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COMMON CAUSES FOR EXCESSIVE OR UNEVEN TIRE WEAR
Most people don’t usually think about their car or truck’s tire wear till it is too late. Like when they are on the side of the road dealing with a flat.
Regular service and maintenance is key to maximizing the life and longevity of your automobile’s tires.
Riding on properly maintained tires not only drastically reduces your chances of experiencing any flat or blown-out tires; It also helps ensure optimum fuel efficiency, traction and safety while driving.
Excessive or uneven tire wear is a clear indication your vehicle needs some sort of auto maintenance or repair. Ignoring uneven tire wear will end up costing more. This is because you will need not only the repair for whatever is causing the problem, but also very likely, new tires as well. Suspension related problems requiring maintenance are the most common culprits that cause excessive and uneven tire wear.
The location and severity of accelerated tire wear helps to determine the underlying cause. It also serves as a red flag for any potential damage being done to your automobile’s suspension system.
How Long Does Tire Tread Last?
According to Edmunds, the average driver puts between 12,000 and 15,000 miles on their vehicle’s tires annually. At that rate, most standard tire models will provide roughly three to four years of tread life. Of course this estimate is based on normal operating conditions. Keep in mind, if you are on the road more than the average motorist, drive aggressively, or operate your vehicle on unpaved roads you will accumulate tire wear at a faster rate.
Furthermore, if your vehicle’s tires are regularly exposed to harsh, tire-aging elements such as heat, sun, moisture or cold, they will also need to be replaced before the end of their projected life expectancy. Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing any tires older than six years, regardless of tire wear, or lack thereof.
Some tire models can last up to ten years. However, they usually do require a yearly tire inspection following the fifth year of their manufacture date. To find the manufacture date of your tires, locate the four-digit “POV” number located on the sidewall of the tire near its model number.
For all tires produced after the year 2000, the first two numbers indicate the week of the year the tire was produced. The second two numbers specify the year. Tires built before the year 2000 utilize a three-digit number POV number with the first two numbers specifying the week number, while the final number indicates the last number of the year. Tracking down the exact decade on a three-digit POV number can be quite tricky, especially on classic cars with much older tires.
Common Causes of Uneven or Excessive Tire Wear
Improper Inflation Pressure is One of the Most Common Causes of Excessive Tire Wear
Improperly inflated tires are the most common culprit behind most cases of uneven or excessive tire wear. Under inflation will lead your vehicle’s tires to wear excessively either on their inner or outer edges, decreasing their overall lifespan.
Conversely, if your car or truck’s tires have too much air they will wear disproportionately toward their center. You can find your automobile manufacturer recommended tire pressure levels typically indicated on a sticker found when opening the driver’s side door. Or, you can also find these specs in the owner’s manual. The auto experts at Carolina Auto Service recommend checking the air pressure on your vehicle’s tires at least once a month.
Bad Wheel Alignment
A car or truck with misaligned wheels will experience uneven, premature tire wear along either its inner or outer edges. A vehicle with bad wheel alignment will typically veer either to its left or to its right when attempting to drive straight. Of course this creates a potential safety hazard for the driver as well as other nearby motorists on the road.
Other negative effects of misaligned wheels include:
- Squeaking or squealing tires
- Decreased fuel efficiency
- Shaking or vibration when steering
- Increased strain on suspension system components
The issues in the list above will very likely lead to unnecessary/costly repairs if left without diagnosis/repair. If you are in Winston Salem and your vehicle is experiencing any of the above faulty wheel alignment symptoms, come see us!
Lack of Tire Rotation at Regular Intervals Almost Always Causes Uneven Tire Wear
Tires that haven’t been rotated regularly are a likely cause for premature or uneven tire wear. Tires that haven’t been rotated regularly typically leave patchy areas of excessive wear throughout their surface. This diminishes your tire’s overall lifespan as well as making them more susceptible to blowouts or flats while driving. Most automotive experts recommend rotating your tires every 3000 to 5000-miles, or with every oil change.
Suspension System Service & Repair
If you notice a rumbling/buzzing sound being emitting from any of your tires, or notice indentations or “cupping” on their surface, chances are one or more of its suspension system components require repair or replacement. Continuing to operate a vehicle with a suspension system damage can further exacerbate the problem leading to more costly repairs down the road. Therefore, you should bring your car or truck into an auto repair center like Carolina Auto Service as soon as possible.
Failing or Bad Tie Rods
A loose or worn out tie rod can cause your car or truck’s wheels to fall out of alignment. Which results in uneven, excessive tire wear. A tie rod is the metal component that connects your automobile’s wheels to the steering column.
Indications that it is time to repair or replace one or more of your vehicle’s tie rods include:
- Difficult steering
- Poor wheel alignment
- Accelerated wear on the inner edges
You have a lot riding on your tires. That’s why it’s imperative to remain vigilant in inspecting and servicing your car or truck’s tires. Keeping your tires in proper working order is essential to maximizing the performance, longevity and value of your automobile, along with keeping you safe on the road.
Experiencing excessive or uneven tire wear in or near Winston Salem, NC?
Contact us today or stop in to set up an appointment. Our ASE-Certified mechanics know tire wear causes and solutions.