Every driver knows that safe and well-maintained tyres are critically important for health and safety. The number of accidents caused every year simply due to poor tyre quality being both alarming and tragic. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that far too few motorists invest the necessary time, effort and focus in the appropriate maintenance of their tyres.
Of course, the first and most important rule of tyre safety is to ensure you follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer precisely. Which will include ideal tyre pressures for both summer and winter driving alike. Outside this, it’s simply a case of keeping an eye on the physical condition and maintenance of your tyres on an on-going basis.
The simple fact of the matter is that tyre-wear cannot be avoided and is therefore going to happen over time. Nevertheless, there are certain specific tyre-wear patterns that could suggest something isn’t quite right. Which along with reducing the life of your tyres by causing excessive damage could also prove to be a severe safety risk.
If your tyres are not wearing away evenly and consistently, you may want to acknowledge and address the issue at the earliest possible juncture.
One-sided tyre wear
For example, if any of your tyres seem to be wearing away on one side only, this could mean that your wheels are misaligned. This is usually something that can be corrected relatively easily by a mechanic, though may in some instances indicate a more severe mechanical issue. In either case, misaligned wheels not only cause excessive tyre damage, but can also have a detrimental effect on the way the car handles. Which, for obvious reasons, can be extremely dangerous.
Centre tyre wear
If there appears to be an excessive amount of wear right down the centre of one or more tyres, this is more often than not caused by excessive inflation. The problem being that over-inflated tyres have the potential to be even more dangerous than misaligned wheels. Along with wearing out considerably faster, the actual ‘handprint’ of the tyre that comes into contact with the road may be reduced significantly. Which means that whether accelerating, breaking, steering or just driving in a straight line, you may have significantly reduced traction. What’s more, over-inflated tyres also increase the likelihood of blowouts while driving.
Two-sided tyre wear
By contrast, if the wear seems to be confined exclusively to both sides of the tyres, this suggests that they are under-inflated. While under inflation at minor level isn’t particularly dangerous, it nonetheless shortens the tyre’s respective life cycle and can also lead to fuel bills increasing by as much as 15 per cent. This is due to the fact that your engine must work more intensively to get the job done.
Diagonal tyre wear
Last but not least, if the wear on your tyres appears to be diagonal, it suggests that the wheels in question may be toed-out or toed-in. Which basically means that the wheels are not pointing perfectly straight and aligned as they should be. It could also be that you are simply overloading your vehicle with cargo, which can also result in diagonal wear.
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