Smooth, even treadwear is critical to getting the most mileage and reliable performance from your tires.
When any part of the tread gets down to 2/32” in depth, your tires are done, no matter how much tread depth you have in other places in the tire footprint.
Fortunately, your tires will tell you when there is a problem if you know what to look for.
Tire treadwear in the center of the tread pattern tells you that the inflation patterns are too high. Too much pressure can cause the contact patch to shrink and the center of the tire to carry the entire load.
Tire treadwear on the edges of a tire will typically indicate inflation pressures are lower than specified. When a tire is under-inflated, the contact patch grows and the load is carried by the outside edges of the patch.
Inner-edge tire treadwear is the most common treadwear problem most technicians see. The angles causing this type of wear are typically negative toe and camber. For parts, there are three component sources of the inner-edge treadwear: bushings, springs and loads.
The indicator of excessive positive or negative toe angle is a tire feathering or scuffing that can be detected by stroking your fingertips across the edge of each tread bar or tread block. A feather edge on the inside of the tread bar indicates excess toe-in, while a feather edge on the outside of the tread bar indicates toe-out. Because toe angle is affected by changes in camber and caster angles, it’s always the last angle to be adjusted during the wheel alignment process. In addition, any change in camber or caster angles will immediately change the toe angle. Toe angle geometry can also be greatly affected by changes in suspension height.
Misalignment is often the culprit if you are seeing uneven or premature wear . . . or experiencing the vehicle pulling to the left or right. Poor alignment can shorten a tire’s life by thousands of miles and compromise very crucial steering and suspension parts. Have your alignment checked, at the very least, with every other oil change or at the first sign of uneven or premature tire wear.
Too much in the trunk is another common issue. Loads in the rear of the vehicle will cause changes to toe, caster and camber in the front (and possibly the rear). The camber and caster will become positive in the front, and if the vehicle has an independent rear suspension, the camber will become negative and it will be toed out. This could lead to outside-edge tire tread wear in the front and inside-edge treadwear in the rear.
Today's tires, such as the Duraturn Mozzo Touring tire pictured to the right, are truly technological marvels that will deliver tens of thousands of hassle-free driving miles . . . if you take care of them!
Please keep an eye on your treadwear and take corrective actions when necessary to gain the most value from your tires.