If you use Vulcanising Shops to check your tyre pressure they could be putting your life in danger.
Because it just costs 10 to 20 peso many drivers in the Philippines use vulcanising shops to check their tyre pressure rather than checking it themselves, while it might seem a good practice they could be putting you, your family and other road users in danger.
Problem with vulcanising shops
When I first started to drive in the Philippines I used vulcanising shops to check my tyre pressure and it was a few months before I discovered a problem with this.
I started to notice the handling of my vehicle was not how it should be so got the tyre pressure checked but still it did not improve.
It was not until I used a vulcanising shop in Batangas that I discovered the problem. I had found it strange that every time I had the tyre pressure checked they always put some air into them. The vulcanising shop in Batangas informed me my tyre pressure was 50psi in the first one they checked, and it turned out all the tyres had at least 50psi of pressure in them, one of the tyres had 54psi.
My tyre pressure should be 30psi in the front and 34psi in the back, so they were very overinflated.
How did my tyres become overinflated?
Every time I had my tyre pressure checked at vulcanising shops they would always put some air in them. We are not sure why they do this but can only presume they think they will not get paid if they do not put air in if the pressure is OK.
Our research on vulcanising shops
After discovering our tyres were overinflated we decided to do some research to see how widespread the problem of vulcanising shops adding air when it was not needed is.
Our research has involved using a different vulcanising shop to check our tyre pressure every time and was carried out over 14 months.
The findings of our research
The findings of our research were shocking and rather scary to think most drivers use vulcanising shops to check their tyre pressure.
Every vulcanising shop we used added air to the tyres even though it was not needed.
Many of them would just connect an airline with no pressure gauge.
Even the ones with pressure gauges would still add air when it was not needed.
The vulcanising shop with no pressure gauge on the airline had to be asked to get a pressure gauge to check them correctly.
Even after they used a pressure gauge the pressure was still not correct when we checked later.
Overinflated tyres danger
The main problem with overinflated tyres is loss of traction this is even worse on a wet road. When a tyre is overinflated it reduces the amount of rubber that is in contact with the road leading to reduced braking performance and increases the likelihood of skidding. On a wet or greasy road, this will be even worse. If you have to break in an emergency it could end up in disaster.
The reduced grip also means you are more likely to lose control of the vehicle when cornering.
Uneven tread wear
Overinflated tyres cause the tyre to wear unevenly since only a small part of the tyre is in contact with the road, this will normally be the centre of the tyre.
Proof many vehicles have overinflated tyres
You only have to look at vehicles in the Philippines with worn tyres and you will notice on the majority of them it is the middle of the tread that is most worn, this is a sure sign the tyres have been overinflated. On a correctly inflated tyre, the wear is normally even or on the edges depending on how hard it is cornered.
How can I check my tyre pressure?
We recommend buying a pressure gauge you can get a good one for a few hundred pesos and it could save your life.
It is far better to buy a tyre pressure gauge than it is to use the gauges that are built into pumps, as the gauges in the pump are often not very accurate.
Vulcanising shop is the wrong word
Not really related but we find it strange that they are called vulcanising shops when it should be tyre shops.
Vulcanisation is a process used to harden rubber. Traditionally it was the treatment with sulphur of natural rubber, the term now includes other synthetic rubbers.
Vulcanisation does not mean repairing or changing tyres, so unless they are making tyres they are not vulcanising shops.
We are not sure why they are called vulcanising shops in the Philippines, most Americans that I have spoken to call them tire shops so I presume in America they are called tire shops.
Spelling of tyre
We use the English spelling which is “tyre” for some reason Americans spell it “tire.” Tire, in fact, means “feel or cause to feel in need of rest or sleep.”
Brits in the Philippines is by no means suggesting all vulcanising shops do not check tyre pressure correctly, there are bound to be good vulcanising shops that do check the pressure correctly. It is just we have only found one of them.