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Signs of Tire Wear

Poor tire maintenance can lead to premature tire wear, tire blowout or a flat tire. Factors other than tires themselves also can affect tire wear. Worn suspension parts and the vehicle’s alignment both play a direct role in tire wear and performance.

By following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, you save money on repairing and replacing prematurely worn parts. You also may save money on fuel consumption because your car will be running properly.

Tire Problems to Look For During a Visual Inspection

Over inflation: Too much air pressure causes only the tire’s middle section to touch the road. This creates wear primarily in the center of the tire, and not the tire’s edges.

Under inflation: Too little air pressure causes the tire’s sides to sag and the middle section pulls up from the road. This creates wear primarily on both edges of the tire, but not in the center.

Tread wear on one edge of the tire: This typically occurs when the wheels are out of alignment.

Erratic tread wear: This is often called cupping, and may mean the wheel is out of balance, or that the shock absorbers or ball joints need to be replaced.

Raised portion of the tread: This may indicate that a radial belt inside the tire has separated.

Tire Problems to Look for While Driving

  • Unusual vibration or thumping noise: Vibration or thumping noises can indicate a separated radial belt or badly chopped tire.
  • A pull to one side: While driving at a steady speed, pulling to one side may indicate that tires on one side of the vehicle do not have equal air pressure with the tires on the other side of the vehicle. If this is not the case, then pulling to one side may be caused by a separated radial belt, or the need for a wheel alignment.