As you drive your car, the tread will gradually become worn. This will also change the performance of your tire over time. When you frequently check the wear on your tires, you can learn when they need to be changed, but there’s more than you can learn from the type of wear that’s detected.
The Dangers of Tire Wear
The amount of tire tread you have is what causes your car to grip the road properly. When the tires aren’t gripping the street properly, there’s less control of the vehicle. This can become a serious problem during snow or wet road conditions.
Minimum Safe Tread Depth
Measurements of a tire’s tread is listed in 32nds of an inch, which usually ranges from 9/32 inches to 11/32 inches. In many states in the U.S., the minimum allowed by the state is 2/32 inches. This is where the owner of the vehicle should be changing the tires to new ones. You don’t have to have a measuring tool to find out if your tires are down to the minimum required by law in most states. Tires have indicator lines, or wear bars, that will tell you at a glance whether your tires need to be replaced or not.
Causes of Early Wear on a Tire
An improperly inflated tire will wear unevenly and quicker than a tire should wear under regular conditions. This is one of the reasons that manufacturers will be very specific about the amount of tire pressure required. This is based on comfort, handling and fuel economy, but it’s also based on how the pressure is distributed to the tires. When the tire pressure is too high or low, the contact of the tire to the road is not optimized.
Tire, or wheel, alignment is the sum of the car’s suspension and steering components. Improper alignment in the car’s suspension system can cause the tires to wear improperly. The angle, or toe, of the vehicle could point in or out, which will cause uneven and improper tire wear. An improper tilt of the wheels can also cause serious problems with uneven wear on the tires. You will usually be able to see this wear as one side of the tire will wear unevenly compared to the other side of the same tire.
Checking Your Tires
To avoid improper inflation, Check the pressure in all your tires each month. Don’t forget to check the spare tire too. Your local gas station will have air pumps for filling your tire. Make sure you know how much pressure you should have in the tire by checking the specifications on your car or truck. There should be a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door, or you can check the car’s manual.
Uneven wear on the tire itself will indicate a problem with tire alignment. You’ll be able to see the wear, and you should bring the car to a garage to be checked since that could be a front-end problem.
It’s vital that your tires are checked monthly, before any road trips and before the winter season.