You know that tire wear patterns are not simply blemishes on the rubber. Instead, they are crucial indicators of a vehicle’s performance and maintenance needs. In this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio, we delve into the facts about tire wear patterns and how they reveal vital information about potential maintenance needs.
The ideal tire wear would feature a perfectly worn surface, evenly distributing weight across the contact patch. However, achieving this perfection is challenging due to factors like changing toe, camber and caster angles. These angles fluctuate as your vehicle navigates corners and uneven roads and suspension systems must strike a balance between handling and comfort.
When a customer arrives at your shop complaining of worn-out tires, it’s essential to inspect for a variety of wear conditions.
Inner edge wear is often caused by negative camber and toed-out wheels. If a vehicle has weak springs and can’t keep the vehicle at the proper ride height, negative camber and a toed-out suspension angle can occur;
Outer edge wear is indicative of weak or worn ride control, alignment issues, or broken sway bar links. Leaning during turns causes a positive camber on the outside wheel, scrubbing the outer tire edge;
Inspect both edges for worn shocks and springs allow excessive body lean, increasing camber and wearing the tire edges;
Tire feathering is a sign of excessive positive or negative toe angle due to camber and caster changes;
Also, look for cupped or scalloped dips appearing around the surface of the tire tread could indicate loose, worn or bent suspension parts.
These irregular wear patterns are signs that components like shocks, springs and alignments likely need attention. Worn shocks allow too much suspension movement, leading to tire stability loss and uneven tread wear over time. Weak springs can cause the vehicle to sit lower, altering vital angles that affect tread wear.
It’s also essential to inspect tire inflation and wheel alignment. Underinflation concentrates wear on the outer treads, while misalignment wears tires unevenly.
The goal is to catch maintenance issues early before they accelerate tire wear. Pointing out these problems provides an opportunity to educate customers and build trust. With your expertise, they can address suspension and alignment needs to maximize their tire investment.