pressure: There's no optimal tyre pressure for this, as every situation and terrain will require a different pressure. But remember if the pressure is too low, you'll spread the weight of the vehicle too much, therefore, not getting maximum traction. If the pressure if too high, you won't get the required grip to traverse through the mud. 

A general rule of thumb is to not go below 20psi and not travel faster than 20kmh.

Mud driving tips: 

  • Ensure you have a winch on your vehicle in case you get stuck
  • Check your route first and see how deep the mud is - ruts deeper than the clearance under your vehicle's axles will get you stuck
  • Approach the mud in 4WD and low gear and remember to build some momentum and prepare for the  sudden deceleration upon contact with water and mud
  • Maintain steady pace the whole way through and keep to the high points of the track if possible
  • If you're stuck, rock the vehicle by alternating between first and reverse gears gently, or spin the wheels a little to clean the tyre tread to restore traction
  • If in doubt reverse out before it's too late
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Climbing Over Rocks, Logs, Ditches & Mounds

The modifications you've made - or going to make - to your vehicle is very important in conquering this type of terrain. Good ground clearance is what allows rocks, logs and ditches to pass underneath your vehicle without breaking fragile components on the underside of your car. While good suspensions are what keep your tyres in contact with the ground.

Rocks, logs and ditches driving tips:

  1. Approach obstacles at an angle, so that only one tyre engages, leaving the other three tyres on solid ground for traction
  2. To protect the fragile components on the underside of your vehicle, it's best to drive over an obstacle by placing one tyre on it, then gently driving over it

*Note:  If the obstacle is too severe, it can cause the vehicle to become cross-axled, meaning the diagonally opposite wheels will come clear off the ground resulting in no drive.

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Crossing Water

If you're afraid of water, then we suggest you don't think about doing this as nine times out of ten, you're going to get wet.

4WD vehicles can frequently tackle water with some able to go deeper than others due to installation of snorkels, but this depends on the water you're crossing as well as the current and flow.

Water should never be driven through fast, therefore maintaining a steady speed that creates a gentle 'bow wave' at the front of your vehicle will be the key to your successes.  

When your crossing has completed, always remember to drive a short distance with your foot slightly depressed on the foot brake to restore braking efficiency.

Water Crossing Tips:

  1. Get out of your vehicle and check how deep the water is
  2. Approach the crossing in 4WD low second gear and maintain steady momentum as you traverse through the water

*Note: Never enter or attempt to cross fast flowing water or flooded roadways. 

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What's covered and for how long?

BFGoodrich promises to deliver the very best. And with over a century of designing tyres, we back that promise. Our tyres are made to meticulous quality standards. That' why every tyre designed and manufactured by BFGoodrich is warranted by us.

All BFGoodrich tyres used in normal service and in accordance with the maintenance recommendations and safety warnings of the BFGoodrich company are covered by a warranty against defects in design, workmanship and materials subject to these conditions:

  • The warranty shall be for the life of the original usable tread pattern or six years from the date of purchase, whichever comes first.
  • Date of purchase is documented by new vehicle registration (where the tyres were fitted on a new vehicle) or original tyre sales invoice. If there is no proof of purchase, the warranty will be based on the date of manufacture.
  • The warranty period of 6 years from date of purchase is limited to a maximum tyre age of 9 years from the date of manufacture.
  • At the end of the relevant periods stated in the paragraphs above, all warranties, express or implied are terminated.
  • The original usable tread pattern is the original pattern down to the level of the tread pattern wear indicators - 1.6mm of tread pattern remaining.
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What's not covered?

Tyres which become unserviceable under the following circumstances are not covered by this warranty:

  • Road hazard injury (e.g. a cut, snag, bruise, impact damage or puncture, whether repairable or not)
  • Incorrect mounting of the tyre, tyre/wheel imbalance or improper repair
  • Under-inflation, over-inflation, improper maintenance or other abuse
  • Mechanical irregularity in the vehicle such as wheel misalignment resulting in uneven or rapid wear
  • Tyres fitted to or used with incompatible or improper valves, rims or wheels
  •  Vehicles which are carrying loads or running at speeds higher than the load and speed index marked on the tyre sidewalls
  • Tyres purchased second hand
  • Improper storage
  • Tyres which have not been fitted or used in accordance with the technical recommendations of the manufacturer as published from time to time
  • Accident, fire, chemical explosion, tyre alteration or vandalism
  • Climatic or ozone effects.
  • Tyres purchased from any entity not authorised by BFGoodrich
  • Tyres purchased from the website of any entity not authorised by BFGoodrich
  • Tyres which become unserviceable under the following circumstances are not covered by this warranty:
  • Road hazard injury (e.g. a cut, snag, bruise, impact damage or puncture, whether repairable or not)
  • Incorrect mounting of the tyre, tyre/wheel imbalance or improper repair
  • Under-inflation, over-inflation, improper maintenance or other abuse
  •  Mechanical irregularity in the vehicle such as wheel misalignment resulting in uneven or rapid wear
  • Tyres fitted to or used with incompatible or improper valves, rims or wheels
  • Vehicles which are carrying loads or running at speeds higher than the load and speed index marked on the tyre sidewalls
  • Tyres purchased second hand
  • Tyres which have not been fitted or used in accordance with the technical recommendations of the manufacturer as published from time to time
  • Accident, fire, chemical explosion, tyre alteration or vandalism
  •  Climatic or ozone effects.
  • Tyres purchased from any entity not authorised by BFGoodrich
  • Tyres purchased from the website of any entity not authorised by BFGoodrich 


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My tyre has gone flat. Is this covered by warranty?

