Speed bumps throw cars’ wheel alignment out

Bob Hahndiek, Fish Hoek

With the price of fuel now over R15 a litre, I was pleased to read a recent article in the Cape Times by Susan Steward, the marketing manager of Budget Insurance, headed “Practical tips to conserve petrol as fuel prices soar”.

The first point she makes in the article is to watch for incorrect wheel alignment and under-inflated tyres, which lead to higher fuel consumption as well as increased wear and tear on the tyres.

She further recommends that wheel alignment should be checked at least once a year but also every six months after hitting a pothole or curb.

Longbeach Mall, quite some time ago, installed traffic speed bumps at numerous places on the roads leading to the various parking areas.

These speed bumps are either round steel domes or pyramidal black composite shapes – all strategically placed diagonally opposite each other in double rows so that they cannot be avoided.

As a vehicle’s front wheels hit the first bumps front on, the shock is transmitted to shock absorbers, steering linkages and components.

Then, as the vehicle proceeds over the bump, the tyres are deformed by either the left or right side of the dome of the speed bump.

This, in turn, exerts an abnormal sideways pressure on the wheel hub and, in due course, throws the wheel alignment of your vehicle way out.

To have your wheel alignment checked and re-set will cost approximately R350.

I have photos which clearly show the typical configuration of the steel domes. You will see that one dome is torn open, others are dented in and are deeply scratched or damaged in other ways.

Come on, Longbeach Mall, in the interest of your customers, it is high time that you immediately scrap all these speed bumps and replace them with traditional speed bumps as used on all public roads.

A response from Longbeach Mall would be appreciated.

Francois Badenhorst, of Centre Management at Growthpoint Properties, on behalf of Longbeach Mall, responds:

We take note of your concern regarding the existing speed bumps.

They have reached the end of their service period and are being replaced over the next few weeks with more “user friendly” traffic calming bumps.

We take the safety of our customers, pedestrians and vehicle users very seriously and trust that the replacement speed bumps will ensure safe and responsible driving on the roads around the mall.