When Owning and driving a car it is inevitable that your tires will at some point need to be replaced. There are some ways in which you can get the most out of your tires with some simple checks. If you listen, they can speak and if you can understand their language they can tell you a lot about whats going on with them and your car.
The first and most important thing your tire can tell you is how much life they have left. Every tire comes with what they call tread wear bars or indicators. These indicators live in between the tread where there is none. Once the tread gets worn down to where these indicators are flush with the tread then the tire needs to be replaced. PA Inspection laws state that if 2 adjacent indicators are flush or reads less then 2/32ths with a tread depth gauge the tire must be replaced to pass safety inspection.
In some cases a tire may still have plenty of tread on it but become unusable due to whats called a shifted belt. Within the tire there is a steel belt usually more then 1 that runs underneath the tread. When it gets vandalized in some way it causes the tire to be out of round like the picture to the right. One way of noticing this would be the car feeling like it has a bit of a hop or even pull to one side when traveling down the road. If the tire has low mileage then this problem is most likely a defect from the manufacturer and should be replaced free of charge. It also can be caused by running over curbs or hitting pot holes at high speeds, so avoid those and your tires will have a better chance of survival.
Tire wear is a great indicator for a couple different things.
1. During the change of the seasons, temperatures are changing. As we've learned in chemistry heat expands and cold shrinks. Since the air in your tire have no where to go when these changes happen it affects the pressure in your tires. In the summer your tires will gain pressure while the opposite will happen in the winter. This makes it important to remember to check your tire pressures throughout the year so that your tires will continue to wear evenly and in turn last longer. This picture can give you an idea as to where your tire pressure has been. Although it would have to remain at that particular pressure for some time to see it as obviously as it is here. A good rule of thumb is to keep your tire pressure around 35 Psi. Another way to prevent the variable pressure is to use nitrogen. The chemical makeup allows it to keep the pressure consistent no matter what the temperature of the air.
2. When it comes to the wheel alignment the wear patterns can look very similar to the ones of incorrect tire pressure. With a closer look you can see that instead of it either wearing in the middle or on the outsides it will wear on one side or another based on the alignment. Unfortunately this fix cost a bit more then some free air but it will save you from buying a set of tire way before its necessary.