Your tires directly affect the safety of your car, truck or SUV. They must grip the road at all times or you risk an accident. They must remain durable through hot and cold weather, smooth and bumpy roads, potholes, road debris, slippery conditions and, in some cases, uneven terrain. A tire that cannot take the daily beating expected of it could blow out and be the cause of an accident. AutoFix explains four common tire problems and their causes to help keep Franklin, TN, drivers safe on the road.
1. Bulging or Cracking
If your tires are underinflated they cannot withstand road impact as well as properly-inflated tires can. Should you hit the curb or run over a pothole or road debris, the impact could cause the underinflated tire to bulge along the sides. This bulge looks like a pimple. Another issue with underinflated tires is they crack along the rim. Cracking and bulging can be prevented with proper tire care, such as using a tire protectant every time you wash your vehicle and keeping your tires inflated to the correct psi.
2. Cupping or Scalloping
If your vehicle’s suspension is worn or damaged you will notice what auto mechanics call cupped or scalloped tires. The most common cause of cupped tires is your shock absorbers or struts. If they are worn, your vehicle will bounce unevenly and the uneven pressure scallops the tires. Another culprit is unbalanced tires. Scalloping is hard to identify, so it’s best to have an expert take a look at your tires if one or more has circular spots of worn tread. Even if it’s not cupping, there’s something wrong.
3. Heel-Toe Damage
Heel-toe tire damage is quite common and failing to have your tires rotated at each mileage interval is the primary cause of the feathering effect seen in heel-toe tire damage. Basically, your tires wear from the leading edge to the trailing edge of the tire tread blocks. The leading edge tread wears down and to a smooth surface, whereas the trailing edge remains sharp. Many people believe this damage isn’t damage at all; rather, it’s normal tire wear. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Finally, wear patterns that run sideways along a tire are called feathering. As with heel-toe damage, low ramp edges become rounded while higher ramp edges remain sharp. The most common cause of tire feathering is your toe setting, which measures your vehicle’s alignment. If it is off, your tires will feather. If the toe setting isn’t the cause, it could be a damaged suspension bushing. If the suspension bushing is damaged or worn, it will shift your vehicle’s alignment while it’s in motion.
The best way to avoid tire problems is to have inspected and rotated every 6,000 miles. Bring your vehicle into AutoFix in Franklin, TN, or call us to set up an appointment. Our number is 615-656-4962.