If you've been a car owner for any length of time, you know that it's important to make sure your tires always have the proper air pressure and that you should keep an eye out for when their treads start to wear low. But your tires can tell you much more about how your car is currently running, giving you information on everything from the state of your suspension to your alignment and camber.
Your Car's Suspension Needs Work
Certain markings on your tires can tell you if your suspension needs some repair. If there is significant wear over just one part of the tire that look like alternating rises and dips, this is called "cupping" and can be caused by worn shocks or struts. As these parts wear, your tires start to bounce, causing uneven wear as you drive. Cupping may not be visible from the outside, so make sure you routinely check the inner edges of your tires. When looking to repair the problem, get a professional second opinion – since there can be a number of causes, it's a good idea to nail it down before starting work.
Your Car's Camber Is Off
If you notice heavy wear on just one edge of your tires, this can also be caused by having a non-zero camber. If your car has negative camber, the tires don't stand completely vertically; instead, they may lean inwards or outwards. Sometimes this is done on purpose, but if it's occurring by accident, it can quickly cause wear on tires not equipped for it. It may not be severe enough to notice at a glance, but it's something you should bring up with your mechanic.
Your Tires' Toe Settings Are Imbalanced
Similar to your car's camber, your tires' toe settings control the angle at which your tires face but from a top-down view. Ideally, your front and rear tires respectively should be parallel to each other; if they aren't – like if they are facing each other or away from each other – the tires can rub against the asphalt and wear down quickly in certain areas. One sign of this is diagonal scuffing over the center tread.
Your Tires Are Overinflated
In overinflated tires, only the center tread will be worn down while the rest remains intact. Overinflating your tires can be just as much of a problem as underinflating them, but you may not get a dashboard light to tell you this is happening. Overinflation means that only the center tread is actually touching the ground, and less contact with the road means less control over your car in important situations. This problem can usually be rectified by lowering tire pressure to appropriate amounts and rotating your tires to ensure equal tread wear.
For more information, head on over to an auto shop like White Pass Garage.Share