Why are my new tires worn out already?
When you purchase tires for your car you expect that they will last for quite a few miles or years before you need to purchase tires again. It can be discouraging when you notice that your tires are wearing much faster than expected, or that they are already so worn that it is time to purchase tires again. Not only can this be frustrating, but it can also become very costly as some large truck and SUV tires, as well as many performance tires, are very expensive. There are many reasons why a tire can wear out faster than expected. Knowing the reasons why, and knowing what to look for, can help you to prevent it from happening in the future, or at the very least, can help you to understand why it happened.
The lack of tire maintenance is the most common cause for tires to wear out prematurely. As a vehicle owner it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance as those service intervals are designed to prolong the life of your tires.
Low tire pressure is the most common cause for tires to wear out prematurely. Low tires will cause the tires to run hotter than they are designed to and will put more pressure on the outer edges of the tires. If your tires are consistently low you will notice that the inner and outer shoulders of the tires are wearing faster than the middle of the tire tread. Modern vehicles have tire pressure monitor systems to alert you when the tires are low, but you should be checking your tire pressure once every two weeks. It is common for tires to lose about 2-5 pounds of pressure in that time span.
You should check the air pressure when the tires are cold and fill them to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure which is usually located on the sticker on the driver side door jamb. It is also important to have your tires rotated regularly. The rule of thumb for this is at every oil change. The most common tire rotation involves moving the rear tires to the front and the front tires to the rear. This will allow for even tire wear as the front tires tend to sustain more wear due to the constant turning side to side when you steer your car. Your wheel alignment should also be checked regularly. Though there are not specified times given by manufacturers it is a good idea to have the alignment checked at least once a year as your alignment does change over time from wear and tear.
Worn out steering and suspension parts are the second most common cause of excessive tire wear. Any parts that are loose can allow the tire to move as you drive and not be held firmly in place. This can cause the alignment to come out of specifications resulting in rapid wear on one side of the tire or it can cause flat spots from the tire consistently moving back and forth while driving. Worn out suspension struts or shocks will cause the tires to wear resulting in flat spots on the tire tread. This occurs because the tire is not being held firmly to the road. When the tire is not held to the road it can hop while driving. This movement causes the tire to develop flat spots every time it lands back on the ground. Doing a visual inspection of your tires once a month can assist you in identifying worn components before the tire wear is beyond repair.
The design of your vehicle plays a large part in how long your tires last. Large trucks and SUV’s tend to need tires more frequently due to the weight of the vehicle and because of the amount of weight that may be carried inside of it. Many performance vehicles also have a tendency to go through tires faster than a typical sedan. Most performance cars have what is known as staggered tires. This means that the tires in the rear of the vehicle are larger than those in the front. This provides for better performance from the vehicle, but the downside of that is that the tires cannot be rotated. The tires can only be rotated when all of the tires and wheels are the same size. Being that these cannot be rotated, the front tires will typically wear out faster due to them being on the steering axle.
The type of tire that you purchase can cause your tires not to last as long as you expected. Tires are built with several different ratings that will affect how long it lasts and how it performs. Each of the three ratings- tread wear, traction, and temperature- will affect how the tire performs and how long it lasts. When purchasing a new tire it is important that you know what each one of these rating mean as they will change how the tire feels, how it performs and how long it lasts as the rubber composition of the tires will vary by these ratings.
The way that you drive also has a large impact on the life of your tires. Heavy acceleration and hard stopping puts excessive pressure on the tire tread and also causes the tires to get very hot. When your tires get hot enough the rubber becomes soft which allows it to break apart easier resulting in rapid tire wear. Taking turns as a high rate of speed will also cause the tires to wear faster as the leaning of the vehicle causes extra pressure to be placed on the tires which also results in faster wear.
Knowing some of the details about what causes your tires to wear faster can help you to get more life out of your tires. Through routine maintenance, knowledge of how tires are rated, controlling how you drive, knowing how your vehicle was designed, and what to look for when inspecting your tires will allow you to save some money, stay safe and get longer life from your tires.
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