Tyre Tread Wear - Causes and Remedies to Increase Tyre Life - TyreCafe
By Editor News ( Apr 10, 2019 )
Tyre wear is something that happens to every tyre eventually. After using a tyre for a certain period of time, it starts to wear out and calls for replacement. The wear and tear in different tyres are different depending upon the cause of wear. It is important to notice the early signs of Tyre Tread Wear as it will help prevent shortening of tyre life and will also indicate if any part of the vehicle needs to get serviced.
What is Tyre Tread Wear?
The tread of a tyre is very important for a good grip on the road. It becomes even more important while driving on a wet or a snowy surface. A tyre becomes unsafe if the tread depth goes down below 3mm. The minimum legal tread depth of a tyre is 1.6mm. The shallower the tread becomes, the more traction the car or the bike loses, which in turn leads to loss of grip. To check whether your tyre is wearing out, you can conduct a simple test. It is called ‘the coin test.’ You can perform one rupee test to check the depth of tread. Just take a coin and insert it in each groove and see how deep it goes. It should measure at least 2-3 mm.
Causes of Tyre Tread Wear
Incorrect Tyre Pressure
If your tyre is underinflated or overinflated it has a chance to wear more rapidly and evenly. If the inflation in all your tyres is proper, the chances of uneven tyre wear are reduced. If the pressure of your tyre is too low or too high, the contact patch of the tread is not properly optimized, which in turn leads to the wear and tear of different parts of the tread quickly and irregularly. Too high or too low pressures are major uneven tyre wear causes.
Incorrect Wheel Alignment
The alignment of the tyre or wheel is actually not the adjustment of the tyre or wheel. It is the adjustment of the steering and suspension components, that are responsible for the motion of the tyre. If your tyres are not aligned properly, then it leads to early and uneven tread wear. If you notice your front tyres wearing on the outside edge, then it is a result of a failing ball joint.
After understanding the tyre tread wear meaning and causes, let’s look at the different tyre wear patterns.
Types of Tyre Wear and Tyre Wear Patterns
Now that we know that tyre wear can happen due to various factors, here is a list of different patterns of tread wear or different types of tyre wear and their causes:
Shoulder wear in a tyre happens mainly due to under-inflation. In this, the tyre will have thin smooth strips of both the sides of the tyre and normal-looking tread on the centre. These thin strips of wear indicate that the tread has become shallow from both the sides due to under inflation. During under inflation, the outer treads have much more contact with the road than the centre tread, which makes your car tyre wearing on the outer edge. Wear and tear on the tyre shoulder can also happen due to lack of proper wheel alignment.
As the name suggests, centre wear in a tyre is seen when a tyre has wear and tear in the centre and normal-looking sides. It is mainly caused due to over-inflation. When a tyre is overinflated, it bulges out more in the centre as compared to the sides. This means that the inner tread has much more contact with the surface than the outer treads, which in turn leads to centre wear.
When a tyre starts to wear out only at one side then it is called as camber wear. Camber is the tilting angle of the wheel when viewed from the front. When the wheel is tilted outward, the camber is positive. Similarly, when the wheel tilts inward at the top, the camber is negative. It is important to adjust the camber as unaligned camber causes wear on one side of the tyre. If the camber is positive, it will put too much load on the tyre and cause wear on outside of the tyre, while negative camber will cause the rear tyre to wear on the inside edge of the tyre.
The measurement of the amount wheels turned in or out from a straight-ahead position of a car is called toe. Toe is measured by looking at the car from above. If the alignment of the wheels is inwards, the toe is positive. Similarly, if the alignment of the wheels is outwards, the toe is negative.
A little amount of toe is acceptable. It increases when the wheels are out of alignment and becomes a problem when the tyres start wearing out because of it. Toe wear is generally seen on the inside shoulder of the tyre. To avoid toe wear in a tyre it is important to have your tyres aligned properly.
