Tires of any vehicle are components most vulnerable to damage, as they come in direct contact with the road. The most unwelcome and bothersome condition is when the wear is uneven, as it causes a lot of problems while driving. Following are some of the reasons uneven tire wear occurs and some tips to ensure tire safety.
Tire Inflation (Hard Cornering)
Check the tires for inflation. It is over-inflated if the tread is deeper on the edges than in the middle. Similarly, if the tread is deeper in the middle, the tire is under-inflated. These are some of the common tread wear patterns which must be investigated from time to time.
If not inflated to the recommended pressure, tires are more susceptible to uneven wearing as the tread flexion increases with every rotation. In both the conditions, uneven wear worsens with prolonged use.
Rotation of Tire
Check for raised bumps on the tire surface. If it is not rotating well during the motion of your vehicle, the tire is bound to get uneven surfaces and scallops which cause uneven wear.
One can check this by placing a penny with Lincoln's head upside down between the treads. The tire is fine if you are unable to see the top of the head, else it needs an immediate replacement.
Improper tire alignment is one of the tangible causes for uneven wear. Ideally, the inner rod sockets on rack-and-pinion steering gears are enclosed in bellows. If these bellows are made out of rubber, this condition can be checked by squeezing them.
Over a period of time, rod ends of the steering linkage of your front wheel bend or wear out. This kind of misplacement is also called toe misalignment. Such conditions can worsen further by sagging springs and bent suspension parts.
Cupping (Worn Shocks)
Shock absorbers and struts dampen the vibrations caused due to bumpy or uneven road conditions. But, if these components wear out due to fluid leaks or some damage, uneven tire wear is caused. More signs like loss of tire contact with road, excessive bouncing, weakened braking ability, and sudden increase in vibration, are all signs of tire wear.
One of the reasons for unequal wearing of tires can also be worn-out or damaged components. These may include broken mountings, worn ball joints, bent rods, cracked rubber mounting bushings, physical contact with exhaust pipes, and fluid leakage.
This is one of the major causes for an uneven wearing of tires. Teenagers with high adrenaline surges drive rashly, causing the tires to tread over rough and uneven surfaces. So, drive at a moderate speed and safely!
How to Fix
Fixing an unevenly worn tire is an essential task after identifying these given causes. Regular maintenance of the vehicle is mandatory to keep it in good condition. Here are some tips for tire safety and maintenance to check for worn-out tires and fix them in time.
► Check the tire pressure regularly as listed in the manufacturer's specifications. This activity can be done once a month; especially when there is a change in weather conditions.
► Check for tread wear of tire. If outer tread has worn out more than the inner tread, it is a strong indication of alignment problems. Inner tire wear can be inspected by lifting the vehicle on one corner with a jack. The front tires are more susceptible to uneven wear and tear, and hence, make sure to get them checked regularly.
► Check for smooth rotation of the tire. One can use tread depth gauge to check for this problem. Place the gauge inside the groove of tread across the tire and take a few readings along the circumference. Less than 1/8th of an inch in tread will indicate the worst form of uneven tire wear.
► Any slipped or faulty belt in a part of the tire can be spotted by checking if the tire is bouncing excessively on road. Broken belt, poor suspension components, worn-out steering components, and improper toe and camber alignment can be easily identified by a thumping noise when rotating the wheel.
Replacing these components or oiling them from time to time can reduce the need for frequent tire replacement.
With the given checkpoints, one can easily identify damaged tires and fix them on time. Nowadays, vehicles are equipped with tread wear indicators which help in determining when to replace the tires.
Vehicles too need care and maintenance for a hassle-free and long life. Uneven tire wear can, if ignored, compromise your safety. Driving safety should be the first thought on your mind when you ride in your vehicle. So, keep checking intermittently for any uneven wear and tear on your vehicle tires, or you might end up paying a lot for replacing them.