How to Tell When Your Tires Are Worn Out
Tires are an essential part of your car because they make contact with the road and provide traction. When tire wear occurs, you need to determine whether or not it’s time for a tire change before it leads to tire failure, compromising your safety and the safety of others. A tire is easy to replace but extremely hard to repair, so don’t put off tire maintenance even if only one tire has a problem.
Identifying Worn Tires
If you notice that your tires become flat quickly or that it takes longer than usual for your tires to regain their shape after being pressed down on by something, this may mean that your tire pressure is low and needs to be refilled. This kind of tire wear could also result from overloading your car, which can cause damage by adding too much weight onto one side of the axle. Also, tire pressure will gradually decrease over time, so it is necessary to check tire pressure frequently.
If you notice that your tire treads are wearing unevenly, this could mean that your tire’s camber angle needs to be adjusted. A tire’s camber angle refers to how far it leans inward or outward from its vertical axis. This kind of tire wear can also occur if one side of your car is being dragged down by something on the ground, resulting in extreme weight on one tire. If this problem persists, you may need to bring your car into a tire shop like Good Tire for further inspection.
Frequent vibration or bouncing of your whole vehicle when driving is an indication that your suspension system has broken down and needs replacement. This tire wear can also occur if you have just gotten new tires put on your car and are not appropriately balanced. A tire shop may balance the tires, but this kind of tire wear is often a sign that they will need to be replaced soon.
Having difficulty steering your car or hearing grinding noises when turning are signs that tire alignment is necessary. Tire treads are designed to help your tire track evenly along the road, which allows it to move forward smoothly without bouncing around or moving in an irregular direction. If tire alignment has broken down, the tire treads become misaligned, which causes them to skid rather than roll according to their intended motion.
A popping noise every time you hit the brakes means that one or more of your tire rod ends may have worn out. Tire rods are the small metal pieces on either side of your tire that enable it to pivot when you turn while allowing it to expand and contract with tire changes in temperature and air pressure. If tire rod ends have worn down, they will need to be replaced immediately, or a severe accident may occur.
Have you checked the tire treads lately? According to tirerack.com, tire tread should be between 10/32nds and 11/32nds of an inch from the rim for optimal performance. This kind of tire wear can also result from bad weather conditions such as ice, sleet, or snow, which only exacerbate the problem promptly.
Signs of Worn Tires
Have a friend step on each tire from low from the tire while standing next to the car. If there is uneven tire wear, this is known as “tire cupping.” The tires should have even wear patterns, though some front tires show wear in lower placards while others wear along the top edges. This is normal and can not be avoided.
Bubbles are tire deformities that appear due to excess heat. They are usually off-center but can be caused by not correctly inflating tire air pressure.
Check your tires for uneven tread wear patterns or one tire wearing out more than the others. If you see any abnormal wear patterns on your tire, it’s time for a replacement. Keep in mind that front tires tend to show lower wear signs than rear ones because they carry less weight and stress. However, some slight differences in tread depth between the front and rear tire are average.
If you notice your tire slips or slides when applying the brakes, it is too late for tire rotation, and tire replacement is needed. If only one tire slips, most likely it’s due to uneven tire wear such as cupping. But if two tires slip at the same time, most likely they both need to be replaced. A little bit of tire wear is okay and does not put you into an immediate tire replacement risk zone; however, severe tire cupping causes loss of traction and thus must be replaced immediately.
Tire Track Cracking
Have a look at the treads on your tires: if they show cracks along the tracks, it may indicate damage caused by tire overloading. If the tire is overloaded, it can crack or even blow up. This is a sure-fire sign that it’s time for a tire change.
Tire Tread Wear
Tires that are worn out have much shallower grooves in the tracks; thus, they produce noise and vibration when you drive on them. Low tire pressure also causes tire track cracking to happen much faster. That means having low tire pressure will only damage your tire further, so make sure to always check your tire pressure before driving off.
Uneven tire wear indicates either an improper suspension alignment or broken control arm bushings. However, if both front tires show uneven wear, this may be due to a bad power steering pump belt tensioner pulley. When these tire components are worn out, tire vibration occurs.
Did your tire produce a muffled or knocking sound when you drive on them? If so, then your tire may have broken belts. They cause tire noise and vibration as well as irregular wear patterns. Other warning signs of tire wear include:
- Changing door mirror glass.
- Thumping sounds from the treads.
- Tire sidewall damage such as scrape lines.
Keeping your tires in peak condition is critical to the performance and safety of your vehicle. Keep an eye on the condition of your tires, and when you notice signs of significant wear, it’s time to head to the shop for a tire change.