It may have looked like a 'Candid Camera' stunt, but these tyre technicians were absolutely serious as they moved through a supermarket car park in Centurion recently in Round 3 of the 2012 Bridgestone tyre survey, checking 968 tyres on 242 vehicles for condition, tread depth and inflation pressure.

Each tyre checked was classified as either 'fine' (inflation pressure 180-290kPa), 'dangerous' (below 180kPa but above 150kPa) or 'extremely dangerous' (below 150kPa or above 290kPa).

Each vehicle was left with a tyre condition report under its windscreen wiper, while tyre information leaflets were distributed to curious motorists.

“The Centurion survey produced mixed results.”

Bridgestone PR manager, Mandy Lovell said: “On the one hand, the trend towards better inflation pressures that we've seen over the past few years was evident in Centurion. Four percent of tyres were found to be in the 'dangerous' category, with a further five percent classified as 'very dangerous'.

“This means that 91 percent of tyres were found to be acceptably inflated, which is one of the best results in the five-year history of the programme,” she added.

However, she said the results of the tyre condition check took some of the shine off the inflation pressure results - five percent of the tyres they checked were worn beyond the legal limit of 1.6mm tread depth or had other damage that made them unsafe.

“Our previous two tyre checks returned much lower percentages for unsafe tyres.”

Lovell commented: “The Carnival City survey at the beginning of the year showed 3.3 percent and the Port Elizabeth check in June just 1.5 percent.”

She warned that trying to save money by not replacing damaged or worn tyres was false economy.

“The rainy season is just around the corner in South Africa's summer rainfall areas,” she said. “A smooth tyre can't disperse water on the road and can aquaplane - and once that happens you're just a passenger.”

She also emphasised that bulges and cuts on a tyre were danger signs that it was damaged and could be at risk of a blowout.