Police procedurals on television have taught us that small clues can lead to big conclusions. That is the case when reading the wear patterns on aging tires. The way the rubber deteriorates and distorts the surface of a tire can tell us how the car is driven, which components may be out of alignment, and what needs to be done to restore driving performance. Reading your tires and knowing the warning signs can prolong your vehicle's health and longevity as well as improve fuel mileage and save money down the road.
Over-inflation will cause the center of the tire to bulge out. In this case, only a fraction of the rubber is in contact with the asphalt. Proper inflation pressure optimizes the distribution of vehicle load, acceleration, and braking.
Under-inflated tires cause the sidewalls to collapse, since the air pressure is insufficient to hold the weight of the vehicle. Under-inflated tires reduce your fuel efficiency and create excessive heat build-up that not only increases the rate of wear on a tire but can cause it to blow out entirely.
The cupping surfaces often reveal underlying suspension issues. They are a direct result of suspension components' (shock and strut) deterioration, as the vehicle loses its ability to absorb bumps, causing the tire to bounce more aggressively, and comes down harder on some spots of the tire than others. Severe cupping requires the tires and deteriorating shocks or struts to be replaced.
When your vehicle's suspension system is out of alignment, it might lead to uneven wearing of tires. Non-alignment of wheels can cause the vehicle to pull right or left, reducing control and handling. Aligned wheels are much safer to drive on. They make the tires last longer and save money.
"Saw-tooth" refers to the partial wear of individual tread blocks in the direction of tire rotation instead of across the tread. Heel and toe wear happens when one side of the tread block wears down more quickly than the other in a circumferential manner. Heel-toe wear is typically a symptom of insufficient tire rotation intervals. It can also be caused by misalignment, worn or damaged suspension bushings, ball joints, and wheel bearings.
The tire is undamaged, but air is still escaping it. It is probably due to a leak between the tire and the rim. Any sealing surface between rubber and metal can cause loss of air. The age of the tire, bead chunking (the area where the rubber meets the metal of the rim), a small piece of debris between the rim and the tire, and corrosion contribute to the seal breaking and open a small window for the air to escape.
Driving with a slow leak in your tire is potentially dangerous, because it can cause a flat tire. Consequently, a flat tire can become a blowout hazard, which can cause you to lose control of the vehicle, putting yourself and others at risk for a car accident. If you notice that your tires are not holding air, it is best to get them looked at by a mechanic, so he can diagnose the problem and repair the leak.
At Right Way Auto Repair, we offer a variety of tire services: from checking your tires' tread depth to repairing and/or replacing your tires. Please contact us online or call us at (905) 381-9285.