Interpreting Tyre Wear

Posted on 18 September 2015 by Tony Santos


If you are wise, you will check the wear on your tyres on a regular basis. Doing so will not only keep you safe it will also give you early warning of problems with your car. The way your tyres are wearing can indicate a problem with a specific area of your car.

Most common causes of uneven tyre wear

In nearly all cases of premature tyre wear, the catalyst can be traced to wheel misalignment or a problem in the car’s suspension system. Both circumstances are difficult to detect unless the underlying issue is severe. Here are a few tips to help you to do so

Toe misalignment

There are several patterns of wear. One common pattern is feathering. That is where the treads on one side have a rounded edge while the other side is sharp. Feathering, caused by a toe misalignment, is usually easier to feel with your hand than it is to see.

Toe alignment problems are usually caused by worn inner and outer tie rod ends. Normally, the ends should display little to no indication of play when the steering is adjusted. If you see any “give” in the joints, it means the tie rod ends have worn out. Replacements are necessary.

Camber misalignment

Another pattern is excessive wearing on one side of the tyre. This is caused by a camber misalignment, where the wheel leans too far inward or outward. Extra load is placed on that portion of the tread, causing it to wear.

Spotting suspension issues

You may also see cupping on one side, which usually exposes a problem with your car’s suspension system. In most cases, it can be traced to the struts and shocks, though worn ball joints, springs, and bushings can also cause it.

Wrong tyre pressures

Lastly, premature wear may also occur in the centre of the tyre, or on both sides. The former is caused by too much air pressure (i.e. over inflation) while the latter is caused by too little pressure (i.e. under inflation).

When your tyres are overinflated, their centres bulge. This causes your vehicle to place excess load on the centre of your treads, and minimal load on the shoulders. Thus, the centres wear more quickly than the shoulders.

When your tyres are underinflated, a disproportionate amount of load is placed on the shoulders. This causes the opposite effect of over inflation: the shoulders wear more quickly than the centre. Of the two circumstances, under inflation is more common. This is because air pressure dissipates slowly over time, often without the notice of drivers.

Dealing with the underlying issue

If you notice excessive tread wear, it is important to identify – and resolve – the root cause. Otherwise, a replacement set of tyres will be vulnerable to the same problems. Fortunately, there are plenty of garages and workshops that will quickly confirm what the underlying issue is, and fix it. All you need to do is to use Book My Garage website to find the cheapest servicing and vehicle check deals. You can also make an appointment without needing to ring around several garages.

Categorized | Car News, Car Tips, Featured

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