Today on Service Saturday we are going to continue our talk about your tires and what they might be trying to tell you.
The things we can learn from our tires are significant and if we take the time to look at them every once in awhile we might be able to save ourselves some money in the long run. If you missed the first five on our list you can check them out here.
It Looks Like: Feathered tread blocks are shaped like a series of ramps in a directional wear pattern that goes sideways across the tire. The lower edges of the ramps are rounded while the higher edges are sharp. If you can’t tell by looking, run your hands across the tread blocks.
The Diagnosis: Most often, feathering means the car’s toe setting (a measure of the car’s alignment) is off. If the toe setting is correct, a worn or damaged suspension bushing could be causing the car’s alignment to shift as you drive. Check for worn or damaged ball joints and wheel bearings as well.
It Looks Like: One single spot on the tire is more worn down than the rest.
The Diagnosis: Single spots of heavy wear show up on the tires when a car has been in a skid—say, the driver saw a deer on the highway and slammed on the brakes. A car without an antilock braking system is more likely to lock up its tires under heavy braking, which can cause a flat spot.
Also, cars that are parked for extended periods of time risk getting flat spots where the weight of the car has deformed the patch of tire contacting the ground. Unlike flat spots resulting from a skid, these show no additional tread wear—but nonetheless, the tire is misshapen. Although radial tires can have this problem, bias-ply tires are more prone to getting flat spots from sitting too long, especially if the tires are sitting in any kind of corrosive liquid, such as gasoline or antifreeze.
It Looks Like: Feathering, only the ramps run front-to-back along the tire rather than side-to-side. The leading edge of the tread blocks will be worn smooth while the trailing edge will be sharp.
The Diagnosis: “[It’s] definitely one of the most common conditions we see,” Rogers says. “Because it’s so common, a lot of people think it’s normal.” Heel-toe wear is typically a symptom of insufficient tire rotation intervals. So check your car’s maintenance schedule and make sure you keep up. Misalignment or worn or damaged suspension bushings, ball joints, and wheel bearings can also cause heel-toe wear.
It Looks Like: One side of your tires wears down faster than the other.
The Diagnosis: The car’s camber setting is likely off, causing the tire to lean too far to one side. Take the car for an alignment adjustment. Worn or damaged springs, ball joints, and suspension bushings can also cause single-side wear as could carrying heavy loads frequently, incorrect toe setting, and insufficient tire-rotation intervals. Some performance cars leave the factory with enough camber to induce single-side wear, but that’s rare.
They Look Like: Ridges between the tread blocks. They sit tucked away between the treads where they can’t contact the road.
The Diagnosis: When the tread wears down to the point that it is flush with the indicators, the tire has reached the end of its life. But depending upon the driving conditions you usually encounter, you may not want to wait for the indicators to become flush with the tread.
The tread depth of a typical tire is 11/32 inch, and those channels are there to funnel out water and prevent hydroplaning. The tread-wear indicators are 2/32 inch high, but Rogers recommends no less than 5/32 to 6/32 inch of tread for snow and 4/32 inch of tread for rain or sleet. Wet-weather performance declines significantly after 4/32 inch, so replace the tire before its indicators become flush with the tread block.
If you are not sure about something that is going on with your tires being them to Buckeye Honda and let us take a look at them.