There are many factors that can cause tire wear, such as your driving style and tire maintenance habits. Tire replacement is absolutely needed when the tread wear indicators appear. A tire’s built-in tread wear indicators look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and become visible as the tire surface wears. Also, check for the signs of tire wear listed below.
Excessive wear on the inner or outer edge of the tire, commonly known as toe wear, suggests a wheel alignment issue. This typically produces a feathered wear pattern across both front tires.
Uneven wear on one side of a tire tread may occur when the tire is leaning due to camber misalignment.
Center wear occurs when a tire is overinflated, resulting in the center of the tire wearing more quickly than the edges.
Cupping wear occurs when a suspension/balance may be worn, bent, or somehow compromised. You’ll notice a diagonal scalloping pattern on the tire.
Edge wear occurs when a tire is underinflated, resulting in the edge of the tire wearing more quickly than the center.
A quick and easy way to check your tire wear is with a tread depth gauge. It measures tire tread depth from 0 to 19/32 inch. These tools come in either digital or mechanical versions.
The easiest way to check wear on your tire is with a penny. Place a penny upside down in between the tire tread as shown on the right. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the treads are worn and tire replacement is needed.
Tread wear indicators appear when the tires only have 2/32 inch or less of tread remaining. Rubber in tires ages over time. This also applies to the spare tire (if available), even if it is never used. Multiple factors including temperatures, loading conditions, and inflation pressure maintenance affect how fast tires age.
Other warning signs that your vehicle will need tire replacement:
• You can see three or more tread wear indicators around the tire
• The tire cord or fabric is showing through the rubber
• The tire tread or sidewall is cracked, cut, or snagged deep enough to show
cord or fabric
• The tire has a bulge or split
• The tire has a puncture, cut, or other damage that can’t be repaired correctly
Tires age when stored normally mounted on a parked vehicle. Park a vehicle that will be stored for at least a month in a cool, dry, clean area away from direct sunlight to slow aging. The area should be free of grease, gasoline, or other substances that can deteriorate rubber. This also applies to unmounted tires.
Parking for an extended period can cause flat spots on the tires that may result in vibrations while driving. When storing a vehicle for more than a month, remove the tires or raise the vehicle to reduce the weight from the tires.