Keeping your tires in good condition is one of the best ways to keep you safe on the road. Tires will experience normal wear over their lifetime.  Normal wear is when the tread wears evenly across the entire surface. The edges and center sections of tread will wear at approximately the same rate with no bumpy, directional, feathered, cupped or flat wear patterns. Sometime tire wear can be corrected by rotating your tires or it may be the result of a mechanical problem. The suspension should be checked for worn or damaged parts to determine the cause of abnormal tire wear. A tire’s tread directly affects how it grips the road so it is important to have your tires rotated on a regular basis and have them inspected by a professional as well as visually inspecting them yourself.

Samples of abnormal wear:

  • Center wear is typically due to over-inflation. The maximum pressure stamped on the tire is for when the vehicle is fully loaded. Center wear can also be caused by mounting oversized tires onto narrow rims.
  • Shoulder wear is often the result of low tire pressure, overloading the vehicle, or the use of undersized tires.
  • Camber wear results when the tire is not vertically aligned properly with the surface of the road. This type of wear is likely the cause of mechanical parts failure.

  • Cupped or scalloped dips appearing around the surface of the tread could indicate loose, worn, or sometimes bent suspension parts. Worn shock absorbers or unbalanced tires/wheels can also cause cupping but the cupping would typically be more of a concentric pattern.

  • When a tire slides across the road surface, it will scuff away the tread in one area. This generally happens as a result of the brakes locking up due to brake malfunction or the driver aggressively applying the brakes. Oil, Fuel or other chemicals can also cause flat spotting if the tire sits in it for extended periods.

Tire Care:

Visually inspecting your tires can help you find punctures or other signs of damage. It is crucial to know when its okay to have a tire repaired and when it should be replaced.

  • If a tire loses air pressure, it should be removed for an internal inspection
  • Driving on a flat tire for even a short distance can ruin it
  • Most punctures, nail holes, or cuts of up to 1/4 inch can be repaired if damage is confined to the tread
  • Never repair any sidewall punctures
  • Never repair any tread punctures larger than 1/4 in. and DO NOT repair tires worn below 1/16 in.

Having your tires balanced is important for longevity and vehicle performance. Unbalanced tire cause road vibration which can lead to premature tire wear and unnecessary wear to your vehicle’s suspension. Maintaining proper air pressure in your tires is important for the life of your tires. Find the proper air pressure for your tires in your owner’s manual or the sticker in the driver’s side door jamb. 

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