Tread Matters: Make Sure Your Tires Are Wearing Correctly

tire safety - yokohama

No matter what you drive – pick-up truck, sports car, SUV, hot rod or just your daily driver – it’s going to be on tires. Today’s tires may look simple but they are actually technical marvels, with computer-generated tread designs, construction, and advanced tread compounds. Tires influence everything, including braking, steering, comfort, handling, fuel efficiency, and the overall safety of every vehicle.

Tires hold up under a wide temperature range, cruising over pavement, rocks, dirt, water, snow, mud, gravel, and all sorts of road hazards. However, certain factors such as improper tire pressure and alignment issues can cause even the best tires to suffer uneven tire wear.

Tread matters, and if yours are wearing irregularly, it can affect handling, traction, and even gas mileage. On the Yokohama website, there’s a whole section about checking out your tread. We reached out to Fred Koplin of Yokohama Tire Corporation to find out more about tread wear. Here’s a look at the types and causes of uneven tread wear and what you can do about it.

one-sided-wear low res

One-sided wear: This is when the tread on one shoulder of the tire is wearing faster than the other shoulder. It may be present on both tires on the same axle.

Causes: Misalignment (toe or camber), not rotating tires as recommended or an aggressive driving style.

Misalignment (toe or camber), not rotating tires as recommended or an aggressive driving style.

Solutions:

  1. Correct the alignment condition.
  2. Rotate your tires as recommended by tire maker. Reversing the tire on the wheel may extend tire life (take care with unidirectional or asymmetric tires).
  3. Switch to a moderate driving style.

both shoulder wear

Both shoulder wear: This occurs when the tread on both shoulders of the tire are wearing faster than the tread elements in the center of the tire.

Causes: Improper inflation pressure and not rotating your tires as recommended.

Improper inflation pressure and not rotating your tires as recommended.

Solutions:

  1. Maintain appropriate inflation pressures.
  2. Rotate tires as recommended.

cupping

Cupping: This is when there are local, irregular worn patches around a tire. It may be accompanied by tire noise or vibration.

Causes: Not rotating your tires as recommended. Other reasons

Not rotating your tires as recommended. Other reasons include improper inflation, poor tire/wheel assembly balance or worn suspension parts.

Solutions:

  1. Rotate your tires as recommended.
  2. Maintain proper inflation pressure.
  3. Make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.

rapid wear

Rapid wear: Your tires are worn out sooner than expected, with even wear.

Causes: Aggressive driving style and not rotating tires as recommended. Other contributing factors include: driving on abrasive road surfaces, driving in mountainous/hilly terrain or carrying very high loads. Note: High-performance tires may exhibit this condition more commonly than all-season tires.

Aggressive driving style and not rotating tires as recommended. Other contributing factors include: driving on abrasive road surfaces, driving in mountainous/hilly terrain or carrying very high loads. Note: High-performance tires may exhibit this condition more commonly than all-season tires.

Solutions:

  1. Moderate driving habits and avoid spinouts.
  2. Rotate your tires as recommended.
  3. Choose the right tires with appropriate speed and load rating for your vehicle.

heel-toe wear

Heel-to-toe wear: This is when your tire’s tread elements are taller on the front edge than the back edge. It may be accompanied by tire noise or vibration. Note: Aggressive tread patterns may be more susceptible to this condition.

Causes: Not rotating tires as recommended. Other causes

Not rotating tires as recommended. Other causes include improper inflation and mismatched air pressures on dual-tire assemblies.

Solutions:

  1. Rotate tires as recommended.
  2. Maintain proper inflation pressure.
  3. If not severe, reversing the direction of rotation (for nondirectional tires) may extend tire life.

For more tire care and safety tips, visit Yokohama’s website, and stay tuned for more tire safety tips all week long!

Article Sources

About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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