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What Causes Uneven Tread Wear on Tires?

Updated: Oct 22, 2018

Ensuring your tires are properly maintained is crucial to the well-being of your on-road vehicle. (Not to mention your own safety and well-being while you are driving it!) When allowed to happen unchecked, uneven tread wear will inevitably lead to time-consuming visits to the mechanic and wallet-thinning repair bills. In extreme cases, uneven wear can even lead to dangerous on-road situations, such as fishtailing or blowouts.

Thankfully, such situations are almost always avoidable -- as long as proper care and attention is given to your tires. Here are a few facts that every driver should know about monitoring tire tread wear and keeping their vehicles in tip-top condition.

Understand Bead Leaks

It should come as no surprise that tire beads are especially susceptible to leakage -- after all, they are in direct contact with the alloy of your wheels. The friction caused by this contact leads to wear and tear, which over time allows small amounts of air to escape.

Here’s the good news: if you can recognize bead leaks and improper tire pressure in time, then you can stop the problem in its tracks. Solutions such as TireJect Automotive Tire Sealant allow you to fix bead leaks and other small problems before they lead to larger issues.

Of course, in order to catch improper tire inflation, you must know its causes and symptoms. So let’s talk about the most common signs of over and under-inflated tires.

How to Recognize Overinflated Tires

Over-inflating your tires is one of the main reasons for uneven tread wear.

When inflating your own tires, it is important to ensure that your tires are not too full. If they are too full, tread wear will occur in the center of the tire, but not around the edges. This is a relatively easy fix. Getting a pressure gauge and releasing some of the pressure will ensure more even tread wear as well as keeping replacement and repair costs down.

Over inflated tire

Even if you do inflate your tires to the perfect pressure, sudden changes in temperature can still wreck havoc on your tires. This is why investing in and closely monitoring a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is also a wise choice.

What About Underinflated Tires?

Underinflated tires also result in uneven tread wear. Unlike overinflated tires, underinflated tires will begin to wear along the edges of the tire faster than the center of the tire. Underinflation can have several different causes -- not least of which is failure to properly inflate from the start!

Under inflated tire
Under inflated tire

Slow leaks in the tire and sudden changes in temperature are also frequent culprits. Regularly checking your tire pressure can help you avoid expensive trips to the mechanic, and finding a good tire sealant doesn’t hurt either.

Watch Out for Improper Tire Alignment!

If your tires are not aligned appropriately, your tires will not make contact with the road properly, which will cause premature and uneven tread wear. All vehicles are different, and your manufacturer will have specific instructions for how your tires should be making contact with the road. It is important to ensure that your tires are aligned to ensure safe steering and driving, and to ensure that your tires are in proper working condition.

Properly inflated tire

Consequences of unmaintained tires or ignoring your TPMS light

Neglecting to maintain your tires can lead to early tire replacement due to uneven tread wear. Uneven or bald tire treads can result in unsafe driving or accidents by hydroplaning, lack of control or traction, and even fuel usage can be affected. To avoid unsafe situations, and to lengthen the life of your tires, monitor your tread wear. Have your service garage check your alignment at regular intervals and pay attention to your TPMS light.

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