As tires are used, it is normal for the tread to gradually become shallower and overall tire performance to change.
In addition, irregular tread wear may occur for a variety of reasons that may lead you to have to replace a tire sooner rather than later. Regularly checking the tread depth and wear condition of each tire on your vehicle will not only let you know when it is time to replace a tire, it can also help you detect other needed maintenance and get the most value out of your vehicle and tires.
Too little tire tread can create unsafe driving conditions. When tires can’t grip the road, a driver may lose control of his or her vehicle.
What causes early tire wear or irregular tire wear?
Just as vehicles, drivers, and driving habits are different from each other, not all tires are the same and they can wear at very different rates. For instance, high performance tires for sports cars wear more quickly than touring tires for a family sedan.
However, a variety of factors can cause a tire to wear out sooner than expected, and/or cause it to wear irregularly and create noise or vibration. Two common causes of early tire wear out and irregular tire wear are improper inflation pressure and out-of-spec alignment conditions.
Improper inflation pressure
When a tire is improperly inflated, there’s a good chance it will start to wear more rapidly and/or unevenly. Not only do vehicle manufacturers specify the inflation pressures for the front and rear tires to optimize performance for ride comfort, handling and fuel economy, they also take into consideration tire wear.
Proper inflation pressure helps optimize distribution of vehicle load, acceleration, braking, and cornering forces in the tread.
If the tire pressure is too low, or even too high, the contact patch of the tire tread is not optimized to handle the wide variety of jobs it is asked to do. Thus, different parts of the tread may be abraded away more quickly and/or irregularly.
Check the pressure in all of your tires, including the spare, every month.
Also check it before going on a long trip or when you plan to carry extra load. You can find the vehicle manufacturer’s tire pressure specifications on a placard/label affixed to the driver’s door or along the door jam. You can also check your vehicle owner’s manual for tire pressure recommendations.