Why Checking Your Tires Is Important

CARPHOTO-3263

You can examine your tires for wear at least once per month and both before and after long trips. You check them to decide if you need to buy new tires, have your wheels balanced, have your wheels aligned, or improve your driving habits.

Underinflated tires wear out faster, create excessive heat, increase fuel consumption, and make your vehicle harder to deal with. Overinflated tires can “blow out” easier, wear out faster, and make the vehicle unstable and unsafe to handle. Along with a new set of tires on wheels which can be out of alignment can break down completely after as little as one day of hard driving!

What the signs of poor treadwear mean.

What the signs of poor treadwear mean.

To determine what’s causing issues with your tires, try the subsequent:

Look for things embedded in each tire. Do you seenails and stones? Alternatively, other debris baked into the treads? Remove them. Push the nail way back in quickly and take the tire to be fixed if you hear a hissing sound if you pull a nail. Tires with leaks should be patched by a professional.

Look at the sidewalls. Check for deeply scuffed or worn areas, bulges or bubbles, small slits, or holes. Perform tires fit evenly and snugly around the wheel rims?

Glance at the treads. Most tires have built-in treadwear indicators. These bars of hard rubber are normally invisible but appear across treads that have been worn down to 1/16 of an inch of the surface of the tire (the legal limit in most states). If these indicators show up in two or three different places below 120 degrees apart about the circumference of the tire, replace the tire.

It’s time for new tires when treadwear indicators appear.

It’s time for new tires when treadwear indicators appear.

Place a Lincoln penny head-down inside the groove between the treads when your tires don’t show these indicators and you think that they might be worn below legal tolerances. Your tire probably has to be replaced if you can see the top of the Lincoln’s head.

To measure treadwear more precisely, place a thin ruler in to the tread and measure the distance from the lower tread to the surface. It must be more than 1/16 of an inch deep. (In case your front tires are more worn than your rear show and ones abnormal wear patterns, you probably must have your wheels aligned.)

Sometimes 1/16 inch of tread isn’t enough to keep you safe. If you are living in a rainy area, appraise the depth of the treads with a quarter instead of a penny, using Washington’s hair to see if your tires have at least 2/16 of an inch of tread remaining.

Pay attention to leaks. Have your local service station check them for leaks should you keep losing air with your tires. Sometimes an ill-fitting rim causes a leak. The service facility has a machine that can fix this problem easily.

The following table summarizes tread wear and what it means.

How to Read Your Tire Treads

Clue Culprit Remedy

Both edges worn Underinflation Add more check and air for leaks

Center treads worn Overinflation Let air out to manufacturer’s specifications

One-sided wear Poor alignment Have wheels aligned

Treads worn unevenly, with bald spots, cups, or scallops Wheel imbalance and poor alignment Have wheels balanced and aligned

Erratically spaced bald spots Wheel imbalance or worn shocks Have wheels balanced or replace shocks

Only edges of front tires worn Taking curves too fast Slow!

Saw-toothed wear pattern Poor alignment Have wheels aligned

Whining, thumping, and other weird noises Poor alignment or worn tires or shocks Have wheels aligned or buy new tires or shocks

Squealing on curves Poor alignment or underinflation Check wear on treads and act accordingly