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Uneven tire wear - a possible indication of wheel misalignment or worn suspension components
Basic Tire Maintenance

The air filled rubber rings we call tires are some of the most important components of a car, at the end of the day your tires are the only thing on your vehicle which actually touch the road. If they're in bad or unsafe condition it can severely reduce your vehicles performance and safety. It is critical to the safety and efficiency of any vehicle that all the tires are in good condition and properly looked after. Okay safety lecture over. Sorry about that.

When you're inspecting your tires check the tread wear pattern, as the various ways in which the tread gets worn down can tell you more about other maintenance issues which may need to be addressed. It's good practice to regularly check the tires for any cuts, bulges or foreign objects (like nails and metal debris) which may indicate a puncture. It's not just the tread area which should be checked either. The sidewalls are just as important to the tire's integrity and safety.

How to check tire tread depth

Tire tread depth can be checked with a tire tread depth gauge. Depending on where you live in the world there is a finite minimum tread depth for legal use on the road. The tread depth indicator will give you an accurate reading, make sure to take several measurements of each tire at various points. A good way of doing this is to take 3 measurements, one a short way in from the edge of the tread, another in the middle of the tire tread, and the last one also just in form the edge of the tread (but on the other side). Taking three readings across the width of the tire will let you know if the tread is wearing down evenly. If it's not wearing down evenly then you need to read the paragraphs below!

Uneven tread wear
Uneven tire wear, where one side of the tire wears down faster than the other is often a sign of wheel misalignment. This can be corrected with a wheel alignment (tracking) adjustment. Uneven tire wear can also be a sign of worn suspension components which need to be repaired or replaced. Basically what is happening is that the tire is not exactly perpendicular to the road, meaning that one side of it is bearing more weight and undergoing more stress than the other side.

Tire Pressure
Tire pressure can be checked with either an analogue or digital tire pressure gauge. If the pressure is not within the manufacturers specified level then a variety of bad, or annoying things can happen.
Low Pressure - Low tire pressure can result in poor fuel economy and tread wear which is concentrated on the outside edges. This uneven tire wear can also cause heat buildup which can lead to sudden tire failure (a blow out) - which in worst case scenarios could cause and accident.
High Pressure - High tire pressure will cause rapid wearing of the center of a tire's tread. Overinflation can also mean less grip and a harder ride.

See also:
All Tutorials
How To Check Your Oil
How To Identify Vehicle Leaks
Basic Tire Maintenance
Take 10 Years Off Your Car's Appearance
How to Perform a Heel-and-Toe Downshift
Left-Foot Braking
Driving on Snow and Ice
What is Torque?
What is a 'Monocoque'?
What are Superchargers?
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