How to read your tires and avoid problems while driving on the road



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for your vehicle, a tire is as important as any other element of the car. Of course, tire wear won鈥檛 tell you much about the battery or other electronics, but all sorts of suspension problems can be diagnosed simply by looking at how the tires wear.

Your tires can wear in four basic ways. Here we tell you how to read the problems in your tires.

Even tread wear

If there is simply too much tread wear, but the treads wear evenly across the width of the tire, as they should, simply replace the tires. If you can see the tread bars, if you see wire or metal on the tire, it is long overdue for a tire change on your vehicle.

Uneven tread wear

If the treads are wearing unevenly, that may indicate deeper issues with your vehicle. For example, if the treads on only one side of the tire are worn, this may indicate a need to realign the wheels. However, the very need for this realignment can indicate different things, such as worn ball joints or control arm bushings. Worn treads on one side can also indicate sagging springs, so this type of wear means your suspension system needs to be checked by someone competent.

Inner and outer tread wear

Inner and outer tread wear without inner tread wear can be a sign of chronic under-inflation. However, if you鈥檝e been careful to keep your tires properly filled with air using a tire pressure gauge, this type of wear may be a sign of a bent or worn steering component. Your wheels may also need alignment. If you constantly put too much air in your tires, it will wear out the center of the tire.

Other tire wear

Other weird wear patterns include feathering, which means each tread becomes round on one side and sharp on the other. Experts suggest looking for this pattern by hand, as you鈥檒l be able to feel the sharp edges before the condition of your tires is visible. Second rib wear and cupping are other wear patterns that indicate deeper problems, such as improperly sized radials with steel belts and worn or bent suspension parts.

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