Basic Tire Maintenance
tire wear - a possible indication of wheel misalignment
or worn suspension components
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
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
Tire pressure can be checked with either an analogue or digital
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.
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