The tell-tale signs of tyre wear and tear

March 17, 2020

What your tyre wear and tear is telling you about your car

Tyre wear and tear is an inevitable part of car ownership, but did you know that tyre wear patterns can offer tell-tale signs that something is awry in your vehicle?

Tyres are designed with ‘patterns’ on their surface to create traction between the tyre and the road, to prevent skidding, and to ensure safe braking and handling. Normal wear and tear happens over time, but there are some distinct wear patterns that could indicate a mechanical issue. Through regular tyre checks, you can catch many of these signs before they develop into costly – and even dangerous – problems in your car.

Firstly, if your tyres are more than five years old, they should be checked by an expert technician at least once a year, and if your tyres are more than ten years old, they should be replaced immediately. But it’s also important to pay close attention to any abnormal tyre wear at home, and get your car straight to the experts if something’s amiss.

Some common examples include:

Feathered wear

Feathered wear along your tyres’ edges can be a key indicator that your vehicle is in need of a Wheel Alignment – one of the most overlooked, yet important, car servicing procedures.If you notice this pattern developing, it’s time to get your car to an expert technician for a ‘toe-in’ or ‘toe-out’ realignment (and probably a set of new tyres) – pronto. Without it, your tyre grip could be seriously compromised, making your vehicle unsafe, particularly if you need to respond swiftly with braking or changing course on the road.

Regardless of noticing any signs, it’s recommended to have a Wheel Alignment procedure done as part of your ongoing service schedule

Wearing down the centre of the tyre

This can be a sign that you’ve been overinflating your tyres, which can have huge implications for your vehicle’s braking and handling.

A handy tip to ensure you’re not overinflating your tyres is to check the air pressure when the tyre is cold, and then let it deflate slowly to meet your manufacturer’s recommended pressure level (which you’ll find in your owner’s manual).

Check your tyre pressure on a regular basis too, to ensure you’re on top of anything odd such as the pressure dropping quickly in the space of a few days. By catching tyre issues early on, you can avoid expensive problems that could arise later.

Wearing along each outer side of your tyre

This wear pattern can indicate tyre underinflation, which can cause your tyre to flex more, create more heat, and increase the rolling resistance and wear. Your car is also more susceptible to road accidents with underinflated tyres, so it’s a critical one to be aware of.

Once again, regularly checking your tyre pressure will help you maintain a safe inflation level.

Camber wear

‘Camber’ refers to the vertical angle a wheel and tyre make with the road. Wheel misalignment can cause this one-sided wearing pattern on your tyre, either on the inside or outside, depending on which way the wheel is leaning. This can be another clear sign that you need to get a professional Wheel Alignment done, or suffer the consequences including poor acceleration, handling and braking.

 Your tread wear indicator is showing

No matter what the cause, as soon as your tread wear indicator is visible, it’s time to change your tyre. We recommend taking your car to a professional technician who can not only replace the worn tyre, but can check all your tyres, wheel alignment and balance are optimal too.

Spotty or chopped wear

This type of wear is inconsistent across the tyre, and there are a multitude of mechanical problems that could be at play, so if you notice it – get your car to a technician right away. Some causes could include worn-out shocks, worn ball joints in the suspension system, imbalanced tyres, loose wheel bearings, aggressive braking, and much more.

Without a doubt, you’ll feel the difference in your car with good tyre care and maintenance – and that goes for having a smoother, safer ride as well as vehicle longevity.

At Torque Toyota, we love sharing our expert knowledge to help keep our customers safe. Reach out to our friendly team if you have any concerns about your tyres or if you’d like to make a booking.