Uneven Tire Wear and What It Means For You

March 13th, 2020 by

A snow tire is turned out from a gray vehicle.

It’s always a good idea to do regular checkups on your vehicles, no matter what season of the year it is. Instead of reacting to problems as they occur, you can check your vehicle over and prevent future issues before they arise. One key area of importance to check on a regular basis is the wear on your tires. Cincinnati residents and those in surrounding areas should make sure their tires are wearing evenly, especially as we come out of the winter season and prepare for a lot of rainy spring weather. If your tires aren’t wearing evenly, we can tell you about a few different reasons as to why that may be.

At McCluskey Chevy in Cincinnati, OH, we offer a large selection of new and used vehicles, but we also provide plenty of services for your car or truck, including tire balance, tire rotation, filter replacement, oil changes and much more. While we want to make sure you’re able to find your next perfect vehicle, we also want to make sure it’s taken care of with quality repair and maintenance on a frequent basis. We recommend checking what you can yourself as often as makes sense and then coming to the professionals for proper servicing.

To learn more about tire wear and proper tire care, check out what we have to say below.

The Importance of Tires

It’s no surprise that tires play an integral role in the function and, especially, mobility of your vehicle. However, their importance can sometimes be forgotten when we worry about the hundreds of other parts and pieces that require our attention or care at the same time. Quite often, the tires become the forgotten heroes of our cars, protecting the rest of the vehicle from the harsh friction that’s produced from constant contact with the pavement. And it’s this friction that will eventually wear down even the most durable of tires out there.

To better understand how your tires work, it’s best to first understand some of the different specifications you’ll find on your average tire and what that means for you. Not every tire will be the same or rated for the same thing. You may have all-season tires, snow tires, performance tires, or any other variety of tire. As their names usually indicate, they’re meant to be used during specific times of the year or for specific reasons. Of course, an all-season tire would be a good option for any season of the year, while a snow tire is meant for the winter months. However, if you were to use winter tires in warmer weather, then you would most likely experience the tires wearing out much faster because of the heat. Not too mention, you could definitely have traction and handling issues when using winter tires in warm and dry weather.

Some tires, though, will function better for a specific purpose and yet still be just fine for daily driving. Take all-terrain tires, for example. They’re meant to be used for off-roading on rugged terrain, but they’ll also drive comfortably on the highway.

For any type of tire, just make sure it’s filled to the proper specification, as stated in the driver’s side door jam of your vehicle. Many passenger vehicles will have tire pressure ratings between 30-35. The inflation number found on the tire itself is actually the maximum inflation pressure the tire can handle, which is not what you want it filled to.

The Signs of Uneven Wear

A closeup of a worn tire, Cincinnati drivers need to watch out of tire wearing.

The simplest way to check your tire tread depth is by doing the “penny test,” which involves sticking an upside-down penny in between the treads of your tires. If the treads aren’t blocking any of Lincoln’s head, then you probably need new tires because the tread is so shallow. If some of Lincoln’s head is being covered, then you’re most likely fine for the time being.

Along with checking your tread depth, it’s also important to check how the tires are wearing. If they’re wearing unevenly, that means your tires won’t last as long as they could, but there may actually be more serious problems on the horizon as well.

Wheel Alignment Issue

If your tires are wearing mainly on the inner or outer parts of the tire, then there might be an issue with the wheel alignment of your vehicle. It’s best to see what a trusted mechanic would say in this situation after they check it out.

Over- or Under-inflated Tires

If your tires are wearing heavily along the center of the tread pattern, then your issue is most likely over-inflated tires. The extra air is causing the center mass of the tires to slightly bulge, which means this part of the tire is coming into contact with the road more.

If the tires are wearing more on the edges of the tread pattern, then your issue is most likely the opposite of over-inflation, which would be under-inflation. Without enough air, the entire tread pattern isn’t making even contact with the road, and the edges are left feeling the brunt of the vehicle’s load.

Suspension Issue

A closeup of a snowy tire is shown on a white vehicle in Cincinnati.

Diagonal strips of wear along the tire, sometimes called “cupping,” may suggest an issue with your suspension. This would make sense as the wheel is seemingly bouncing up and down, and only certain parts are coming into contact with the road. This is an issue that requires immediate attention from a mechanic.

Tire Rotation

If the wear on your tires seems a bit patchy, then it could mean you just need a simple tire spin and rotation procedure implemented. It’s a common task that should be done frequently, with a typical estimate being every 5,000 miles. Your vehicle and tires may have different estimates, so you should always look throw the specifications found in your owner’s manual first.

Safety First

Just like with any major car component, taking care of your tires will minimize the risk of any related major vehicle issues popping up later down the road. Proper care and maintenance of your vehicle should be an essential part of any vehicle owner’s life, especially if you want to save yourself time and money in the long run. It’s also one of the best ways to make sure you’re safe while out driving. Knowing about issues beforehand means you’ll rarely have to deal with sudden instances of mechanical failure and the stress of unforeseen consequences.

At McCluskey Chevy, we recommend following the maintenance schedule as outlined by your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you proceed with the prescribed intervals set up in your owner’s manual, you’ll find that you’ll have a lot more peace of mind when thinking whether or not your vehicle is in the best condition to be out on the road or not. Our Service Department can work on those routine services every vehicle needs, and they’ll also make sure to use only the highest quality parts available. If we don’t have the necessary parts ourselves, we’ll use our extensive resources within the automotive industry to get what you need ordered right away. To schedule your next service with one of our professional and certified vehicle technicians, give us a call or schedule on our website today.