There may be a circumstance where air loss can be covered by warranty, however, this can only be determined when inspected by a tyre professional at an authorised BFGoodrich dealer.

Some common causes of sudden or slow air loss that are not covered by warranty are:

  • Road hazard injuries (punctures, cuts, impact damage to the liner, ply material or sidewall rubber)
  • Valve stem or core air loss form damage, loose or aged rubber stem
  • Air loss from the bead seating area (corrosive build-up on the wheels which prevents a proper seal between the wheel flange and the tyre beads, bead seating area damage from accidental mounting or dismounting, foreign material between the rim flange area and the tyre bead seating area, bent rim flange).
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Tyre Problems

Why are my tyres wearing out so fast?

Treadwear or life expectancy is determined by many factors:

Driving habits and style of driving, geographical location, type of vehicle, type of tyre, how vehicle is maintained, how tyres are maintained, etc.

As a result, mileage expectancy is impossible to determine.

Our Limited Warranty covers defects in workmanship and material for the life of the tread or 6 years from the original date of purchase, whichever occurs first. We offer no mileage warranty on the tyres that were originally equipped on your vehicle.

We suggest that you have the tyres/vehicle inspected by an authorised BFGoodrich Dealer or auto mechanic in your area to determine if there is perhaps a mechanical or maintenance issue that could be contributing to a rapid or irregular wear pattern.

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What should I do if I notice vibration?

Vibration is an indication that your car has a problem that needs attention. The tyres, steering system and suspension system should be checked to help determine the possible cause and correction of the vibration. If left unattended, the vibration could cause excessive tyre and suspension wear. It could even be dangerous. Our Authorised Dealers can offer you expert diagnosis and repair.

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Are punctures and cuts covered by warranty?

Our warranty covers defects in workmanship and material for the life of the tread or 6 years, whichever comes first. We do not cover tyres that are damaged as a result of road hazards, cuts, punctures, impact, etc.

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There’s a bubble or bulge on the sidewall of my tyre, what should I do?

A bulge or bubble in the sidewall is sometimes the result of damage from coming in contact with a curb, pothole or other object.

A tyre that sustains this damaged is not covered under warranty.

If this occurs, we recommend you take your vehicle into an authorised BFGoodrich Dealer immediately, as this could severely jeopardise the safety of your vehicle. 

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What’s causing the centre of my tyre to wear more than the sides?

When the centre tread wears faster than the adjacent tread surfaces, possible causes include over inflation for load carried, rim width too narrow, misapplication, smooth wear after spin-out, improper tyre rotation practices, aggressive acceleration or under inflation for certain tyre types, such as performance tyres.

Please see an authorised BFGoodrich Dealer for closer inspection. 

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What’s causing my tyre to wear unevenly?

When the shoulder of the tread on one side of a tyre wears faster than the adjacent tread surface, this can result from a variety of conditions, such as front and/or rear misalignment (example, toe or camber), loose or worn suspension components, hard cornering, improper tyre rotation practices, misapplication, high crown roads or non-uniform mounting.

Please see an authorised BFGoodrich Dealer for closer inspection. 

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What should I do if my vehicle is pulling to one side?

Incorrect alignment settings can adversely affect handling. Tolerable camber, caster and toe settings can be verified by a print-out from your alignment/tyre shop or vehicle dealer.

If the tyres are evenly worn, the alignment is in order and there is still a pull, the front tyres should be criss-crossed (as long as they are not a directional tread design) to see if the pull changes directions.

This should be performed by an authorised motor mechanic or BFGoodrich Dealer

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What should I do if the cords of my tyres are visible?

Cord material may become visible at the base of tread grooves or slots due to under inflation, misalignment, loose/worn suspension components, hard cornering, improper tyre rotation practices, misapplication, high crown road or non-uniform mounting.

If cord material is visible, the tyre must be replaced. 

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Customer Service

What is the customer service line?

If you have any questions regarding BFGoodrich products and BFGoodrich dealers, please call: 1300 72 78 78 between the hours of 8:00AM and 5:00PM Monday to Friday.

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What is your address?

If you would like to contact us by mail, please send your enquiries to:

BFGoodrich Tires Australia
51-57 Fennell Street
Port Melbourne, VIC 3207


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