While cornering at high speeds, the road rubs against the tyres, which results in feathered wear. This type of tyre wear can be seen clearly and felt as well. One can easily feel feathering by touching the tyre as the tread blocks become rounded on one side and sharp on another. The amount of feathering increases if the toe of your tyre is too in or too out. This can be fixed with proper wheel alignment.
Cupped wear in a tyre happens when the vehicle moves in up and down motion repeatedly. If the shock absorbers of a tyre are worn out or any suspension part is worn out, then it causes the tyre to hit the road hard as it hops or bounces. This type of wear can be seen as a few pieces of rubber missing from the surface of the tyre. To avoid such a situation, it is important to replace all the worn out suspension parts and get the wheels properly balanced.
Flat Spot Wear
This type of wear and tear happens when a certain spot on a tyre has been damaged due to excessive friction. Braking hard can scrub away the part of the tyre that has contact with the road at that moment. The absence of the Anti-Lock Braking System in a car locks the tyres under heavy braking, which causes a flat spot.
A flat spot can also be seen in a car that has been kept parked for a long period of time. The weight of the car is capable of deforming the patch of tyre contacting the surface.
These were the different tyre wear patterns and causes.
Tyre Tread Wear Rating Chart
Tyre tyre tread wear rating is the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) rating, which can be seen as a number on the sidewall of the tyre that determines the expected life of the tyre. The higher the UTQG treadwear rating, the more will be the tyre life. According to the tyre tread wear rating chart, if a tyre has 600 treadwear rating, then it is twice as good as a tyre with 300 treadwear rating. A tyre tread wear rating list is a chart that contains tyre wear ratings of various types. Below given is an example of tyre tread wear rating chart.
How to increase the Tyre Life of your vehicle?
Here are three simple steps that you can follow to reduce your car tyre wear and tear and increase their life:
Check the Tyre Pressure
One of the most important factors that affect the tyre’s life is its pressure. Properly inflated tyres give good handling, fuel economy and ride comfort. Over-Inflated tyre wear or under-inflated tyre wear takes away the life of the tyres rapidly. It is important to check your tyre pressure regularly as it helps in the proper distribution of acceleration, vehicle load, braking and cornering forces in the tread.
There are a few things that one should keep in mind while checking the tyre pressure:
- Make sure the tyre is cold and have not been used for more than two kilometres right before checking its pressure.
- Check the correct pressure reading of your tyre from your vehicle’s manual, the car’s door ledge or the fuel cap.
- Check the pressure of the tyres at least once in 15 days and before long trips.
- Carry a portable tyre pressure gauge with you that is reliable.
Remember to check the pressure of all the tyres, even the spare one.
Check the Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment or tyre alignment is the adjustment of the angles of the tyres according to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for parameters such as camber and toe. Alignment of wheels helps in the adjustment of steering and suspension components and reduces wear and tear.
Check the Wheel Balancing
Unbalanced wheels can cause a lot of problems like mechanical wear, steering and braking wear, excessive fuel consumption and tyre wear. Wheel imbalance makes the tyre to lift off the road that causes damage to the suspension, steering components and wheel bearings. All these problems can become causes of excessive tyre wear. Therefore, it is very important to check your wheel balancing.
How to check tyre wear?
After understanding the causes of tyre wear and their remedies, it is important to learn how to check the tyre wear. To check your car tyre wear you can take help from a Tyre Wear Indicator.
Tyre wear indicators or tyre tread wear indicators are bars that are moulded into the tyre grooves at regular intervals to indicate the amount of tyre wear against the maximum tyre wear limit.
How to check tyre wear indicator?
A tyre wear indicator is like a tyre wear calculator that needs to be checked to determine the amount of tyre tread wear. When the tyre indicator bars are popped up to the surface of the tread, it means that the tyres have worn out to their limit. So next time before going out for a drive, don't forget to check the tread wear in your tyres.