Professional Tire Maintenance in Montgomery

The most important role of a tire, while the vehicle is in motion, is to provide a solid grip on the road.  This grip is instrumental in providing traction during acceleration or when braking.  To get the most out of your vehicle’s tires – maximum mileage, safety and wear – you will need to properly maintain the tires with wheel alignment, tire balancing services and more.  Proper maintenance of the tires will not only extend the life of the tire, but will also improve the performance of the vehicle.

Tire Inflation

The most important aspect of tire maintenance is the proper inflation of your tires.  Tires have been known to lose up to 1psi (pounds per square inch) every month.  The proper psi tire inflation rating for your vehicle’s tires will be listed on the sticker inside the driver’s side door or the owner’s manual.  Your vehicle’s tire psi reading should match the psi rating on the sticker or owner’s manual.  If your tire psi reading is above the psi rating on the sticker then the tires are over inflated and air would need to be removed.  If your tire psi reading is below the psi rating on the sticker then the tires are under inflated and air would need to be added.  The air pressure should be checked in all tires, including the spare, at least once a month and before going on a long trip.

Tire Tread

The tire tread is another important aspect of tire maintenance.  The tire tread should be inspected to make sure there is no uneven wear or damage to the tire.  When the tread on the tire becomes to low it reduces your vehicle’s ability to grip the road, especially in adverse conditions.  Maintaining the proper amount of tread will ensure the tires ability to function properly.

Tire Rotation

Regular rotation of your tires will help prevent irregular and premature wear.  During rotation, each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position to ensure that all tires wear evenly, which will help the tire last longer.  It is recommended to rotate the tires every 6 months or 6,000 – 8,000 miles.  A healthy habit many people follow is to rotate the tires with every other oil change.  Regular rotation of your tires helps extend the life of the tires and improves performance.

Tire Balancing

Tire balancing compensates for the weight of the tire and wheel assembly after the tire is mounted.  A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest.  This will result in a “bouncing” or “wobbling”.  An unbalanced tire can decrease tread wear, increase vibration and cause stress on your vehicle.  The tires should be balanced whenever a tire is replaced either during repair or when new tires are purchased.  Also, if a balance weight is removed or moved to a different position, the tires will need to be balanced.

Wheel Alignment

Tire alignment refers to the adjustment of your vehicle’s front and rear suspension parts.  The alignment of your vehicle is impacted daily by simple driving hazards, such as, potholes and railroad crossings to more severe circumstances, such as, hitting the curb or a minor car accident.  Any of these situations can knock your vehicle out of alignment.  The alignment of your vehicle should be checked if you hit something substantial, if you see a wear pattern developing on the outer edges of the tires or if you notice a difference in your vehicle’s handling, such as, a pulling to one side or the other.  If your alignment is off; your vehicle is not safe to drive.

Normal Tire Wear

All tires will eventually wear out.  Normal tire wear is when the tread wears evenly across the entire surface of the tire.  The edges and center sections of the tread wear down at approximately equal rates with no bumpy, directional, feathered or cupped wear patterns developing on the tread.  Any of these indicate excessive or abnormal wear which shortens the life of the tire and leads to the premature need to replace the tire.  Your tires should be checked at every opportunity for proper inflation and excessive wear, but at least once a month and before long trips.

Abnormal Tire Wear

Abnormal wear patterns are often caused by the need for simple tire maintenance, however, the way your tires wear is a good indicator of issues with other parts of your vehicle.  Learning to read the early warning signs of trouble can prevent excessive wear that shortens the life of the tire or indicates the need for having other parts of the car serviced.

Patterns of Abnormal Tire Wear

•Center Rib – if the tires are worn more in the center this is usually due to over inflation.  You are putting to much air in the tires causing them to bulge out in the center and wear unevenly.

•Both Shoulders – if the tire is worn on both shoulders the cause is generally under inflation.  This means there is not enough air in the tire.  Under inflation shifts the weight carried by the tire to the edges of the tread causing the shoulders to wear more than the center.

•Spot on the Shoulder – if one of the shoulders is excessively worn in only one spot this is generally due to a bent wheel or a bent steel belt inside the tire.

•One Shoulder – if only one shoulder is excessively worn, the cause is generally alignment, specifically incorrect camber.  This means the tire is tilted or leans to one side or the other and putting to much pressure on side of the tire wearing the shoulder prematurely.

•Cupping – this is when there are dips appearing around the edge of the tread on one side or the other.  This type of wear occurs because the wheel bounces up and down as it rolls down the road.  This is generally caused by a tire that is out of balance, worn out suspension parts or by weak shock absorbers or struts.

•Scalloping / Feathering – this is a condition when all the tread blocks on one shoulder develop a wear pattern in which one block edge is higher than the other.  The edge of each tread rib develops a slightly rounded edge on one side and a sharp edge on the other.  This type of wear is also due to poor alignment.

•Lateral Wear – lateral wear causes the tire to wobble from side to side as it spins.  This type of wear is usually and alignment issue, specifically an incorrect “toe” setting.  The “toe” is the degree to which the tires are not parallel to the direction of the car.  A wheel that is “toed-in” is slanted towards the car, while a “toed-out” wheel slants away from the car.

Causes of Abnormal Tire Wear

Excessive tire wear can be caused by several different factors including:  over inflation, under inflation, tire imbalance, poor alignment, bent wheels and driving habits.

•Over inflation – excessive wear at the center of the tread indicates the air pressure in the tire is consistently to high.  The tire is riding on the center of the tread and wearing it out prematurely.

•Under inflation – when a tire is under inflated there is to much contact with the road by the outer treads which will wear the shoulders of the tire prematurely.

•Tire Balance – improper balance will cause the tire to spin with a wobble due to unbalanced centrifugal forces.  This wobble will cause the tire to wear improperly and probably show up as a vibration as well. Tire balancing service can help the wear on your tires.

•Poor Alignment – a wheel alignment makes sure the tires are all parallel to each other and flat to the pavement.  This gives the tires their optimal wear profile.  When the wheel alignment is incorrect there are numerous wear patterns that can develop depending on how the tire is out of alignment.

•Bent Wheels – a bent wheel will not only effect the wear of its tire, but it can even effect the wear of the other tires.  As the bead of the tire follows the contour of the wheel, the bend in the wheel will be mirrored by the tire’s shoulder tread as the whole sidewall dips to follow the bend in the wheel.

The best preventative for premature tire wear is proper tire maintenance:  monitor your air pressure, rotate the tires regularly when new tires go on or there is an issue causing the vehicle to need a wheel alignment.

Tire Maintenance Experts in Montgomery

Ready to have our expert team at Performance Auto Repair of Montgomery check out your tires and perform an essential wheel alignment or tire balancing on your vehicle? Contact our skilled team for service at (334) 345-6600 or Contact Us online to schedule an appointment.