Nobody likes to think about tire problems. But if you don’t anticipate what could go wrong, you’re practically guaranteeing that something will go wrong. And that’s not exactly a ball of laughs, is it? The bottom line is this: If you drive a car, you’ve got to think about your tires. Not only that, you’ve got to keep a constant eye on them. Failure to do that could move you to the side of the road real rough and fast. Don’t know much about tires? Don’t worry. Here are 5 of the most common tire problems to keep an eye open for.
1. Bald tires. Funnily enough, one of the biggest issues that people have with their tires is that they wear out. How dare they, right? Well, the truth is, you can’t expect tires to last forever. They’re made out of rubber, first of all. Second of all, they support the full weight of your vehicle and the rocking and rolling motion as you drive from one place to another. Tires shouldn’t wear out prematurely if you care for them and your car, but sometimes they do anyway. Whatever the reason, when this happens it’s critical that you have them replaced to avoid blowouts. Before entering your car, take a minute and walk around the car to make a visual inspection.
2. Uneven tread wear. Tires don’t always go bald evenly. Sometimes, you’ll see a tire that’s bald on the edges but still has plenty of tread further in – or vice versa. This is usually a dead giveaway that there’s some greater issue going on with your vehicle, in particular, the components that make up your suspension. If your vehicle is seated properly rolling smoothly, your tires should never wear out unevenly. Uneven wear is usually a clear indication that your alignment is off. A misaligned car can burn through a brand new set of tires in a matter of months. For this reason, always have your alignment checked when you get new tires installed on your vehicle, and continue to have it checked on a yearly basis.
3. Flat spots and choppy wear. Your tires can suffer all manner of strange and bizarre wear patterns. Usually this is a dead giveaway that you’ve got some underlying mechanical problem that’s disfiguring your tires and slowly sapping them of their wonderfully round shape. Choppy wear on the edge of your tire is usually caused by bad shocks. Flat spots on the tread can often be caused by keeping your car parked for an extended period of time, but can also be brought about by bad struts or shocks.
4. Squealing when taking corners. If your car seems like he’s protesting every time you round a corner, it’s probably your tires voicing their concern. If you experience a squealing sound, the cause could be coming from one of three possible causes: under-inflated tires (which is very easy to fix), low or worn our tread (which means you’ll need new tires and can be expensive to remedy), or a misaligned front end (which is easy enough to get fixed). Whatever the cause, don’t ignore it. If your car’s screaming at you, it’s definitely trying to tell you something.
5. Vibrations at freeway speeds. If you’ve ever experienced getting on the freeway, only to have your steering wheel vibrate madly at speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour, it’s very likely that your tires are simply out of balance. This is a quick and easy fix that only requires a mechanic to slap your tire onto a balancing machine and add counterbalancing weights to ensure it rolls smoothly.
A conscientious and safe driver checks his or her tires every single day. You don’t have to get on your hands and knees and shove your nose into your tire tread; just glancing at them before you hop in and go is good enough to ensure that no problems have developed overnight. Closer inspection should be done at least once per month to be sure you avoid these common tire problems.
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